Research Reveals How LGBTQ+ Travelers From APAC are Taking Control of Their Trips

According to the findings, more than half (62%) of LGBTQ+ travelers from APAC experienced discrimination when traveling.

Booking.com has revealed its latest LGBTQ+ travel research which shows that travelers continue to face significant challenges.

Yet, says the company, while past research highlighted a real need and opportunity for the industry to make travel more welcoming, inclusive, and positive for the community, this year, the study’s findings unveil sentiments around greater self-empowerment as LGBTQ+ travelers from Asia-Pacific “take ownership of their lived realities to craft the best possible travel experiences.”

According to the findings, more than half (62%) of LGBTQ+ travelers from Asia Pacific (APAC) have experienced discrimination when traveling.


 

The report added that LGBTQ+ travelers expect some form of discriminatory behavior from both their fellow travelers (63%) and locals at their chosen destinations (65%). In parallel, 56% agree that being LGBTQ+ has made them more insecure and self-conscious as a traveler.

“In APAC, the landscape for LGBTQ+ communities is complex and constantly evolving,” the report said.

“Nevertheless, LGBTQ+ travelers in APAC are taking ownership and continue to advocate for acceptance and equality for future inclusivity. From thoughtful destination decision-making to pre-booking plane seats and creating alter egos, LGBTQ+ travelers are taking control of their trips more than ever before to safely navigate different challenges and to find the best experiences.”


 

Navigating the different challenges

Destination Deliberations

Booking.com said that likely reflective of the current economic uncertainties affecting people in many parts of the world, accommodations that fit the budget is the primary concern for two in three (66%) LGBTQ+ travelers.

An equal number (66%) of LGBTQ+ travelers from APAC believe that being able to be their authentic self on their trip is also as important.

Among all LGBTQ+ travelers from APAC:

  • 55% consider a destination’s local legislation regarding LGBTQ+ human, equality and marriage rights an important factor
  • 53% consider whether the destination is more, or less accepting of LGBTQ+ people than their home country
  • 53% also consider what they have heard or read in the news about experiences for foreign LGBTQ+ travelers

The report said that these concerns have had a clear influence on LGBTQ+ travelers’ perceptions and decision-making, with 47% of respondents canceling a trip within the past year after seeing a destination being unsupportive of its LGBTQ+ residents.

55% consider a destination’s local legislation regarding LGBTQ+ human, equality and marriage rights an important factor.

On the flip side, two-thirds (61%) of LGBTQ+ travelers have booked a trip in the past 12 months to a destination seen as supportive of residents who identify as LGBTQ+.

When presented with the choice, over half (56%) say they prefer to visit destinations where LGBTQ+ tourism is already well established, compared to 43% who would rather consider locations where their presence could contribute to broadening social awareness and acceptance.

Booking.com added that the zeitgeist is also playing a part in decision making: Over two in three (70%) LGBTQ+ travelers say they are more likely to book travel experiences inspired by LGBTQ+ pop culture.

One in three (37%) say they have had a negative experience with a fellow flight passenger directly related to their identity.

Pre-flight Preparations

Once the destination has been decided, LGBTQ+ travelers are taking additional proactive steps to mitigate concerns about potential discrimination while flying, the report found.

One in three (37%) have had a negative experience with a fellow flight passenger directly related to their identity, while a greater proportion (43%) expressed apprehension at the idea of being seated next to a stranger in fear of their reaction or behavior towards them as an LGBTQ+ individual.

Consequently, 56% of LGBTQ+ travelers opt to select a specific seat in advance to minimize interaction with others for fear of discrimination.

Code-switching and Travel Personas

LGBTQ+ travelers are actively adopting personas to protect themselves on their trips, said the report, noting that close to half (48%) of LGBTQ+ travelers say that they modify aspects of their appearance and behavior to avoid potential discrimination or unwanted attention, while an equal number (48%) have created an alter-ego to navigate different environments when traveling.

The main reason for travelers to create an alter-ego was to protect themselves and feel safe (47%), with one in three (38%) doing so to adapt to cultural sensitivities that may exist at a destination.

48% said that they created an alter-ego to navigate different environments when traveling.

Travel Industry Allies

Beyond their own decisions, LGBTQ+ travelers recognize progress within the travel industry, with 76% saying increased inclusivity has made them feel more comfortable when traveling.

Traveling to destinations that have adequate legislation in place facilitates feeling included and this is reflected in interactions with those who work in the travel industry:

  • 84% of LGBTQ+ travelers in APAC feel comfortable when arriving to check in at their accommodation
  • 82% when having correspondence with accommodation hosts and airlines
  • 84% when interacting with hospitality professionals at their destination such as tour guides, flight attendants and taxi drivers

Additionally, when asked what features LGBTQ+ travelers would like to see from travel companies to improve their future travel experiences, 30% referenced filters that would facilitate identifying properties that offer a welcoming experience.

“At Booking.com, we passionately believe that everyone should be able to travel and experience the world in their own unique way,” said Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com.

“As a gay man, I unfortunately know first hand the challenges that persist in many parts of the world, including sadly with travel alerts already being issued ahead of Pride events this year. Despite all this, I am incredibly inspired to see LGBTQ+ travelers resiliently embracing their lived experiences, both at home and during their trips.”


Booking.com’s Travel Proud program provides free inclusive hospitality training for accommodations to help them gain a better understanding of the specific challenges faced by LGBTQ+ travelers.

The company said that the training is available in 11 languages and has recently expanded to include Japanese and Thai, with training sessions regularly available. There are more than 5,404 Travel Proud-certified properties in APAC on Booking.com, a 200% increase from last year.

Featured image by JS Leng.

Subscribe to our newsletter

and Get more brand in your diet

 

Read More

Creative Work

subscribe & get more brand in your diet

newsletter

get more brand in your diet

We never share your info,
we only share ours