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It’s illegal to be gay in the top country for gay honeymoons

It’s illegal to be gay in the top country for gay honeymoons

Can you guess which country is most popular among gay honeymooners?

New research has shown that four out of five of the most popular countries for honeymoons among gay couples do not recognize same-sex marriage.

Furthermore, it’s illegal to be gay in one of them – the Maldives. Same-sex sexual activity in the South Asian island country carries with it a punishment up to the death penalty (under Sharia law), according to Equaldex.

In another of the countries, Mauritius, sodomy carries a five-year jail sentence.

According to the study by travel company Kuoni, the other top three destinations are Thailand, USA and Indonesia (Bali).

A spokesperson added that Italy and Australia – two more that don’t recognize same-sex marriage – are also popular among gay honeymooners.

They added that there has been a 22% rise in bookings for same-sex honeymoons in 2017 so far.

Luxury resorts are a defining characteristic of the Maldives

Uwern Jong, Editor-in-Chief of Luxury and Experiential Travel Inspiration brand for gay people, OutThere, wasn’t shocked by the findings.

‘It’s no real surprise that the world’s most beautiful and inspiring destinations feature at the top of this list; gay people have long had a penchant for the fabulous when it comes to travel,’ he told GSN.

‘This isn’t however saying that gay people aren’t aware that some of these destinations are not traditionally gay-friendly. However in their desire to visit these destinations (and as a result, driving the visibility of gay people in these countries, that in itself can really help the local gay community), they are spending a lot of time researching and working with the travel brands and products in these places that are committed to and welcoming of the gay and lesbian community.

‘There are many great hotels and experiences that proactively work to court the gay community and ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable holiday. These are the brands who are profiting from the valuable travel-spend of gay and lesbian travelers.’

He added that it’s always important that LGBTI travelers to countries with anti-gay laws, such as the Maldives, do their research before traveling and express discretion on the ground.

‘It’s always crucial that gay and lesbian couples go into any vacation with their eyes wide open and understand what the implications are and could be, and respect local customs and laws,’ he said. ‘However, I’m sure Kuoni or any other travel agent working with gay and lesbian people is best placed to advise on such situations.’

Mark Duguid, Kuoni’s commercial director, told Gay Star News: ‘Since our LGBT travel service was introduced last year, it’s been welcomed by lots of gay couples planning honeymoons and special occasion travel. We’re now looking to be the first travel company to roll out training to our entire sales network of more than 300 travel advisors.   Our aim is always to offer brilliant service and get the right holiday for the right customer, based on not just the legal position but also local attitudes.’

Ann Coleman, one of Kuoni’s LGBTI experts said: ‘Just because a destination is not obviously gay-friendly, it does not rule it out as an option for LGBT clients, while those that you might think have a harsh attitude are, in fact, some of the most popular spots for LGBT honeymooners.’

Kuoni’s top five countries for gay honeymoons, based on best-selling resorts, go in the following order:

5 Mauritius

Laws on homosexuality are vague in this island nation off the coast of Africa. However sodomy is illegal, and punishable by up to five years in prison.

4 Indonesia (Bali)

Same-sex activity is legal in Indonesia, but there is no recognition of same-sex partnerships.

3 USA

Homosexuality is legal in the USA, and same-sex couples can enter into marriage across the country.

2 Thailand

Homosexuality is legal in Thailand. However, same-sex partnerships are not.

1 Maldives

Homosexuality is illegal in the Maldives and punishable by up to the death penalty.

All pictures by Pixabay