Spain beats out Netherlands as top gay destination

It seems that Amsterdam may be losing its title as gay capital to Barcelona. Spain is currently the most popular European destination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers. This group contributes an estimated $6.8 billion to the Spanish economy, according to figures from LGBT capital. Almost three times as much as the $2.3 billion euros contributed to the Dutch economy.

This is great news for Spain, who became the third European nation to legalize gay marriage in 2005, after the Netherlands and Belgium. The Spanish government estimates that LGBT tourists spend 30 percent more in the country on average than other tourists, according to  news agency Bloomberg.

"It's very tolerant and it's fun", 32 year old Brazilian Fabiono Ribeiro said to Bloomberg while on a visit to Barcelona with two male friends. "You hold hands and that's no problem." Every August Barcelona hosts Europe's largest gay festival. The event attracts around 71 thousand visitors a year and generates 150 million euros for the local economy.

The Netherlands, who has a reputation as a top gay destination, is lagging somewhat behind the ajor European countries. LGBT travelers contributed an estimated 2.3 billion euros to the domestic gross domestic product. That is 0.26 percent of the Netherlands total GDP.

Globally the United States is the top destination for LGBT travelers, who contributed a massive 21.5 billion dollars to the American economy. The Netherlands is only number 10 on the global list.