New Delhi Symposium Discusses How to Increase LGBT Travel

Over 75 industry members convened to discuss opportunities for increasing LGBT visitors, getting to know these customers and better practices. The Asian Symposium on Gay and Lesbian Tourism was held at the Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi on November 28.

The travel industry is interested in learning more about LGBT travel, becuase it is one niche that is growing. Gays and lesbians traveled more this year than in the past, according to CMI’s 16th Annual LGBT Tourism Report. Tour operators such as Cox & Kings, Go India, Sita Travel, Holiday Moods Adventures, and travel agency Thomas Cook said they are researching or have begun to reach out to LGBT travelers.

The symposium, organized by San Francisco-based Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI), a market research and consultancy firm focused on gay and lesbian communications, featured talks from Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing; Abhinav Goel, co-founder of New Delhi-based tour operator Out Journeys; LGBT community leaders and a panel of travel industry experts.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New York Office, a co-sponsor of the symposium, announced its “Go Thai, be free” campaign, which will launch early next year and focus on LGBT travelers from the east coast.

“Gay travellers are interested to learn not only about India’s rich national heritage, but also about our ancient art, texts and temple carvings from as early as the 1500s that depict same-sex interaction between women and between men,” said Ankit Rajvanshi, co-founder of Out Journeys. “India is also proud of our own gay prince – Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla who made the headlines internationally when he came out in 2006.”