Gay Tourism New Zealand works very closely with New Zealand's gay and lesbian tourism industry on gay and lesbian tourism related issues and supports and endorses the industry's 'Gay/Lesbian Friendly' and 'Rainbow Tourism Tourism Accreditation' (formally ''Approved Gay/Lesbian Friendly' criteria) for main stream tourism operators who have expressed a commercial and marketing interest in being involved in our gay and lesbian tourism industry.
Over the last 10 years, New Zealand's gay and lesbian tourism industry has grown from a network of gay and lesbian owned homestay's scattered throughout the country, to a cohesive network of accommodation ranging home and farmstay's to luxury lodges supplemented with a network of boutique hotels to rental car and coach services.
With a potential worth of NZ$120-150 million per annum from international inbound and domestic gay and lesbian travel, gay and lesbian tourism benefits New Zealand's gay and lesbian community, through investment, business opportunities and employment at regional and national level.
New Zealand has currently 14 gay and lesbian tourism regions throughout the country, of which there are 8 gay and lesbian tourism regions that have good to excellent growth potential over the next 5-10 years, if there is a concerted effort by both gay and lesbian owned and main stream tourism operators, working together to build a strong gay and lesbian tourism infra-structure within their region/s.
Gay and Lesbian tourism is not about travel and accommodation to other international gay and lesbian destination/s, it covers local gay and lesbian owned domestic travel, accommodation, tour operators, events, bars/venues/saunas, tourism related shops, tourism related products and services, tourism related media and Internet services, transport operators, marketing, and attractions.
There is approximately 100,622 gay and lesbian people between 16-64 years living in New Zealand.
Auckland has the largest gay and lesbian population in New Zealand (41,255), followed by Wellington (13,583), Christchurch (7748), Hamilton (7144), Dunedin (1310) and rest of New Zealand (29,582).
New Zealand's gay and lesbian tourism industry has approximately 80 gay and lesbian owned tourism related businesses ranging from accommodation, transport, bars/venues, events, restaurants and shops throughout the country.
New Zealand has a diverse range of activities available from events like Hero Festival in Auckland, The Great Party Weekend in Wellington, to gay and lesbian adventure, eco tours, skiing, to name some of the many opportunities available to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender visitor wishing to see New Zealand's unique beauty.
New Zealand is the first international gay and lesbian destination to adopt the 'Approved Gay/Lesbian Friendly' - introduced in 1998 and tighten the term - being 'Gay/Lesbian Friendly' for straight tourism operators wishing to become involved in New Zealand's gay/lesbian tourism industry.
This branding was necessary, as New Zealand law requires, no discrimination based on sexuality or lifestyle. The branding was also necessary to stop any exploitation of the 'Pink' tourism dollar, maintaining quality 'Gay/Lesbian Friendly' tourism product, so that New Zealand could be promoted as a genuine international 'Gay/lesbian Friendly' destination to the gay and lesbian traveler instead of paying lip service.
With the steady growth of New Zealand's gay and lesbian tourism industry with new tourism operators, events, etc and the increasing demands by the international gay and lesbian traveler requiring quality gay and lesbian tourism product. On 1 October 2004 the 'Approved Gay/lesbian Friendly' criteria has been rebanded to 'Rainbow Tourism Accredited' and will apply to all accommodation, events, tours and transport tourism product within New Zealand that is marketed to the gay and lesbian traveler.