What Pride? LGBTQ+ People Are Increasingly Worried About Going Abroad

It doesn’t feel like we’re moving forwards in terms of inclusivity.
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Holidays are a source of joy for so many of us. There’s nothing better than trying new foods, learning new languages, seeing communities and societies that differ from our own, and having a week or two away from our responsibilities.

However, for many of us, these wide-ranging travel possibilities just aren’t possible. In fact, according to new data from Booking.com, almost four in five (79% of) LGBTQ+ travellers say they must consider their safety and wellbeing when choosing a holiday destination.

And what’s worse is that this statistic is up from 61% only a year ago.

Transgender people are the most discriminated against

The study, conducted amongst almost 12,000 LGBTQ+ travellers across 27 countries and territories across the world, produced some shocking statistics including that 78% of UK respondents said controversy in the news around attitudes, discrimination, and violence towards LGBTQ+ people has hugely impacted their choice of destination.

Additionally, LGBTQ+ travellers from Australia (84%), Hong Kong (82%), and the US (79%) say they are the most cautious about travelling.

Alarmingly, though not all that surprising given the current stigmatising climate around trans issues, 74% of transgender travellers face a disproportionately higher rate of discrimination and violence across the world.

Even once holidays have been booked, 63% of transgender travellers have cancelled a holiday after learning that a destination doesn’t support those from the LGBTQ+ community.

Once abroad, many LGBTQ+ people don’t feel safe to be themselves with 62% admitting that travelling abroad has impacted how they present themselves in terms of clothing and make-up when travelling, and 75% of transgender travellers not feeling safe to present as who they are.

Transgender people can face further barriers such as their name, gender identity or appearance not entirely matching their passports.

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The travel industry is working to revolutionise travel for LGBTQ+ people

While these statistics aren’t exactly hopeful, the travel industry says it is working hard to improve travel opportunities and conditions for LGBTQ+ people.

In fact, 82% of UK LGBTQ+ travellers feel more comfortable travelling due to the increased inclusivity of the UK travel industry and, in more hopeful news, this rises to 87% for genderfluid and genderqueer travellers.

There is still a lot of room for improvement, though. Only 15% of respondents had ever been offered LGBTQ+ guidance when booking holidays, but 36% of respondents would like to receive information on the LGBTQ+ status of the location – this rises to 51% for transgender people.

LGBTQ+ status guidance includes:

  • Local laws
  • Religious sensibilities
  • Tips on where to go to be safe

Allyship manifests in many ways and making people feel safe to use your business, especially when travelling to a different country, is essential.

Almost two-thirds (61%) of respondents said they research brands before travelling to understand how they support LGBTQ+ people, 63% are more likely to travel with brands who are LGBTQ+ owned and a staggering 70% of respondents agreed they’re more likely to favour airlines and brands with inclusive policies such as gender neutral uniforms.

Arjan Dijk, CMO and senior vice president at Booking.com, said: “In a world of increasing contradictions and instability, it’s no surprise that the LGBTQ+ travellers of today are simultaneously more cautious and more confident.

“I understand the self-confidence that comes from growing up and learning to navigate the world as a gay man, as well as the extra thought and consideration for safety and well-being that we see LGBTQ+ travellers continuing to grapple with in this research.”

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