The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association Foundation held its first symposium to discuss expanding LGBTQ+ tourism in India. At the event, held in New Delhi on February 2,members of the IGLTA team and the association’s global network joined leaders from India to network and conduct educational sessions in the welcoming environment of The Lalit New Delhi, one of the newest hotel members of IGLTA.
According to a press statement, the event explored the development of India’s inbound and outbound tourism network to create a more welcoming landscape for LGBTQ+ travellers.
The statement adds that as part of its ongoing efforts to support IGLTA’s global travel community, the IGLTA Foundation is enhancing its outreach in strategic emerging destinations. In 2020, the Foundation formed a task force comprised of travel professionals in India and those who promote travel to its many cities and cultural sites, which led to this educational symposium.
The statement adds that the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association is the global leader in advancing LGBTQ+ travel with prime mission to provide information and resources for LGBTQ+ travelers and expand LGBTQ+ tourism globally by demonstrating its significant social and economic impact. The statement adds that the IGLTA global network includes 12,000 LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ welcoming accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events, and travel media in 80 countries.
“Through IGLTA Foundation efforts like our India Initiative, we can increase understanding of global LGBTQ+ tourism.We are so excited to discuss the opportunities for LGBTQ+ travel to and from India, given the huge projections for the country’s tourism growth. It is essential that this growth values all travelers and makes them feel genuinely welcome,” ,” says IGLTA President and CEO John Tanzella.
The statement adds that the topics of the symposium included best practices for LGBTQ+ tourism and practical advice for creating more inclusive hospitality offerings. Among the speakers wereTanzella, Lo Ann Halden, Keshav Suri, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, Rudrani Chhetri, LGBTQIA+ Rights Activist and Founder, Mitr Trust andDon Heflin, Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs, US Embassy; Jonathan Heimer,
Minister Counsellor for Commercial Affairs, US Embassy, Tom Kiely, President and CEO, Visit West Hollywood, Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO, Destination DC, Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company as well as representatives from Lemon Tree Hotels, Serene Journeys, and The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group.
“We are delighted to partner with IGLTA for this first-ever symposium on expanding LGBTQ+ tourism. It is a great opportunity to engage and explore the potential of pink tourism. As per World Bank data, the inclusion of an able and talented workforce from the LGBTQIA + community and the ‘Power of Pink Money’ can contribute up to 1.7 pc to the growth of Indian GDP. In order to achieve an egalitarian society, we as individuals and organisations must become the catalysts. As India spearheads the G20 forum this year, the theme is a reflection of our commitment towards inclusion for all: One Earth, One Family, One Future,” says Keshav Suri, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group.