British LGBTQ+ travellers ‘facing increasing discrimination’ abroad

As many as 67% of British LGBTQ+ travellers have suffered from discrimination abroad in the past year – up from 55% in 2023 – as the community continues to face significant challenges, new research found.

The proportion rose to 68% of those who consider themselves an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and change.

Nearly two thirds (64%) of those who have a partner said they faced these experiences over the past year.

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LGBTQ+ travellers expect some form of discriminatory behaviour from both their fellow travellers (61%) and locals at their chosen destinations (62%).  

In parallel, 60% agree that being LGBTQ+ has made them more insecure and self-conscious when abroad.

Almost half (48%) of respondents cancelled a trip after seeing a destination was unsupportive of LGBTQ+ people.

However, 63% have booked a trip in the past 12 months to a destination seen as supportive of residents who identify as LGBTQ+.

More than 1,000 people from the UK were included in the annual poll of almost 11,500 LGBTQ+ travellers from 27 countries.

Nearly three in four (70%) LGBTQ+ travellers from the UK said that being able to be their authentic self on their trip is the most important factor when choosing a destination, higher than the global average (63%). 

Accommodation that fits their budget is the second biggest concern (68%), likely reflective of the current economic uncertainties affecting people across the country.

Nearly one in three (27%) have had a negative experience with a fellow flight passenger directly related to their identity, while 36% expressed apprehension at the idea of being seated next to a stranger in fear of their reaction or behaviour towards them as an LGBTQ+ individual.

Almost half (45%) of LGBTQ+ travellers say that they modify aspects of their appearance and behaviour to avoid potential discrimination or unwanted attention, while half have created an alter-ego to navigate different environments when travelling. 

The main reason for travellers in creating an alter-ego was to protect themselves and feel safe (43%), with one in three (31%) doing so to adapt to cultural sensitivities that may exist at a destination.

Despite this, LGBTQ+ travellers are taking control of their trips more than ever before to safely navigate different challenges and to find the best experiences, according to the study.

They recognise progress within the travel industry, with 78% saying increased inclusivity has made them feel more comfortable when travelling.

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

The survey found that 85% of LGBTQ+ travellers feel comfortable when arriving to check in at their accommodation, 82% when having correspondence with accommodation hosts and airlines and 84% when interacting with staff such as tour guides, flight attendants and taxi drivers. 

Additionally, when asked what features LGBTQ+ travellers would like to see from travel companies to improve their future travel experiences, 31% referenced filters that would facilitate identifying properties that offer a welcoming experience.

Arjan Dijk, chief marketing officer  and senior vice president at said “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+ travellers resiliently embracing their lived experiences, both at home and during their trips. 

“While real and tangible progress is being made, we must remain vigilant and do our part to make it truly easier for everyone to Travel Proud.”

Meanwhile, research for Sustainable Journeys found that that the LGBTQ+ community is leading the way in supporting sustainable tourism.

LGBT+ travellers show increased care and consideration for sustainable causes and tend to travel to destinations more socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.

They specifically seek out progressive, socially, and economically responsible travel options, with top destinations including Copenhagen, Dublin and Malta which prioritise inclusivity and equality.

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