Nearly half of LGBTIQ+ travellers have experienced some form of discrimination when trotting the globe, according to the findings of a global survey.
With lockdowns forcing New Zealand’s Winter Pride festival to postpone this week’s festivities, thousands of Aussies that planned to attend and celebrate LGBTIQ+ pride have been robbed of a key moment of travel and community.
Booking.com, a platinum sponsor of the event, said now is a key time to reflect on the challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ communities.
The platform surveyed 3,052 LGBTIQ+ travellers across three continents to shine a light on attitudes, concerns and travel preferences, as well as past stay experiences, current realities and hopes for a more inclusive travel future.
According to the research, 46 per cent have experienced some form of discrimination when travelling, 66 per cent said they have to consider their safety and wellbeing as an LGBTIQ+ traveller when picking a destination, and over half (57 per cent) believe that travelling as part of the LGBTIQ+ community means that some destinations are off-limits.
These extra considerations for LGBTIQ+ people extend across the entire planning and travel journey for more than half of those surveyed.
A majority (61 per cent) said their sexuality impacts the decisions they make when planning a trip, with 52 per cent saying that it has impacted their destination bucket list.
On top of this, 61 per cent indicated that travelling as an LGBTIQ+ person impacts how they behave with their significant other when travelling together, with 59 per cent saying it impacts how they present themselves during their trip (such as clothing and makeup choices).
While these insights expose the concerns that weigh on many LGBTIQ+ travellers’ minds, the survey also showed 89 per cent of LGBTIQ+ travellers surveyed believe that the majority of the travel experiences they’ve had so far have been welcoming.
Despite the barriers and challenges that remain, this underscores an underlying optimism amongst LGBTIQ+ travellers and a growing opportunity for the travel industry to do even better to create more welcoming experiences for everyone.
In terms of accommodation specifically, almost half (48 per cent) have had less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable experiences at a property where they were staying.
One in five (22 per cent) have had staff assume they would need separate rooms or beds when checking in as a couple, 15 per cent have experienced unwelcoming or uncomfortable experiences at hotel restaurants, and 17 per cent have felt uncomfortable asking for LGBTIQ+ friendly local tips or recommendations.
In light of these results, Booking.com has launched the Proud Hospitality training program for its accommodation partners, to give accommodation providers the opportunity to become a ‘Proud Certified’ property on the platform.
The 75-minute program focuses on the unique challenges the LGBTIQ+ community faces when travelling, by helping hospitality professionals see things from a different perspective and provide practical skills they can immediately put into practice.
Cities with multiple Proud Certified properties will also be showcased on a designated Travel Proud page, where travellers can learn more about the initiative, as well as find and book properties that are Proud Certified.
The program will roll out to partners in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, with new territories and languages being added over the course of 2021 and into 2022.
Featured image source: iStock/Geber86