Asia Gears Up For Lesbian And Gay Visitors

Asia Gears Up For Lesbian And Gay Visitors

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I’ve been wanting to travel and explore many things that this life has to offer. Regardless of being with a partner or not, I would want to visit new places and gain exciting experiences along the way. By the word exciting, I don’t mind meeting new faces and apply my knowledge in anatomy and physiology and also chemistry (haha). With this article that I just read about the improving gay and lesbian travel opportunities in Asia, I am quite ecstatic about it. I can’t wait to start implementing my long made plans of traveling. I don’t mind having a partner with me though but that won’t be a hindrance as well. There is nothing wrong with traveling alone because you are the master of your time. I am quite a slow paced person so it would be great to have myself as a partner. I don’t want to be an extra baggage if I choose to travel with friends because I am the type of traveler who likes to savor every moment of the experience. Being in a hurry in moving from one place to another is not my forte. If you are planning to travel and also the same type of traveler like me then we are the perfect match. I hope you are femme (haha).  Anyways, here is the full article taken from lesbiannews

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Over 75 travel industry professionals representing tour operators, travel agencies, hotel owners, and faculty and students of a travel management institute convened at the 1st Asian Symposium on Gay & Lesbian Tourism, held at the Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi on November 28, 2011.

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The program was organized by San Francisco-based Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI), the global market research and consultancy firm focused on gay and lesbian communications. Attendees heard from Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing, Abhinav Goel, co-founder of New Delhi-based tour operator Out Journeys, LGBT community leaders, and a panel of travel industry experts. Each shared insights on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) tourism from their own perspectives.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New York Office, a co-sponsor of the symposium, announced that it has embarked on a project to “crystalize” its approach to LGBT travelers. The pilot “Go Thai, be free” campaign is targeted at LGBT travellers living on the east coast of the U.S. and is expected to launch in the first quarter next year.

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The agenda focused on helping tourism and hospitality leaders understand the opportunities presented by increasing LGBT visitors, getting to know their potential customers better, as well as the challenges and best practices associated with LGBT travel. Ankit Rajvanshi, co-founder of Out Journeys, says they want to share the dynamic, exciting, LGBT-welcoming nature of India with the world.

“As a boutique agency, we customize each tour, incorporating must-see India highlights with off the beaten path experiences, and visits to LGBT events and venues wherever available. We can also plan a wedding or honeymoon,” said Rajvanshi.

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“Our guests are matched up with LGBT-friendly hotels, drivers and guides to ensure that their needs will be well taken care of.” “Gay travelers are interested to learn not only about India’s rich national heritage, but also about our ancient art, texts and temple carvings from as early as the 1500s that depict same-sex interaction between women and between men. India is also proud of our own gay prince — Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla who made the headlines internationally when he came out in 2006,” added Rajvanshi.

As a “best practice,” Out Journeys donates 5% of profits to an NGO, Mission for Indian Gay & Lesbian Empowerment (MINGLE).

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According to CMI’s 16th Annual LGBT Tourism Report, which attracted over 30,000 respondents worldwide, gays and lesbians are “recession-resistant:” More gays and lesbians increased their travel over the past year than decreased travel. They also love to explore new destinations, and have an affinity for culture, arts, music and cuisine, making Asia a natural match. More gays and lesbians have and use their passports, and take far more trips per year compared to general market consumers. Roth acknowledged that while LGBT people are a highly desirable demographic, there are areas that tour operators and their vendors may need to address.

“LGBT travelers need to feel genuinely welcomed, and their preferences and sensitivities must be met while traveling,” Roth said. He also highlighted that companies that consider themselves “gay-friendly” are expected to implement non-discriminatory employment policies and support LGBT community groups.

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