Founder of Foozoo Travel, Sri Lanka makes some compelling points
The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) is an international organization and a member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism. The association has a global presence with member businesses in more than 80 countries and global ambassadors in more than 22 countries. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) was the first gay organization to receive affiliate member status in the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in November 2010. In November 2015 the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association became an orgisational partner with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
The IGLTA Foundation supports the mission of IGLTA and its members through education, research and leadership development that benefits the global LGBTQ tourism industry. And this year saw the launch of the Discovery Series – Voices from LGBTQ Travel Professionals in Emerging Destinations.
The programme, conducted by IGLTA Hall of Fame award winner, Tanya Churchmuch of Much PR saw representatives from small to medium businesses speak about unique challenges they face back home. Participants included representatives from Brazil, Curacao and Uganda.
Contributing to the conversation, founder of Foozoo Travel, Dinesh Perera highlighted that destinations like Sri Lanka offer a multitude of challenges that are complicated by cultural norms and politicisation. His business that is contributing to the economy needs to appeal to international clients that value diversity, safety and authentic experiences yet communicate them in such a way that does not ruffle feathers. He also appealed for cohesive and strategic support in marketing communications, and visibility which organisations like the IGLTA can provide.
Another contributor touched on the important fact that the demographics of International travellers are changing. As marriage equality takes hold around the world and people are becoming more comfortable living their authentic selves, international travellers who identify as LGBTIQ are also increasing. They and their families value businesses and destinations that respect equality. Thus creating a strong business case for equality and non-discriminatory practices.
The Discovery series will continue at future IGLTA conventions and the points discussed in the first meeting will be revisited throughout the coming year. Foozoo Travel on behalf of other businesses like them hope that these discussions will deliver tangible and meaningful results.