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08 February 2016 08:32
The Maldives are popular with honeymooners
A surge in same-sex honeymoons has prompted a travel company to recruit LGBT holiday experts.
Kuoni has put together a 10-person team to help customers choose destinations, advising them on things like tolerance levels and cultural attitudes.
It has seen a 76% rise in bookings for same-sex honeymoons since March 2014, when gay and lesbian weddings became legal in England and Wales.
Not all destinations are LGBT-friendly, which is where the new holiday experts come in.
Mark Duguid, of Kuoni, says there is a difference between exploring a sought-after destination where some discretion is required and a progressive destination where LGBT travellers are truly welcome.
While some parts of the world are increasingly embracing LGBT rights, he warns this is not happening everywhere.
Safety is a real issue for all holidaymakers, and travel insurance is another useful product which can protect them while they are overseas.
Kuoni also reveals same-sex honeymoon bookings have increased by 279% over the last five years.
The Maldives, Thailand and the United States are among the most popular destinations, according to its worldwide trend report for 2016.
The Maldives is also the number one honeymoon destination for all couples, followed by Bali, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Bookings to the Maldivian island of Maafushivaru are up 22% year-on-year.
Data from the Office for National Statistics reveals more than 15,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in England and Wales since March 2014.
Gay and lesbian marriages have also been legal in Scotland since December 2014.
Mr Duguid claims l egislation on LGBT rights is a good indicator of where is safe to travel, although he adds local customs are a key factor too.
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