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NEWS ANALYSIS


Others in the poll thought


agents and operators should rate destinations from an LGBT+ safety perspective and highlight those places with equality laws, as well as having sections on their websites and brochures giving reviews and suggestions on suitable accommodation.


SAFETY FIRST The issue of “safe spaces” for LGBT+ travellers also came up in the survey. One respondent recommended travel companies should employ specific agents and packages to support LGBT+ clients


and help to “link them up with safe spaces where they are going, like gay bars, and ensure they are staying in a friendly or open neighbourhood”. Several respondents also


highlighted the need for agents to be able to give LGBT+ customers “the best and most comprehensive advice about destinations”. Some also questioned whether


BELOW: The study showed 65% of LGBT+ travellers did not use a travel agent


travel companies should continue to sell and promote holidays to countries with anti-LGBT+ laws, particularly those that have the death penalty for homosexuality – although not everybody agreed.


One respondent said: “I do not think travel agents should put LGBT travellers off visiting a country based on their LGBT laws, unless they have had first-hand personal or negative experiences. Being LGBT should not make me a different traveller to anyone else. My experience should still be the same.”


RAINBOWS WITH SUBSTANCE The survey found agencies using rainbow stickers and badges on their shop windows and websites could have a positive influence on LGBT+ consumers with 86% saying it might make them more likely to use that agency or travel firm. Although not everybody


believed simply using a sticker was enough to encourage bookings from the LGBT+ market. “You need to have explicit


queer-friendly policies beyond slapping rainbows over your logos in June (Pride Month),” said one respondent. “You should provide reassurance for trans travellers that they will be respected and supported when travelling, and reassurance for queer couples they will not be made to feel uncomfortable for normal things like holding hands or kissing goodbye while travelling.” Another suggested the industry needed a “seal of approval or rating that the country is LGBTQ friendly” to reassure consumers the destination was suitable for them. The survey was completed


by 1,171 people and conducted over a four-week period during the summer by Gaydio, with the majority of respondents (68%) saying they were LGBT+, while 26% identified as heterosexual.


09.09.2019 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 21


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