Out Now Business Class (ONBC) this week hosted a masterclass at the World Travel Market at London’s ExCel Centre.
The class, led by Out Now’s founder Ian Johnson, explored the question of whether LGBT people constitute a market of their own in the global tourism industry, where those communities have historically been considered a niche.
Mr Johnson spoke of the importance of having corporate understanding of the LGBT market before embarking on a campaign, with special emphasis on a top-down approach.
Discussing the $202 billion + international LGBT tourism industry was British-born Richard Gray of Greater Fort Lauderdale. He has been hailed as a market leader in LGBT tourism since he became known for putting Greater Fort Lauderdale on the map as a leading LGBT destination twenty years ago.
Speaking on behalf of the Mexico Tourism Board was Polo Sanchez-Valle Ortega. He went over a brief history of Mexico’s rapid moves towards equality, including equal marriage rights in Mexico City, Quintana Roo, and in Colima.
The comparison between the longer-term changes seen at the tourism industry in Greater Fort Lauderdale compared to the shorter-term changes in Mexico provided a stark contrast, and a wealth of information.
Jay Munro-Michell of ETOA, the European Tour Operators Association, was also present to speak at the masterclass.
Wednesday’s session was the seventh year in a row ONBC hosted the masterclass, which aims to allow ONBC members, and non-members, keep up to date with the LGBT tourism agenda for the year ahead.
ONBC also provided the official LGBT Village at the World Travel Market in ExCel from 4-7 November, where traders and buyers from around the world came to get information on moving forward with the LGBT market in mind.