New York's tourism industry reaped an economic windfall when same sex marriage was legalized in 2011. Can Ireland expect a similar 'gay marriage' effect?
With the landslide victory of an initiative to legalize same sex marriage, the voters of Ireland have laid a lavender welcome mat on the country's doorstep.
So what impact will this historic vote on marriage equality have on Ireland's tourism industry?
A look at what has happened in other travel destinations that have legalized gay marriage might be instructive.
New York State legalized same sex marriage in 2011. Over the following year, New York City issued more than 8,200 same sex marriage licenses, which accounted for more than 10% of the 75,000 marriage licenses issued by the city that year.
If that amounted to US$16 millon in direct revenue through the issuing of marriage licenses, the indirect windfall that New York City's economy reaped came to a whopping US$259 million when wedding related expenditures were factored in.
Hotels, restaurants, and catering halls all benefited handsomely as more than 200,000 guests travelled to New York City to attend gay and lesbian weddings, with guests spending an average of US$275 per night on hotel rooms alone.
Other travel destinations that have legalized gay marriage have experienced a similiar boost to their economies.
According to some estimates, if same sex marriages were legalized across the United States, the Federal budget would receive a US$1 billion shot in the arm each year!
Ireland was one of the last Western countries to decriminalize homesextuality, but it is the world's first country to legalize same sex marriage through the ballot box. And this was no simple majority. It was a landslide.
As a result of this landslide, Ireland has earned itself a tremendous amount of goodwill, and the country's tourism industry can expect to benefit in a variety of ways .
It goes without saying, that many same sex couples will now want to get married in Ireland. Everyone from hotels and restaurants to caterers, bars, department stores, purveyors of champagne, wedding planners, and limousine operators will all be big winners.
Other people might not want to get married in Ireland but will decide to go there on their honeymoons. And others will simply decide to spend their pink dollars in Ireland because of the country's newly acquired reputation as one of the world's gay friendliest travel destinations.
The voters of Ireland have laid out the lavender welcome mat. Let the world beat a path to their door.
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