Travel Impressions, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Express, has expanded its offerings to include Africa and is launching a niche program and website for travel agents to better sell and book gay and lesbian travel.
The company, which also works with such destinations as Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and the U.S., will make South Africa its first destination on the continent. The company now offers packages to Cape Town, Johannesburg and the South African Winelands, as well as Safari and Game Lodge expeditions, and in celebration of the new offerings, travel agents can earn a $150 American Express ® Gift Cheque when booking air-inclusive vacations to South Africa. To earn the bonus, bookings must be made by June 30 for travel through December 31. For more information, visit www.travelimpressions.com.
In addition, travel agents looking to become involved in the growing gay and lesbian travel market can turn to Travel Impressions' new TI Gay & Lesbian Travel program and website, www.travelimpressions.com/gaytravel. The program features gay-friendly travel options around the world for agents and consumers to access, as well as a booking engine just for travel agents and a database of gay-friendly verified products.
Currently there are more than 950 properties in 150 destinations
participating in the program by agreeing
to be referred to as a gay-friendly property, which Travel Impressions
defines as those which are open to actively
welcoming gay and lesbian vacationers, and extending the same service
levels, courtesies and professionalism as they extend to all other
visitors. The properties are located in the continental U.S
and Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and Tahiti, with more
destinations to come.
Community Marketing, Inc., a respected gay market research development lab, found in its 12th annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Study (2007/2008) that the gay and lesbian travel economic impact in the United States is at least $64.5 billion.
The study also noted that October, September and February are the top
vacation months chosen by study respondents (an opportunity for travel
agents to build revenue during these traditionally slow times); more
than 76 percent of U.S. lesbian and gay respondents have a current
passport (making international travel an even easier sell); 75 percent
of gay travelers state that known gay-friendliness is a top reason for
choosing a destination; and the most important destination criteria for
gay and lesbian travelers are safety from harassment and city or
community support for diversity and gay and lesbian civil rights.
Travel agents can opt in to the TI Gay & Lesbian Travel program on the website home page, in the “Book Gay-Friendly Hotels” section. Registration allows agents to book on the site and it will authorize Travel Impressions to send agents faxes, e-mails and promotions that are specific to the TI Gay & Lesbian Travel program.
For complete details about the TI Gay & Lesbian Travel program or to register, contact Travel Impressions 1-800-284-0044 or visit www.travelimpressions.com/gaytravel.