BRUSSELS – The purpose of the Handbook on the LGBTQ Travel Segment, authored by Peter Jordan of Gen C Traveller, would be to help European destinations to comprehend the potential of the LGBTQ travel market and how European NTOs can offer a far more welcoming environment for LGBTQ travelers from all over the world, so as to improve Europe’s overall competitiveness as a destination.
First-hand consumer research for the Handbook was facilitated by Hornet Networks via an paid survey of LGBTQ consumers in five long-haul markets: Brazil, China, Japan, Russia and america. Additionally, the Handbook includes insights from 16 experts who gave their perspective on the cultural factors that shape demand for travel among LGBTQ consumers.
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Research results discovered that overall Europe includes a strong competitive position, being viewed by LGBTQ consumers in its major long-haul markets as &ldquo widely;the most liberal, progressive destination&rdquo socially;, however, weaknesses prevail as some elements of Europe are perceived to provide a less protected climate because of their own LGBTQ citizens, and by extension, travellers.
- LGBTQ travellers in Europe’s long-haul markets have a higher affinity with Europe and a solid need to visit soon. 80% of survey respondents likely to visit Europe within the next 3 years, with 92% of these who had visited before looking to create a repeat visit.
- LGBTQ travellers to Europe are sensitive to how local LGBTQ folks are accepted in society highly. Primarily, they value an forward-thinking and open-minded culture, in addition to a past history of acceptance, and local laws allowing same-sex marriage or civil partnerships. LGBTQ events and nightlife are major attractions also, specifically for travellers from China or Russia where they are less prevalent.
- LGBTQ festivals and events are on top of travellers’ wish lists when visiting Europe, and also the opportunity to uncover the nightlife. However, the extensive research highlights a great number of travellers are trying to find a far more cultural experience, such as for example visiting specific monuments and sites, socialising with residents and enjoying luxury experiences. In destination marketing, LGBTQ consumers value authenticity in the marketing images and message, and consistency between your marketing promise and in-destination experience.
“While we at ETC think that a ‘separate’ approach for the LGBTQ traveller could seem incongruous with this beliefs in inclusion and equality, we cannot disregard the proven fact that within Europe also, the hospitality business, like no other, has its work cut right out to ensure we remain focused on our core values of freedom, brotherhood and equality. Fostering support for LGBTQ inclusion is a chance for economic growth and cultural development for tourism destinations. Destinations, governments are thus called to become listed on efforts to generate the conditions for LGBTQ residents to call home safely and comfort,” said Visit Flanders CEO and ETC President Peter de Wilde.
“In terms of LGBTQ rights, many of us consider Europe to be on the list of world’s most progressive; however, there remains room for improvement in both established LGBTQ-friendly destinations and in lots of European nations still striving for greater equality. That is why, through our philanthropic IGLTA Foundation, we gave our support to the project. By sharing data and resources on the LGBTQ segment with the travel industry all together we are able to create greater knowledge of our diverse community,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella.
The Handbook is cost-free, and will be downloaded through web sites of the European Travel Commission and the International Lgbt Travel Association. With 75 pages of analysis, consumer and forecasts insights, the Handbook is likely to be considered a valuable resource to those wanting to understand the dynamics of the LGBTQ travel segment today. A 41-page supplement which includes case studies on LGBTQ destination marketing and transcripts from the expert interviews can be acquired upon request.