From group ‘gaycations’ to ‘Rainbow Rebellions’, where queer people defiantly travel to countries with anti-LGBTQ+ laws, a diverse panel of experts share their views on the future of queer tourism. Jenny Southan reports
Globetrender’s new Future of Queer Travel trend report was launched at a live event in June at the Mondrian Shoreditch, with contestants from UK’s first gay reality dating show I Kissed a Boy. (Pictured below is Globetrender founder Jenny Southan with contestants Vitor, Bobski and Kailum.)In a welcome speech from David Lockhart, general manager of the Mondrian hotel, he said: “I have been with my husband for 13 years, we have children and we travel a lot, but I have had more than one or two complicated eyebrow raises. So this is something I am very passionate about. It is something we should all be very passionate about.
“Service and hospitality are all about discretion and humility. And it should always be about inclusion. This event is something we thought we should definitely be a part of. You can programme for Pride but it’s some important that corporations do it with some style and some substance.”
The forecast, which is free to download from globetrender.com, identifies eight trends that will shape the future of travel for the LGBTQ+ market. These include: “Queer Family Travel”, “Limelight Gaycations”, “Rainbow Rebellions”, “Polydays” and “Pride Power”.
During the event there was also a panel discussion between five diverse queer commentators:
- Kailum Webster, travel consultant and contestant on BBC reality dating show I Kissed a Boy
- Sophie Griffiths, editor and chief purpose officer for TTG Media
- Stu Oakley, founder of Assemble Publicity, and co-author of The Queer Parent. He is also the co-host of podcast From Gay to Ze
- Aisha Shaibu-Lenoir, founder of Moonlight Experiences and LGBTQIA+ Ambassador for Contiki
- Chris King, CEO of Lightning Travel Recruitment
The conversation around the future of queer travel was wide-ranging. Griffiths discussed TTG’s editorial strategy when it comes to LGBT content and their commitment to “never promoting any destination where, based on recent evidence, members of your team would not feel comfortable to travel for fear of arrest due to their sexuality or profession”.
Webster spoke about what it was like to spend two months living in a masseria in Italy with a group of gay guys for a reality TV show, while Oakley explained why shows like this so important when it comes to accepting and supporting the queer community, and what he has learnt about queer family holidays as a gay dad.
Alongside this, Shaibu-Lenoir spoke about the new queer group trips her company is launching, why she would travel to Saudi Arabia, and why is it so important for travel companies and tourist boards to invest in diverse and inclusive imagery.
Finally, King raised some important points about what people in the travel industry need to understand about being trans, what the experience of being a trans person and business leader is like, and the rise of gender neutral passports, which you can read more about in Globetrender’s Future of Queer Travel trend report.