Escaping the ‘bubble’: LGBT tourism eyes new horizons

LGBT travellers are often stereotyped as hedonistic holidaymakers. — AFP pic BERLIN, March 11 — From gay-friendly honeymoon destinations to party escapes, tourism has long catered to LGBT travellers. But as acceptance grows, so do calls for the industry to broaden its offers, and avoid cliches. All too often travel professionals remain stuck on stereotypical views of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual guests as hedonistic holidaymakers, Thomas Boemkes of the consulting agency Diversity Tourism said at Berlin’s ITB fair, the world’s largest travel trade show. “Hotel owners still ask me how to be gay friendly, and if for example they should be offering condoms,” Boemkes told AFP. “I tell them all they have to do is be tolerant and welcoming, as you would be with any other clientele, without being intrusive,” he said, adding that “it is appreciated” when reception staff ask two male guests whether they would like twin rooms or a shared bed. The World Tourism Organisation estimated in a 2016 report that LGBT travellers account for five to 10 percent of global tourists. It describes them as a group “that travels with greater frequency and demonstrates higher-than-average patterns of spending”, making them and their so-called “pink […]