We have always felt that including every human being regardless of their background is the natural thing to do, especially if they bring new perspectives into our community. Pride month 2021 has given us some pause for thought that we want to share with you all .
Blind Experiences is looking at two areas in which we think we could improve our diversity and inclusion commitments.
Blind Experiences supports the work of the IGLTA, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association and we are aiming to become members ourselves as soon as the current Covid issues allow us all to travel freely again.
Meanwhile we are allies of this organisation which was founded in 1983 and is the world's leading network of LGBTQIA+ welcoming tourism businesses. IGLTA provide’s free travel resources and information - most famously a global map outlining attitudes to and safety of LGBTQIA+ travellers. IGLTA also continuously working to promote equality and safety within LGBTQIA+ tourism worldwide.
2. Inclusivity policy
It’s always been second nature to us to be inclusive! Maybe it’s because we are global travellers and enjoy experiencing other ways of living than our own? But we now realise that it’s not enough just to know that’s the way Blind Experiences operates - we need to show it and shout it from the rooftops! So we are devising our own Inclusion Policy and will publish it on our website soon.
Sustainability and the future of our beautiful planet is really important to Blind Experiences and we are really happy to see the many LGBTQIA+ organisations campaigning for climate action:
1. Out for Sustainability. For more than a decade, O4S has brought LGTBQ+ voices to the center of the movement. The organization sponsors service projects, summits, and events in regions across North America.
2. Queers x Climate. QXC supports LGBTQ+ activists working to solve the climate crisis. From communications work to litigation, QXC works to harness the ingenuity of LGBTQ+ activists for the climate movement.
3. Our Climate Voices. At its core, the climate crisis is about the people it impacts.
4. Queer Nature. Campaigning for the environment to be accessible to all,
5. Queer Eco Project. Aims to build a movement of queer folks impacted by the climate crisis and environmental injustice, and queer climate and environmental activists.
6. The Venture Out Project. The LGBTQ+ community deserves safe access to enjoy the great outdoors – and the Venture Out Project is making that happen.
Another area we are very interested in is LGBTQIA+ family travel:
LGBTQIA+ is a fast evolving marketplace - There’s not a one size fits all LGBTQIA+ holiday, in fact the sector is segmenting into many communities with different travel needs. In the high-end travel market LGBTQIA+ family travel is really expanding.
According to Billy Kolber, founder of LGBTQ+ training and education service HospitableMe, when it comes to planning a trip, LGBTQ+ parents’ main decisions around travel are driven by their kids and what the kids want to do. He says, “The second consideration is, is the destination or hotel or experience welcoming and friendly for my family? This is both relevant for gay and lesbian couples with kids, and it's also relevant for heterosexual, cisgender couples with queer kids and particularly gender-nonconforming or gender-nonbinary kids."
Many LGBTQ+ families report struggling to find information about hotels and destinations that is relevant to them and so they’re turning to recommendations from friends and family or LGBTQ+ dedicated travel blogs and influencers.
One such influencer is Jon Bailey, founder of LGBTQ+ family travel blog 2 Dads With Baggage, He thinks that although travel brands are helping to “normalise” the idea of same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ families across the globe, he still finds it frustrating that not all destinations and brands have inclusive messaging, and many don’t provide any information at all about whether they’re LGBTQ+ friendly.
This information gap can account for a great deal of brand loyalty amongst the LGBTQ+ trave; community. According to Community Marketing & Insights' 2019 LGBTQ Tourism & Hospitality Survey, 69% of travelers said they tend to stay at hotels they know are LGBTQ-welcoming, and they also want to know whether a hotel or brand has sexual orientation non-discrimination policies or provides LGBTQ diversity training to staff.
So the message to travel brands is clear if they want to appeal to the growing LGBTQ+ family travel market:
*Provide more information on what you offer the LGBTQ+ community
*Gain trust amongst the LGBTQ+ blogging and reviews community
*Have inclusion policies in place and make sure they are visible.
The joy of Blind Experiences surprise travel is for everyone!