by Tobias Sauer
Offers for honeymooners could be a huge market in Germany – if the German government allowe same-sex marriage. Couples are looking for a mixture of action and relaxation for their honeymoon. But not all countries welcome gay couples.
Sören and his husband Christian exchanged vows in Edinburgh, Scotland in June 2017, 16 years to the day when they first met- and are a married couple since that day. Unlike Germany, Scotland has long since opened marriage to same-sex couples. After the ceremony, the two who are from Trier in Rheinland-Pfalz went to the airport: their honeymoon was just a flight away.
100,000 couples want to get merried but don’t do it
Although registered civil partnerships for gays and lesbians have been possible in Germany for 15 years as a kind of “marriage light”, there are surprisingly few statistics on gay and lesbian couples and their honeymoons. The Federal Office of Statistics (Statistisches Bundesamt) estimates that by the end of 2014 there were around 223,000 same-sex partnerships in which both partners live in the same household. At the same time, however, only 41,000 couples have registered their partnership. Surveys by the American market research institute Out Now Consulting have shown that around two thirds of all gays and lesbians hope to get married one day. If you combine both numbers, around 100,000 couples in Germany would like to get married, but do not. One reason for this hesitation is probably the policy of the German Government. “I don’t want a civil partnership, but the same marriage as my heterosexual friends,” Sören explains his decision to marry in Scotland instead of Germany. For the tourism industry, the lack of access to marriage is a disadvantage – fewer weddings also mean less honeymoons.
An enormous market: honeymoon packages
In the UK alone, gay and lesbian couples spend around 60 million Euros a year on their honeymoon, according to Out Now Consulting. Also some couples in just a registered partnership go on a honeymoon – e.g. Jermaine and Oliver who live in Berlin. After their partnership was registered in May they went to Italy in summer, first to Rome, then to the sea near Naples. “Rome was pure sightseeing,” Jermaine recalls, who always wanted to see the ancient ruins of the city. In southern Italy, on the other hand, the focus was on relaxation. Sören and his husband also chose this sequence of adventure and relaxation for their honeymoon. “We first went to Sri Lanka and then to the Seychelles,” says Sören. In Sri Lanka, the newlyweds were particularly interested in the culture and nature of the island, which they got to know on a safari. The focus was on relaxation in the Seychelles. They rented a villa on the private island of Sainte Anne for eight days. “That was really the icing on the cake ,” Sören recalls and has to laugh: “The food was so good that we both put on a lot of weight!”
Honeymoon: a mix of action and relaxation
Besides the mixture of adventure and relaxation, something else was important for both couples: an open atmosphere for LGBTs. “Jamaica is supposed to be beautiful,” Jermaine says, “but it has homophobic legislation. Therefore, we would not head for that country.” The human rights situation was also important for Sören and Christian. “Our travel agency had initially recommended a resort in the Maldives,” says Sören. “But the legal situation is very problematic for gays.” According to the human rights organization Ilga, gay couples in the Maldives face life imprisonment. In Sri Lanka and the Seychelles on the other hand reforms are being discussed or already implemented to reduce legal discrimination. “This is a step in the right direction,” says Sören. Reason enough for him and his husband to accept the longer flight.
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