When California recently announced that marriage between same-sex partners would be recognized as a legal form of marriage, destinations such as Palm Springs, Sonoma and West Hollywood all hopped on the bandwagon to promote their cities and regions as friendly places to tie the knot. California is experiencing a sudden wedding boom, a claim to revenue share that Hawaii once enjoyed.
Hawaii still holds a competitive spot as a wedding destination, according to those who cater to the gay and lesbian community, due to its beautiful beaches and romantic settings.
Even though same-sex marriage is not legal in Hawaii, it still continues to cater to the market. Travel industry leaders in the state are pushing hard for change. They want to make such marriages legal, thus recapturing tourist dollars lost in recent times as rising fuel prices have made air flights prohibitive or too costly for former travelers to Hawaii.
Can Hawaii benefit from a wedding boom similar to the one in California if same-sex marriages were legalized? Absolutely, say vendors, hotels and island destinations. Aloha Maui Weddings is one company already offering not only an alternate lifestyle wedding, but also an alternate web site to its mainstream site. See alohamauigayweddings.com
An estimated 2,898 same-sex couples live in Hawaii and currently must travel elsewhere to marry legally. In addition to lost revenues from their business, another $78.9 million in travel and expenditures over three years was calculated as the potential windfall by the tourism industry analysts.
California Travel and Trade Commission (CTTC) markets to the gays with locations ranging from Calistoga to the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara. The buying power of the U.S. gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adult population is projected to be approx. $712 billion in 2008, according to Witeck-Combs Communications and Packaged Facts.