Nation e-Edition

Dear: Cash in gay tourism

Dear: Cash in gay tourism Darcy Dear, the president of the United Gays and Lesbians Association of Barbados. (FP)

By Anesta Henry | Fri, November 04, 2011 - 12:09 AM

As controversy rages over Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for reform of homosexuality laws, the Barbados Government is being urged to cash in on the gay tourism market.

While welcoming Cameron’s stance yesterday, Darcy Dear, the president and founder of the United Gays and Lesbians Association of Barbados (UGLAB), said it was time this island took an interest in gay tourism which he said was growing worldwide.

In an exclusive interview with the WEEKEND NATION, Dear also revealed that Barbados hosted more than 400 gays travelling on a cruise ship on Wednesday and some showed an interest in investing in the island.

“Look at gay tourism the same way you can look at sex tourism and all the other tourisms. And always remember, most gay people have what they call liquid cash,” Dear said.

Read the full story in today's WEEKEND NATION.

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Posted by Albert Barr 2 years, 10 months ago
Typically, gay tourists are aware that they are not by any means a majority group and generally tend to stick to themselves indulging in whatever lavish luxuries as they can afford without imposing on their hosts. So much so that our tourism competitor, Curacao, is developing accommodation and sites to allow gays to share the beauty of their island. Authorities in Barbados might very soon also wish to take a mature look at the pros and cons of gay tourism on this island.

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Posted by Jana S 2 years, 10 months ago
Darcy for the love of god please stop.

Gay visitors should never be compared to sex tourism. Placed in that light, that just further degrades the image of a gay person.

They are people who go on cruises and the like to find community, to be themselves and enjoy their holidays. These people may be straight, gay, bi, or identified however they want to be.

The brand of "gay tourism" especially in a place which is not accepting of that type of diversity does nothing for the cause. Then to liken it to sex tourism is even more harmful.

Kudos for you Darcy for forming a group that could possibly strengthen the cause for gay rights in Barbados, but this is sadly not the approach.

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Posted by Summer Rheigs 2 years, 10 months ago
If gay people want to visit Barbados, they can, no one is stopping them. So why in the world should Barbados have a “Gay Tourism Market”! Do we have a “White Tourism Market or “Black Tourism Market”? I thought Barbados promotes tourism for all people regardless to race, color, creed or sexual orientation, so why a label? The Barbados government should leave things the way they are and continue promoting tourism with out any labels.

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Posted by nikki brown 2 years, 10 months ago
He is not telling any lies. However, Gay tourism is already alive and well in Barbados. It has been for many, many years. I have been exposed to it first hand. I use to work for a entertainment business.

They had gay Wednesdays where the cruise ships would bring in the gay cruises, sometimes there were lesbian cruises other times the men. However, when I first got that job no one told me about these cruises, except to say that on Wednesdays the high rollers come in.

I was very young when I started working at this place and I had a very interesting to say the least experience one Wednesday. I went in the bathroom and these tourist women who had just gotten off their cruise were there and one asked me to help her tie her bikini top, me ever helpful thought nothing of it so I tried to assist, only to realize that she was more interested in shrugging out of the top than getting in, boy was my face red. I was rescued by another female staffer who knew they were in there and saw me go in. Funny now, not funny then.

I was totally shocked apparently these rich lesbians were accustom to getting "favours" from staff. The truth is there is a lot of money in gay tourism, these people have crazy disposable income, the tips are crazy I tell you. When we did our balance sheets at the end of Gay Wednesdays, it was usually 4 or 5 times the usual amounts for the other party days. Serious money.

But at what cause, don't get me wrong I'm open minded, but walking through the yard of my workplace and seeing men kissing men at the bar was shocking even for me. The real question is can we based on our cultural norms handle gay tourism in its entirety and in the open for the sake of the tourist dollar?

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Posted by Melly Mapp 2 years, 10 months ago
Mr Barr,

I do concur with the following taken from your blog.
"Authorities in Barbados might very soon also wish to take a mature look at the pros and cons of gay tourism on this island" It is food for thought.

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Posted by Pan Wallie 2 years, 10 months ago
Darcy Dear, gays come, spend, and go quietly and have been doing that for years. They mostly don't interfere, they want to enjoy life like anybody else and if they parade their 'ware,' it it up to the rest of us if we have nothing better to do than to pay attention. They will invest if they want to. I see no need for you to jump up and wave trying to advertise the unnecessary. Please!

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Posted by Hugo Todd 2 years, 10 months ago
Let's keep things in proper perspective. Gay tourism should not be confused with sex tourism. Sex tourism is not something that Barbados should be seeking to encourage. However, the gay tourism market can generate significant revenue for the island. The gay market has large disposable income and other markets are courting that revenue. This is not about a personal preference but rather about human rights first and foremost and second about generating badly needed revenue for the island. Barbados depends on tourism and therefore should take steps to resolve issues that cost us tourist revenue. Other locales are competing for the tourist dollar, we need to be competitive, which means having a tourist friendly atmosphere. The government on the whole needs a campaign to remind residents that it is in everyone's interest to see that our visitors enjoy their stays and want to return.

Empty hotel rooms means that workers are laid off because bookings are down. Let's take a smart business approach to doing things that would generate revenue and create jobs for the people who are unemployed.

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