ITB, the leading travel trade show, is stepping up its activities in the market for gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender tourism. Only recently, ITB Berlin became the first tourism trade fair to gain a seat on the supervisory board of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA). The IGLTA is calling for tour operators to strengthen their commitment to gay and lesbian travel. Rika Jean-Francois, in charge of gay and lesbian travel at ITB Berlin, has been appointed to the supervisory board of this international organization.
Dr. Martin Buck, the director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics, is delighted with ITB Berlin’s continuing involvement with IGLTA: “We consider her appointment a great honour, not least because ITB Berlin is the first travel trade show to have gained a seat on the board of this remarkable organization. We see our work at the IGLTA as an opportunity to help develop new markets and strengthen human rights in tourism.“ Since 2009 ITB Berlin has devoted a separate trade fair section to the growing gay and lesbian travel market, and at the Gay & Lesbian Pavilion provides information on the latest trends and products in this sector.
What is more, in October of this year ITB Berlin will again be setting the tone at the GOA International Travel Mart (GITM), and under the heading of “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Tourism“ is already planning a second workshop in India. On 21 October 2011, at a 90-minute seminar organized by ITB Berlin and its partners TomOnTour and Goa Tourism, the focus will be on this topic. The first workshop, in cooperation with TomOnTour, took place in January 2011 at India’s tourism trade fair SATTE. “Our presence in India emphasizes the importance of this expanding niche market. We are confident that the workshop will reveal worthwhile information on the dynamic developments in this market“, said Dr. Martin Buck.
International acceptance of gay and lesbian travellers is increasing. As a result, this lucrative segment of the tourism market is also receiving greater attention. ITB Berlin provides important background information on the market and what characterizes it, which is available from surveys by the IGLTA and its partner Community Marketing, Inc. Gay and lesbian travel will also play a dominant role at the ITB Berlin Convention, and next year is the third time an event is being dedicated to this topic. “We see more and more destinations wanting to get involved in LGBT travel and wanting to devote products and services specifically to this market. Travel products for gay travellers are now part and parcel of the tourism market in North America, Europe and Australia. South America is now catching up, and countries such as India have also recognised the great potential that this travel category can offer the tourism industry“, said Dr. Martin Buck.