A new ILGTA Foundation report explores how the pandemic scrambled our expectations for queer travel and the opportunity for a global reset led by LGBTQ+ companies.
Authored by Peter Jordan, a leader in LGBTQ+ travel, Going Further: How to Make LGBTQ+ Travel Transformational for Travelers, Communities and the Planetreports on the interests of queer travelers and offers five key strategies for companies moving forward.
The survey uncovered a deep desire for more responsible travel: trips that reduce the environmental footprint of previous journeys and vacations that pay more attention and respect to the destination’s local queer and POC communities. Respondents indicated they want to patronize queer-owned businesses, but many would also like to contribute to an LGBTQ+ community project while on vacation.
Jordan suggests those who do business in queer travel — from travel advisors to tour operators and hotel managers to airline executives — need to meet five new goals: Lighten their environmental footprint, reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, increase their social impact, employ LGBTQ+ travel as an agent of transformation in emerging destination, and drive community change through travel.
In a practical sense, meeting the first goal involves increasing carbon literacy, developing a sustainability strategy, evaluating which tours put pressure on fragile locations, and using social media to share advice on reducing carbon footprints.
Supporting communities means training employees to expect and embrace diversity, amplifying minority voices (including in marketing channels), ensuring queer spaces and events for people of color, building alliances with LGBTQ+ and POC nonprofits, and ensuring tours respect local issues and cultures.
In a statement, Theresa Belpulsi, former chair of the IGLTA Foundation’s board, said “By taking a closer look at the diverse LGBTQ+ community of travelers, this report explains how we can build back our businesses, adopt practices that reduce our environmental footprint, and contribute to the wellbeing of communities in our most beloved destinations.”