LGBTQ Travel and Tourist Operators and Promoters
Global travel and tourism is one of the top business industries in the world. With advances in technology and travel, the world has become a smaller place and there are many more opportunities for learning about other countries and travelling to them. Travel and tourism plays in integral role in the economic development of a country and the health of the global economy as a whole.
Human rights advances in the LGBTQ community have coincided with the growth and relevance of the travel and tourism industry. Same sex weddings and pride celebrations, for example, now comprise a growing proportion of business for tourist operators in many parts of the world.
The travel and tourism industry pioneered the potential of developing a niche LGBTQ marketplace for its services. A 2016 study with responses from 661 service providers in 90 countries revealed an estimated annual global spending for travel by the LGBTQ community at US$202 billion, up from US$142 billion in 2011. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has published similar studies.
As a result, boutique hotels, airlines, and travel companies which cater specifically to the community have been created and have thrived. These include the travel companies Olivia and Alyson Adventures, along with hotels Joie de Vivre, Axel, Kimpton Hotels, Neemrana, and The Out.
Nevertheless, some mistakes are routinely made in the industry. Stereotyping, focussing on only one segment of the community, or relying on sexual imagery are some of the errors that are routinely made in travel marketing and promotion. As well, the Global Code of Ethics on Tourism does not mention discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) was founded in 1938 by a group of 25 LGBTQ travel agents and hotel owners to connect the community and support it in providing advice on safe and welcome places to travel in the world. IGLTA now has offices and members around the world in 80 countries and offers complete travel packages, conferences and trade shows, events for the community, and support for LGBTQ travel providers. The organization provides annual awards to recognize those individuals and companies that excel in their service to the LGBTQ community.
Many LGTBQ individuals are travel consultants and/or bloggers that are widely known and respected for their advice. Others are founders or senior executives in major airlines around the world (Quantas, Monarch Airlines, and Lufthansa). Some are government ministers with responsibility for travel and tourism promotion in their countries.
We have identified LGBTQ individuals in the travel and tourist industry from Argentina, The Czech Republic, Nepal, Spain, Finland, Australia, the United States, Colombia, Great Britain, Canada, India, Tasmania, South Africa, Ireland, and Switzerland. Simply click on their names to read their fascinating biographies: