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LGBTQ+ Travel Symposium discuss expanding LGBTQ+ tourism in India

First of its kind, the event explored the development of India’s inbound and outbound tourism network to create a more welcoming landscape for LGBTQ+ travelers

U.S. based The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) Foundation recently organised its first ever symposium in India to discuss expanding LGBTQ+ tourism here. The event brought together members of the IGLTA team and the association’s global network joining thought leaders from India to network and conduct educational sessions New Delhi’s The LaLiT hotel, one of the newest hotel members of IGLTA in India. The event was supported by Visit West Hollywood, Destination DC, NYC & Company, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group and the Keshav Suri Foundation.

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) is a global leader in advancing LGBTQ+ travel and an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The philanthropic IGLTA Foundation empowers LGBTQ+ welcoming travel businesses globally through leadership, research, and education.

As part of its ongoing efforts to support IGLTA’s global travel community, the IGLTA Foundation is enhancing its outreach in strategic emerging destinations. In 2020, the Foundation formed a task force comprised of travel professionals in India and those who promote travel to its many cities and cultural sites, which led to this educational symposium.

“Through IGLTA Foundation efforts like our India Initiative, we can increase understanding of global LGBTQ+ tourism,” said IGLTA President & CEO John Tanzella. “We are so excited to discuss the opportunities for LGBTQ+ travel to and from India, given the huge projections for the country’s tourism growth. It is essential that this growth values all travelers and makes them feel genuinely welcome.”

Topics of the symposium include best practices for LGBTQ+ tourism and practical advice for creating more inclusive hospitality offerings. Among the speakers were: IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella and VP-Communications LoAnn Halden; Keshav Suri, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group; Rudrani Chhetri, LGBTQIA+ Rights Activist and Founder, Mitr Trust; Don Heflin , Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, U.S. Embassy; Jonathan Heimer, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy; Tom Kiely, President/CEO, Visit West Hollywood; Elliott Ferguson, President/CEO, Destination DC; Fred Dixon, President/CEO, NYC & Company; as well as representatives from Lemon Tree Hotels, Serene Journeys, and The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group.

“We are delighted to partner with IGLTA for this first-ever symposium on expanding LGBTQ+ tourism,” said Keshav Suri, Executive Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. “It is a great opportunity to engage and explore the potential of pink tourism. As per World Bank data, the inclusion of an able and talented workforce from the LGBTQIA + community and the ‘Power of Pink Money’ can contribute up to 1.7% to the growth of Indian GDP. In order to achieve an egalitarian society, we as individuals and organizations must become the catalysts. As India spearheads the G20 forum this year, the theme is a reflection of our commitment towards inclusion for all: One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

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