A travel firm has recruited LGBT holiday experts after a spike in bookings for same-sex honeymoons.

Kuoni said the 10-person team was put in place because more of its customers see tolerance levels and cultural attitudes as a "key factor" in choosing a destination.

The company has seen a 76% rise in same-sex honeymoons since March 2014 when gay and lesbian weddings became legal in England and Wales.

Previously couples of the same gender could only form civil partnerships, which were introduced in December 2005.

Mark Duguid of Kuoni said: "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.

"Increasingly parts of the world are embracing LGBT rights so the situation is evolving.

"Legislation on LGBT rights is a good indicator, but local customs are a key factor as general society does not always keep pace with lawmakers. This is where our travel expertise can really help make a difference."

Kuoni revealed that same-sex honeymoon bookings have increased by 279% over the last five years. The most popular destinations are the Maldives, Thailand and the US.

A spokeswoman for travel organisation Abta said: "Whilst some destinations are openly LGBT-friendly, some may be less welcoming, and in others there may be serious safety issues to consider.

"Abta would advise that honeymooners consider this when choosing where to go, and also research what is deemed appropriate behaviour to avoid getting on the wrong side of local laws or customs."

More than 15,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics. Gay and lesbian marriages have been legal in Scotland since December 2014.

Kuoni's worldwide trend report 2016 put the Maldives as this year's number one honeymoon destination for all couples, followed by Bali, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Many newlyweds are following in the footsteps of actress Michelle Keegan and TV presenter Mark Wright by honeymooning on the Maldivian island of Maafushivaru, where bookings are up 22% year-on-year.