Thu, Nov 08, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Pride week generates millions

‘PINK ECONOMY’:One vendor said there has been an increase in US and European attendees, who generally visit for longer and are therefore likely to spend more

By Chen Yi-chia, Hsiao Yu-hsin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

LGBT-related spending, or the “pink economy,” contributed more than NT$100 million (US$3.3 million) over pride week this year, businesses said.

This year’s Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade on Oct. 27 attracted a record 137,000 participants, at least 10 percent of whom came from overseas, Taiwan LGBT Pride said.

If each overseas visitor spent about NT$30,000 during their trip, then the pink economy could have generated well over than NT$100 million, local businesses said.

Bars and nightclubs in the greater Taipei region made more than NT$50 million in revenue in the week before and after the parade, they said.

Overseas LGBT communities are curious about the development of LGBT rights in this nation, as it has a reputation in the international community for being LGBT-friendly, Taiwan LGBT Pride said.

Taiwan is set to become the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage after the Council of Grand Justices in May last year ruled that banning marriage equality is unconstitutional.

The five LGBT-related referendums Taiwanese are to vote on alongside the nine-in-one local elections on Nov. 24 have also drawn international attention.

One vendor at Taipei’s Red House (西門紅樓), which has been called an LGBT haven, said that sales always spike in the two or three days leading up to and after the annual pride parade.

However, in the past two years, the sales surge has lasted for at least a week, they said, adding that sales increased by about 50 percent during the period.

While the majority of people traveling from overseas to attend the parade are from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and China, there has been a rise in the number of European and US attendees in recent years, and they tend to stay for longer, they said.

Even though nightly rates during pride weekend are about NT$10,000 at four or five-star hotels, many overseas attendees are still willing to travel to Taiwan to attend the event, one hotel said.

Many LGBT-friendly hotels have also begun offering special packages for guests, they said.

While the occupancy rate for the month of October is always good, it surpassed 90 percent during pride weekend, W Hotel said.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Regent Taipei reported full occupancy in the week leading up to the parade.

The number of bookings in the greater Taipei area rose by nearly 20 percent to 16,000 during the week of the parade, Airbnb said.

Most of the bookings were made in Taipei’s Wanhua (萬華) and Zhongzheng (中正) districts, which are along the parade route, it said.

While some of the bookings were made by domestic travelers, most were made by guests from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, it added.

Studies show that gay people between the ages of 20 and 40 have the highest spending power, Hornet Taiwan general manager Jack Hsiao (蕭士傑) said.

By strengthening its overseas marketing, the government can reinforce the nation’s image as an LGBT-friendly destination and improve its chances of attracting sponsorships and collaborating with international brands, he added.

This year, the Tourism Bureau participated in the New York City LGBT Pride March for the first time.

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