Online travel agency Booking.com has been announced as the headline sponsor for Manchester Pride to demonstrate its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.
It is the second year running that the OTA has been a sponsor of the event which will take place from August 25-28.
The OTA will lead the parade on August 26 with a travel-themed float and more than 100 employees from Booking.com’s new Manchester-based UK headquarters.
The sponsorship is an extension of the company’s ‘Travel Proud’ programme, launched in 2021 to provide free hospitality training to accommodation providers to help them better understand the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ travellers and offer more welcoming and inclusive travel experiences.
Research from Booking.com among more than 11,500 LGBTQ+ travellers around the world found that many still face enormous challenges.
Almost four in five (79%) of UK LGBTQ+ travellers say they must consider their safety and wellbeing when picking a destination – up from 61% in 2022.
Arjan Dijk, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Booking.com, said: “We believe that everyone should be able to experience the world as themselves.
“Our sponsorship of this important charity and the essential work they do to ensure LGBTQ+ people are free to live and love in a world without prejudice, aligns with our own commitment to enabling truly inclusive travel experiences in even more places around the world.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work that Booking.com is doing to raise awareness of the challenges LGBTQ+ travellers face and to ultimately tackle some of the barriers that exist to create an environment where everyone can flourish and thrive.”
Mark Fletcher, chief executive at Manchester Pride, added: “It’s so exciting to welcome Booking.com as our headline partner for the Manchester Pride Festival. The support they give us helps to keep the charity and our events flourishing.
“They understand the additional challenges queer people face when travelling both here and around the globe.”
More than 35,000 properties globally, including more than 2,100 in the UK, are recognised for their inclusive hospitality efforts with a Travel Proud badge on Booking.com.
Booking.com recently invested £80 million into a new Manchester global headquarters for its transport division as part of its commitment to the city. It is the company’s second biggest office in the world and currently has more than 1,400 staff.