Virgin Holidays publishes report on issues facing LGBT travelersEntertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Thursday, October 6th, 2016
1 in 3 LGBT travelers have experienced discrimination whilst on vacation
Virgin Holidays today publishes the findings from its LGBT travel report into the issues faced by LGBT travelers worldwide. The study reveals more than one in three (37%) LGBT travelers have experienced some form of discrimination whilst on vacation, with 6% experiencing a threat of physical violence due to their sexuality.
The report also highlighted that sexuality had a major influence on where LGBT Brits traveled, with two thirds (63%) refusing to travel somewhere that had an unwelcoming attitude toward the LGBT community. Furthermore a quarter (23%) of LGBT travelers change the way they act and try to camouflage their sexuality when on vacation.
Most alarmingly, an overwhelming 80% said that the travel industry don’t do enough to inform the LGBT community about local laws prior to departure.
Sir Richard Branson said: “At Virgin Holidays, we believe everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to be whoever they are, wherever they are. That’s why it is shocking that in today’s society some of us can’t even enjoy a simple holiday without fear of discrimination. It’s fantastic that Virgin Holidays are raising awareness around this important issue.”
Virgin Holidays has developed plans to address the issues faced by the LGBT community when traveling. As part of their commitment Virgin Holidays will stage an LGBT equalities conference in conjunction with international tourism partners, encouraging partners in conservative regions such as the Caribbean to adopt more LGBT-friendly policies.
Virgin Holidays three-year plan includes components which focus on empowering staff, informing customers, and influencing partners. It also involves joining lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality Stonewall, as a Diversity Champion. This will see Stonewall support Virgin Holidays in auditing the workplace on its LGBT inclusion efforts and provide advice and support on how to make it a better place to work for all lesbian, gay, bi and trans members of staff.
Mark Anderson, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, commented: “We want everyone to feel comfortable when traveling abroad and encourage everyone, regardless of their sexuality, to take on the world. We will continue to address this complex issue, and will be a proactive force for change in the LGBT community.”
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall CEO, said: “It’s difficult for travel companies to negotiate the ever-changing landscape around global LGBT equality. Travel companies should be doing everything they can to keep their staff and customers safe when traveling anywhere in the world. We would love to see others join forces with Virgin Holidays and work towards a world where lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel able to travel freely without fear of discrimination, and are accepted without exception.”
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