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The impact of legalized same sex marriages on Hawaii tourism

The law to allow same-sex marriages in Hawaii is expected to boost tourism by roughly $200 million over the next three years, according to tourism officials. A recent study by a University of Hawaii author states that Hawaii would benefit from pent-up demand for gay weddings, with couples spending $166 million over those three years on ceremonies and honeymoons.

Hawaiian airports welcome tourists with a customary "Aloha"
Hawaiian airports welcome tourists with a customary "Aloha"GoHawaii

“The state of Hawaii passing the Marriage Equality Bill to become the 15th state to recognize same sex marriages should not only boost gay tourism in Hawaii but also land the island(s) a place on the list of top LGBT destinations across the world,” Steven Talbott of Vacation Side Travel, an agency based in Nashville stated.

Hawaii is now positioned as an outlet for couples in other states to bring ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons to the beautiful islands. Engaged couples should begin seeing all sorts of packages catered specifically to gay and lesbian travelers. Vacation Side Travel is just one gay owned and operated travel agency quickly putting together packages to meet the demand.

Carlos Melia of First in Service Travel, based in New York, stated “It is proven that LGBT consumers choose to spend their disposable income at destinations where they are/feel accepted, recognized and respected. Hawaii has given a clear and loud ‘Aloha’ to the community, celebrating diversity and equal rights. I mean, Hawaii has everything you could wish for to celebrate a wedding and now they have taken a step forward to make it official”.

According to Travel Agency Magazine, a publication for travel professionals, “On December 2nd, six couples at a Waikiki resort tied the knot, exchanging vows side-by-side with one another in front of a few hundred guests shortly after midnight, while more couples watched and eagerly waited their turn.”

Across town, an openly gay Unitarian minister wed his partner of 15 years in a ceremony attended by clergy who pushed for the new law, plus Governor Neil Abercrombie, who called the special legislative session that led to the law, according to the Associated Press.

Hawaii’s marriage law allows couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a process conducive for tourists only in the state a short time. According to the Associated Press, couples can sign up for a license online then be verified by any license agent throughout the state. Agents have set up shop throughout the islands, from resorts on Maui and the Big Island to places on Kauai.

You should always consult with a travel agent before you begin planning your gay honeymoon, destination wedding or vacation getaway.