#LoveWins: Travel Industry Celebrates Marriage Ruling
The travel industry joined in celebrating the Supreme Court ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage Friday.
“The economic impact of this historic marriage equality ruling will affect many facets of the wedding, travel and hospitality industries — from restaurants and hotels to wedding planners and cruise lines,” said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners and an LGBT advocate who married her partner in 2013.
“This ruling creates an opportunity for wedding planners, travel agents and the entire wedding business community to reach out to a blossoming market as the LGBT traveler represents $200 billion in domestic and global travel revenue, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.”
Orbitz Worldwide was a signatory to the amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to find gay marriage bans unconstitutional. “At Orbitz we’ve been advocates of equality and inclusion since our founding in 2001,” said Orbitz CEO Barney Harford said.
The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association also heralded the ruling.
“We celebrate a great victory for equality and love today, as the United States becomes the 20th country in the world to grant nationwide marriage rights to same-sex couples,” said John Tanzella, president and CEO of IGLTA. “When a country legally supports its LGBT citizens, we know the positive impact transcends borders. Global gay and lesbian travelers want to experience destinations where their relationships are respected, and now the U.S. will be one of them. ”
Major airlines issued statements of support. “Today’s historic ruling is a long-awaited victory for all those who chose to take a stand for marriage equality, and we applaud the Supreme Court for affording same-sex couples the respect and dignity they deserve under the law,” a United Airlines statement said. “At United, we foster an inclusive culture where employees are accepted, valued and treated fairly, and we remain committed to proudly serving the diverse customers who fly with us.”
And from American Airlines: “This is a historic moment for our country and for many of American’s employees,” American Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said. “Today’s decision reaffirms the commitment of companies like American that recognize equality is good for business and society as a whole.”
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, has organized a Sea of Love cruise that included a celebration of love for LGBT couples in St. Thomas.
“We’ve been focused on serving the LGBT community for the last two years by investing in our marketing and education programs so that our travel advisors could properly service the LGBT audience in their local communities,” Garcia said. “This announcement is simply incredible, and we can’t wait to continue to serve all types of love. With more couples tying the knot, there will be a surge in revenue from more weddings, celebrations, wedding services, honeymoons and then steps such as family and estate planning.”
Ruth Turpin, one of the top cruise-selling travel agents in the country, also expressed joy. “Our industry has always supported tolerance and love for all,” she said. “This is a step forward for the U.S. and the travel industry!”
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