New crises and the uncertainty they create are encouraging populism, and “then we minorities are the first to be attacked.“ That was the sad fact that stood out in Tuesday’s keynote speech by Peter Jordan on ’LGBTQ+ Tourism and Resilience’.
Jordan, founder of the consultancy Gen C Traveller, was confident the community could master this challenge: “It has been through a lot these last few years.“
Rika Jean-François, CSR commissioner for ITB Berlin, opened the panel discussion noting that the pandemic in particular had further increased the threat for minorities and that it helped hate and conservatism thrive again. Jordan was insistent that even in times of increasing demand for sustainability travel had to remain a basic need because it was indispensable among other things for educating oneself and one’s personal orientation. The LGBTQ+ community had to “establish its own resilience“ while also identifying with measures to fight climate change, since this impacted everybody regardless of sexual orientation. It was possible this increasingly urgent situation held the key to successful inclusion.
Barbara Poma of the onePulse Foundation from Orlando, who has dedicated herself to the fight against hatred, invited everybody to travel to Florida to help the local inclusion efforts which are under threat from many sides. Benedikt Brandmeier, director of Tourism, Events and Hospitality, explained the efforts the Bavarian capital is taking in order to treat tourists not simply as cash-dispensing hobby photographers, but to make them feel part of everyday local activities, thus giving them a taste of the city’s way of life. He admitted this was sometimes difficult to reconcile with the LGBTQ+ community’s desire for safe spaces, however such efforts had proved successful at specific carnival events.
Rachel Ferguson of Visit Philadelphia made similar comments. Many visitors belonged to more than one marginalised minority, as a person of colour or in the role of a mother for example. The solution, with inclusion as its goal, had to be to afford all groups respect so they could realise their potential with dignity as free persons. Alex Belopolsky of the Munich Proud at Work Foundation appealed not to simply accept decisions contradicting LGBTQ+ values, such as that of UNWTO to make the Uzbek city of Samarkand the World Tourism Capital, because homosexuality was punishable with a jail sentence in Uzbekistan.
Thomas Bömkes, the LGBTQ+ tourism adviser to ITB Berlin, announced Karl Krause and Daan Coljin as winners of the Pioneer Award for innovative achievements for the community. They had travelled around the world as a male couple with their travel blog, had recently published a book and had contributed decisively to spreading a positive LGBTQ+ aura.