LGBTQ Travel Officially Expands Eastward with IGLTA and PATA Agreement
by Heather Cassell
Lesbian and gay travel experts are eyeing Asia as the next hot destination from Japan to Thailand and why not? Queer travelers have already been creating a path to destinations such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries in Asia.
Taipei played host to Asia’s largest LGBTQ Pride attracting nearly 80,000 attendees from around the globe to the celebration and parade in the Southeast Asian country at the end of October. Taiwan is already a longtime popular vacation destination for many Chinese.
However, queer travel to Asia has remained well-known, but not officially recognized. That is until this past Thursday when the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and the Pacific Asia Travel Association announced its new partnership in a joint news release from the two tourism organizations November 19.
The IGLTA is the largest LGBTQ travel organization connecting LGBTQ- owned and -friendly member travel businesses with queer travelers around the world.
The PATA has been promoting tourism abroad and within the Asia Pacific region for nearly 65 years through education and research, events, membership programs, and more.
The CEOs of the two organizations, Mario Hardy of PATA and John Tanzella of IGLTA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the World Travel Market in London, United Kingdom, November 5.
The agreement commits the two organizations to share knowledge through research and publications, to reciprocate in event participation, to support mutual agreed advocacy positions, and to enhance access for the benefit of members of both organizations.
“IGLTA’s role is to identify businesses globally that are welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and to share that network with LGBT travelers so they know where they will feel safe,” says John. “We are thrilled to partner with PATA, a leader in responsible Asia-Pacific tourism, to enhance LGBT outreach in this region and provide their members with the education to better serve our community.”
IGLTA will host its 34th international LGBTQ travel conference in Japan in 2017.
Mario agrees adding, “It is important to recognize and inform our members that gay and lesbian tourism has a significant impact socially and economically across the globe. We are proud to support them in their activities, as PATA continually works to establish bridges for people of goodwill from all countries to access each other and empathize with each other.”
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