Destinations globally are working to rebuild their tourism industry following their emergence from travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic. One avenue to do so would be to improve inclusivity for LGBTQ+ tourists with destinations and attractions.
LGBTQ+ travel has increased in recent years
Considering that June is LGBTQ+ pride month, it’s no surprise that pride-related travel is getting a lot of attention right now, especially since many destinations that had forgone in-person celebrations for the past two years are now returning to traditional live events. According to GlobalData’s Consumer Survey results for Q3 2019 and Q3 2021, the percentage of respondents that answered, “In general, what type of holidays do you typically take?” with “LGBTQ” has doubled, from 2% in 2019 to 4% in 2021. This shows that LGBTQ+ travel is fast becoming an emerging market, with LGBTQ+ travellers often looking for experiences that are not in line with “one size fits all” travel. LGBTQ+ travellers are turning to travel advisors in order to find hidden perks, LGBTQ+ safe spaces, and more.
Sincerity needs to be central to destinations’ tourism marketing
Fora Travel travel advisor Oluwaseyi Aladeselu said, “Travel continues to be a growing priority for the LGBTQ+ community, specifically now with the desire to make up for the lost time.” Aladeselu adds, “Safety and awareness are still at the top of the list when travelling, with a focus on destinations and properties that are genuinely welcoming all year round- not just during pride or media outcry.”
LGBTQ+ travellers also continue to be concerned about giving their business to destinations and suppliers that are genuinely LGBTQ+ friendly, and as such are becoming more informed than ever about which destinations and businesses are truly welcoming. With information and technology, consumers can now make even smarter choices when travelling. LGBTQ+ travellers can easily Google or work with their travel expert to find out stances on LGBTQ+ rights and ensure the “pink dollar” is going to the right travel partners in travel and tourism, that is, those destinations and companies that welcome and celebrate all guests.
Inclusivity isn’t just an issue for LGBTQ+ travelers
With borders reopening after emerging from Covid-19 restrictions, and confidence in travel growing, LGBTQ+ travel is one sector that will benefit from specific attention. A survey by VacationRenter in 2021, indicated that travellers considered the Netherlands, Canada, and the United Kingdom as the safest international destinations for LGBTQ solo travel. “The top trends for LGBTQ+ travel focus on safety and security, inclusivity, and community,” said VacationRenter CEO Heath Hammett. “Every June, many people head towards more liberal and inclusive destinations that they know will be more welcoming to them. This is so important, as feeling safe and comfortable while travelling is crucial for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.” The desire to feel safe in a travel destination is not solely an LGBTQ+ traveller’s wish as all travellers want to feel safe in a destination, and by working to create safe spaces for travellers, a destination’s popularity could improve.