Navigating Discrimination, 92% Of Indian LGBTQ+ Travellers Choose Inclusive Destinations, Says Report

Research unveils strategies and the evolving role of the travel industry in fostering inclusivity.

by Mallika Khurana
Navigating Discrimination, 92% Of Indian LGBTQ+ Travellers Choose Inclusive Destinations, Says Report

Imagine navigating the world as an LGBTQ+ traveller from India—where each journey is not just about exploring new places, but also about navigating barriers of discrimination and uncertainty. Booking.com’s latest research dives deep into this reality, revealing how Indian LGBTQ+ travellers are not just coping, but asserting control over their travel experiences. The findings reveal a narrative of resilience and resourcefulness, where every journey becomes a statement of identity and empowerment.

A Reality Check From LGBTQ+ Travellers

queer travel
Photo Credits: Canva

From the outset, the research paints a stark picture: a staggering 92% of Indian LGBTQ+ travellers have encountered discrimination while on the road. Whether from fellow travellers or locals at their destination, these experiences have left an indelible mark on their travel choices. Shockingly, 70% have even cancelled trips due to perceived hostility towards LGBTQ+ individuals.

Despite these challenges, LGBTQ+ travellers are rewriting the travel rulebook. More than just booking flights and hotels, their decisions are driven by a dual quest: budget-friendly accommodations and spaces where they can authentically express themselves. A resounding 75% prioritise being true to themselves over mere logistics when picking their next getaway. 

The journey begins long before the touchdown. Over 63% of LGBTQ+ travellers report uncomfortable encounters on flights due to their identity. Fear of discrimination from fellow passengers compels many to meticulously plan their seating arrangements, with 78% opting to preselect seats to minimise potential conflict.

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Industry Allies And Inclusive Spaces

Booking.com
Photo Credits: Canva

Amidst these challenges, the travel industry is a beacon of hope. Recognising the need for change, 77% of LGBTQ+ travellers acknowledge improvements in inclusivity, particularly in accommodations and airlines. Programs like Booking.com’s Travel Proud initiative provide hospitality training to foster LGBTQ+ acceptance. It has paved the way for over 67,000 certified properties worldwide.

As the travel landscape evolves, so too must its players. While progress is evident, with 86% feeling comfortable interacting with hospitality professionals, there’s a resounding call for more inclusive policies and practices. 

In the words of Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com, “I am inspired to see LGBTQ+ travellers taking ownership of their lived experiences… It’s encouraging to see the supporting role our industry can play here.” 

This research not only uncovers the challenges faced by Indian LGBTQ+ travellers but also celebrates their resilience in forging paths where they can truly belong. 

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva