Thailand is hosting the very first LGBT+ Travel Symposium and has made a pledge to welcome more diverse travellers, establishing themselves as one of the most inclusive destinations in Asia.
Already established as a same-sex couple friendly destination, with plenty of gay bars and nightclubs around the country, according to the Lonely Planet, the Southeast Asian country is now making an official bid to welcome more LGBT+ travellers.
Nearly 18 per cent of Thailand’s GDP is made up of tourism, which is double the average country. With the highly lucrative nature of LGBT+ tourism, currently valued at $200 billion globally, it’s growing more than double the rate of mainstream travel.
“Our aim is to see exponential growth in Thailand as an LGBT+ destination, and we hope to be a model for this segment,” said Srisuda Wanapinyosak of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, according to Lonely Planet.
“We are proud that LGBT travellers can stay anywhere in Thailand with a complete peace of mind. Our kingdom is open to every possible shade under the rainbow.”
In partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, The LGBT+ Travel Symposium will bring in more than 30 of the world’s leading LGBT+ buyers and media into Bangkok for the event.
Despite this encouraging step, LGBT+ relationships are still a sensitive topic and remain taboo in some parts of Aisa. But Thai society is shifting its perception with a bill allowing same-sex couples to have a civil marriage expected to be passed in Thailand by the end of the year.
Research shows a majority of the country is in favour of the bill.