Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) will be the hot topic for World Travel Market Africa in the month of June as it joins the LGBTQ+ community in celebrating Pride Month.
Following on from the success of EQUAL Africa, held in partnership with the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) during Africa Travel Week in April, WTM Africa will be shining a spotlight on LGBTQ+ Tourism during June, with a range of Travel With Me profiles, an Industry Insight from IGLTA and expert advice on how the travel and tourism community can benefit through supporting LGBTQ+ travellers.
“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are a critical part of our sustainability as the tourism sector in Africa. We see our role as Africa Travel Week as sharing why it is important for our industry to foster equitable travel for all,” explains Martin Hiller, Reed Exhibitions Africa Creative & Content Director: Travel, Tourism & Creative Industries.
“Our goal is to provide a pivotal plaform for the continent’s travel and tourism industry, inspiring, educating and rebuilding the travel and tourism industry through knowledge sharing and community building. With pink travel on the rise globally, we need to be talking about facilitating safe, comfortable travel for LGBTQ+ travellers to Africa’s wonderful destinations,” adds Hiller.
“Our partnership with Africa Travel Week and the opportunity to curate LGBTQ+ travel content under the EQUAL Africa banner gives us the opportunity to create year-round visibility and resources to support LGBTQ+ travel and champion the need for diversity, equity and inclusion in the African tourism industry and around the world,” highlights IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella.
To that effect EQUAL Africa hosted a series of captivating panel discussions and presentations during the recent Africa Travel Week in April, including insights to attract LGBTQ+ Travellers here and tips and tricks on how to transform approaches to welcome all travellers, regardless of race, age, gender or sexual orientation were delivered in an informative series of expert talks which can be viewed here. While, African business owners came together to talk about their pandemic recovery strategies, new LGBTQ+ offerings and how the larger travel and tourism community can benefit through supporting LGBTQ+ travellers and the local LGBTQ+ community.
The opportunity for Africa is undeniable, he says. According to the IGLTA, LGBTQ+ travellers are among the most “resilient and loyal” segment of travellers, travelling more frequently than non-LGBTQ+ travellers. A study by the IGLTA Foundation found that their enthusiasm for travel has not waned with the pandemic, with some 73% of respondents saying they plan to take their next major holiday before the end of 2021.
“In this pandemic world, we look to resilient and adventurous travellers to blaze a trail and we know that our LGBTQ+ travellers are early adopters. As tourism destinations and products, we can benefit from the insights our industry experts in the LGBTQ+ space are sharing and be the catalysts for shaping the future of LGBTQ+ travel in Africa and the rest of the world,” Hiller concludes.