Australian small businesses are set to share in a multi-million dollar same-sex wedding boom, an economist says.
ANZ senior economist Cherelle Murphy said the economic benefits of marriage equality related to weddings alone could be $650 million in the first 12 months.
According to the 2016 Census, there were nearly 47,000 same-sex couples living together in Australia, up from 34,000 in 2011.
“We assume, based on a 2010 study by the University of Queensland, around half of those couples would choose to marry,” Murphy said.
“We assume half of all couples who want to marry could do so within 12 months of marriage equality legislation. Therefore, based on an average wedding spend in Australia of around $54,000 the marriage spend would be around $650 million in the first 12 months.
“That estimate is conservative, assuming only half the gay couples who want to wed manage to do so within 12 months.”
The Turnbull government has pledged to legislate for marriage equality by Christmas, following a resounding “yes” vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey this week.
But it’s not yet clear when the first weddings will begin.
The Sunshine Coast’s peak tourism body has already started redesigning its wedding advertisements to include LGBTI couples, according to the ABC.
“We’ve been planning this for months because we had a great expectation of this result,” Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford told the ABC.
“Weddings and romantic getaways are number one on our list of niche markets that deliver over 300,000 additional visitors to the Sunshine Coast.”
Tourism and Transport Forum Australia CEO Margy Osmond told Fairfax Media that if foreign couples chose Australia as their wedding destination en masse it would be an added boost.
“The Australian tourism sector is champing at the bit to unlock the pink dollar potential of same-sex weddings,” she said.
“In places such as tropical north Queensland, where the tourism industry has been recently hit hard by natural disaster and the slowing of the resources industry, the pink dollar could be somewhat of an economic saviour.”