Travel Proud LGBTQ+ Travellers

How LGBTQ+ people feel about travel in today’s climate

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Load up on insights from our annual travel study – the results of our most comprehensive LGBTQ+ research are in.

In a world where 64 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships— including 11 where the death penalty can be imposed—it’s no surprise that our LGBTQ+ research tells us a story with two sides. For our most extensive LGBTQ+ travel research to date, we spoke with 11,555 LGBTQ+ travelers from 27 countries to get a better understanding of their past travel experiences, future plans, and how we can support them. 

We know how hard you work to offer great hospitality to all your guests. At the same time, it’s important to understand that treating everyone equally doesn’t always mean everyone feels included. That’s why inclusivity training can highlight the unique challenges that LGBTQ+ travelers face – and suggest ways to overcome them to make travel easier. 

It’s our hope that as the Travel Proud program continues to be more widely adopted, we’ll be able to transform LGBTQ+ travelers’ caution into confidence – together.

Travel Proud Infographic EN US

The risk of discrimination and violence dramatically impacts LGBTQ+ people’s travel plans

Whether LGBTQ+ travelers are canceling trips (41% have done so in the past year after seeing that their destination wasn’t LGBTQ+ friendly) or changing their appearance for the occasion (75% of transgender people have adjusted how they present themselves in terms of clothing and makeup while traveling), it’s done in the interest of safety.

80% said they felt they needed to think about their safety and wellbeing as an LGBTQ+ person when choosing a travel destination – up from 64% last year. Meanwhile, 74% of transgender travelers reported facing a disproportionately high rate of discrimination and violence around the world.

Sadly, almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents said their choice of destination was greatly impacted by controversy in the news around attitudes, discrimination, and violence toward people who identify as LGBTQ+. Some major global events feel off-limits to them. Our results also showed that LGBTQ+ travelers from Australia (84%), Hong Kong (82%), and the US (79%) were the most cautious of all.

LGBTQ+ travelers are doing their homework

Our study revealed that 65% spend time researching brands before they travel to find out how they support LGBTQ+ people, and 69% agreed that they’re more likely to choose airlines and brands with inclusive policies. Similarly, 65% prefer attractions and activities specifically tailored to people identifying as LGBTQ+.

40% seem to receive general information about the local area at check-in, but LGBTQ+-specific guidance is far less common (16%). Our research showed that over a third (34%) would like to receive information about a location’s LGBTQ+ status. For trans, gender-fluid, and genderqueer people, this rises to 51%. For example, info on local laws, religious sensibilities, and where to go for safety is important for these travelers’ peace of mind. Any actions you take to make LGBTQ+ travelers feel more welcome are sure to have a significant positive impact.

“In a world of increasing contradictions and instability, it’s no surprise that the LGBTQ+ travelers of today are simultaneously more cautious and more confident. At Booking.com, we believe that everyone should always be able to experience the world as themselves. 

While visibility, understanding, and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people has come a long way in recent years, we can’t take that progress for granted. The travel industry should strive to be a beacon of inclusion, fostering an environment where everyone can flourish and thrive, whether exploring closer to home or traveling to the other side of the world.” – Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com

Optimistically, 78% said they enjoy the experience of booking trips and 82% have experienced positive interactions during their travels – specifically with places to stay.

This positivity can be seen with year-on-year improvements for many of our study’s questions. 42% of LGBTQ+ people have had friendly and informative correspondence with accommodations ahead of arrival, a significant increase from 25% in 2022. Likewise, 47% of travelers said they’ve had great first impressions upon arrival, such as welcome drinks and friendly staff. This is up from 31% in 2022. Better yet, 71% now feel that their experience of being LGBTQ+ actually makes them a more confident traveler – up from 62% in 2022.

As active advocates of allyship, we see in these stats how far we’ve come in the travel industry. Despite some backward steps across the globe, overall, progress is being made. This is evident with 78% feeling more comfortable traveling due to the increased inclusivity of the travel industry. For gender-fluid and genderqueer travelers, this increases to an impressive 87%. 

We hope this time next year, we’ll be able to report another increase as many more partners like you sign up for the Proud Hospitality training and earn a Travel Proud badge.

 

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Takeaway
  • Positive progress has been made, but there’s still a lot more we can do to help make LGBTQ+ travelers feel confident exploring the world
  • Those who identify as transgender are the most cautious when it comes to traveling, with 74% reportedly facing much higher rates of discrimination and violence
  • The demand for advice (34%) and experiences (65%) tailored to LGBTQ+ people’s interests is high – and it’s not currently being met
  • More than 30,000 properties globally are now being recognized for their inclusive hospitality efforts with a Travel Proud badge on Booking.com