The term ‘travel’ and its connotations should denote positive experiences, adventure and enjoyment. Yet for many LGBTQ+ travelers from around the world, the reality of traveling can often paint a very different picture. The most extensive LGBTQ+ travel research from leading digital travel platform Booking.com to date shines a light on attitudes, concerns and travel preferences, as well as past stay experiences, current realities and hopes for a more inclusive travel future. Conducted amongst LGBTQ+ travellers across 25 countries and around the world, the study shows that negative experiences are most common while travellers are out and about in public, with LGBTQ+ travellers from India followed by Denmark and Mexico indicating that they are experiencing this most frequently.
With more than 92 per cent of Indian LGBTQ+ travelers having discrimination experienced while traveling, through being subjected to stereotyping (41 per cent) being stared at, laughed at or verbally abused by other travellers (27 per cent) and/or locals (26 per cent) cent), it’s not surprising that LGBTQ+ travelers face the added complexity of navigating a trip from selecting a destination all the way through to the activities they take part in. 67 per cent of Indian LGBTQ+ travelers say that being part of the community impacts the decisions they make when planning. For example, when selecting a destination, 70 per cent of Indian LGBTQ+ travelers report they have to consider their safety and well-being as an LGBTQ+ traveller. 63 per cent of the Indian LGBTQ+ travellers feel that the destinations on their ‘bucket list’ have been affected by being part of the community, while 71 per cent of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers believe being a member of the LGBTQ+ community impacts who they choose to travel with. 73 per cent indicate it impacts the activities they participate in when away.
While there are many obstacles to inclusive travel for those who identify as LGBTQ+, there are still significant areas where travelers are having positive interactions and experiences. It’s refreshing that over 72 per cent of Indian travellers report that being part of the LGBTQ+ community actually makes them feel more confident as a traveller, with 77 per cent of Indian travellers saying that they do have the confidence to explore the destinations they want to visit .
Booking.com recognises the important role properties play in providing a more inclusive experience and is taking action to pave the way for everyone to Travel Proud. Launched in August 2021, Booking.com’s Proud Hospitality training program is available in English and French, for its accommodation partners globally. There are now also more than 10,000 Proud Certified properties across 95 countries and territories on its platform. Available free of charge to all Booking.com property partners globally, the goal of the training session is to help hospitality professionals understand the challenges and barriers that the LGBTQ+ community face when traveling, providing them with practical skills and techniques that they can immediately put into practice at their property.