Safety considerations continue to be at the forefront for LGBTQIA+ people when planning a trip somewhere, a new study from Booking.com has found.
The data comes from the company’s most extensive LGBTQIA+ travel research to date and was the source of discussion at a roundtable held at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel during Manchester Pride on 25 August.
The event, which was moderated by Conor Clark, Senior Reporter at GAY TIMES, saw Coronation Street star Antony Cotton share his own experiences of travelling as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Also in attendance was Kristofer Barber, Global Communications Director for Booking.com, who told the room about the company’s extensive efforts to improve the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people when travelling – such as its Travel Proud programme.
The scheme provides free inclusive hospitality training for accommodations in order to help them understand and meet the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, which allows travellers to feel more confident when booking a stay somewhere as they will then have a badge to reflect this displayed on the website.
More than 47,000 properties have been certified globally, including the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, which Stephen Marshall, Guest Services Manager, discussed in more detail at the roundtable.
Discrimination continues to be an issue LGBTQIA+ people face when travelling
Close to four in five (79 per cent) respondents to Booking.com’s research said they consider their wellbeing when picking a destination to visit, a figure that has risen significantly from 61 per cent in 2022 – highlighting the need for the LGBTQIA+ community to know about properties championing inclusivity.
Discrimination continues to be an issue LGBTQIA+ people face when travelling, with 32 percent of respondents sharing that they have been subjected to stereotyping – a figure that is even higher for genderfluid and genderqueer travellers (51 per cent).
One in five (20 per cent) said they have been stared at, laughed at or verbally abused by others when travelling, with pansexual and lesbian people reporting this at the highest rates (26 and 23 per cent, respectively).
Approximately 11 per cent have even been threatened or intimidated by local law enforcement, with this figure rising to 24 per cent among trans people 32 per cent among those who are intersex.
Booking.com did, however, find that 65 per cent of LGBTQIA+ people felt more confident travelling in the UK because of their identity, a 14 per cent increase from those surveyed in 2022.
“At Booking.com, we believe that everyone should be able to experience the world as themselves, always. While visibility, understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people has come a long way in recent years, we can’t take that progress for granted,” Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com, said.
“The travel industry should strive to be a beacon of inclusion, helping foster an environment where everyone can flourish and thrive, whether exploring closer to home or travelling to the other side of the world.”
Booking.com surveyed 12,000 LGBTQIA+ people across 27 countries and territories as part of its research, which you can learn more about here.