lunes, abril 21, 2008

El matrimonio gay revoluciona la industria de bodas en Estados Unidos

Otro cisne negro que nadie veía hace no 20 años, sino 10 años: el matrimonio, o mayormente, las uniones legales entre parejas del mismo sexo. De pensarse una locura, ahora se ven como algo cotidiano en España, Bélgica, Holanda, Canadá y Massachusetts. Y las uniones legales ya están hasta en la Ciudad de México. El último territorio en legalizarlas fue Uruguay.

Pero es en Estados Unidos donde este cambio social ha significado además un enorme boom en la industria de bodas y turismo, algo que bien podríamos aprovechar si legalizaramos las uniones homosexuales en Jalisco (donde está Vallarta) o en Quintana Roo (donde está Cancún y toda la Riviera Maya), y qué decir de Guanajuato (donde hay hermosos hoteles en Guanajuato y San Miguel) El New York Times explica como la igualdad civil ha además significado un boom de negocios:

"When Vermont enacted same-sex civil union legislation in 2000, it was the first state to do so, and gay and lesbian couples who came to Vermont found only a smattering of florists, wedding planners, inns, resorts and other vendors for civil unions.

But since 2000, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire have legalized same-sex civil unions or marriages. (While many out-of-state couples travel to these states for ceremonies and call them “weddings,” their unions may only be recognized by a handful of states. California and Oregon — and to a more limited degree Maine, Hawaii, Washington State and the District of Columbia — have domestic partnership laws.)

Throughout the Northeast, competition has spiked among wedding sites, hotels, resorts and inns as the travel industry has realized that same-sex ceremonies can draw scores of guests, who turn these destinations weddings into weekend stays.

“When my mom started our business in 1999, she would go to stationery shows and people would just look at her like she was crazy,” said Kathryn Hamm, a same-sex ceremony consultant in Virginia who deals with clients nationwide. “A couple years later she went back and all of these vendors remembered her, and now they are begging her, ‘What can we do to help?’ ”

... TRAVEL agencies, too, are catering to gay couples heading to the Northeast for civil-union ceremonies, and many Northeast states now hold gay and lesbian wedding expositions, where couples can choose among ministers who marry same-sex partners, jewelers who offer tiaras and custom rings, and numerous other vendors. In March 2007, for example, New Jersey held its first gay and lesbian wedding expo, featuring hundreds of vendors at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison.

At the Moose Meadow Lodge, an inn in Waterbury, Vt., one of the owners, Willie Docto, has hosted roughly 185 civil-union ceremonies since Vermont legalized them. Many have been all-inclusive plans — Mr. Docto offers three options, with prices ranging from about $2,750 to over $4,000 — where couples celebrate their union at the lodge and then have the entire place to themselves and many of their guests for the weekend. The lodge holds 200 people for the ceremonies, and it has four guest rooms that sleep eight people. (For those seeking the most modest of ceremonies — just two people — the lodge will add $199 to the room rate, which gives couples the services of an officiant and other ceremony perks.)

Gigi B. Sohn and her partner, Lara Ballard, had their ceremony at the Moose Meadow last August. The couple had stayed at the lodge before, so picking it for their ceremony was a natural.

“We paid for the civil-union package at the lodge, and we got all the rooms for immediate family — people were coming in from California, Virginia, Texas, Pittsburgh,” Ms. Sohn said.

The weekend civil-union package is catching on. In New Hampshire, which legalized civil unions just this year, Lesley Marquis quickly waded into the market. At her Rosewood Country Inn in Bradford, a Victorian mansion built in 1850, she built a civil-unions package and has already held two ceremonies and booked two more for this spring and summer.

“Summer is so busy that if couples want to marry then they have to plan well in advance,” said Rob Tosner, an owner of the White Wind Inn in Provincetown and chairman of the Provincetown Visitor Services Board. At the Oxford Guest House, also in Provincetown, Stephen Mascilo, one of the owners, reports that he already has wedding ceremony bookings for the coming summer and has actually had to turn away some requests.

Same-sex couples may be an even more attractive market than their straight counterparts. The Travel Industry Association found that gay men tend to spend more on travel than heterosexuals do, and most unions in the Northeast involve out-of-state couples — in Vermont, over 80 percent. And a study by the School of Law of the University of California, Los Angeles, found New Jersey alone will make over $102 million annually from same-sex unions..."

No hay comentarios.: