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Majority of LGBTQ+ travelers experience discrimination traveling, Booking.com finds

LGBTQ+ travelers continue to face challenges while on the go, with more than half of LGBTQ+ travelers reporting they have experienced discrimination while traveling, according to new research from Booking.com published Tuesday.

Arjan Dijk, chief marketing officer and senior vice president at Booking.com, emphasized the importance of the research and Booking.com’s mission to make travel easier for all.

“As a gay man, I unfortunately know firsthand the challenges that persist in many parts of the world, including sadly with travel alerts already being issued ahead of Pride events this year,” said Dijk.

In April and May, Booking.com surveyed 11,469 LGBTQ+ travelers across 27 countries and territories including the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan, among others. The respondents self-identified across sex, gender and sexual orientation demographics and had traveled for leisure in the last year.

Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed reported experiencing discrimination – a statistic that rose to 63% for travelers who said they have publicly shared their LGBTQ+ identity, the research found. The percentage ticked higher for those who traveled with a partner (64%) and increased even more for those who identify as an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights (68%).

Booking.com found that 55% of LGBTQ+ travelers expect some form of discrimination from fellow travelers, and 57% expect some form from locals. Fifty-one percent said “being LGBTQ+ has made them more insecure and self-conscious as a traveler.”

While challenges remain, LGBTQ+ travelers did report progress, with 73% noting rising inclusivity.

Respondents also opened up about challenges they face and measures they take while traveling. Travelers said they research destinations to factor into decision-making, pre-booking seats on planes and adopting alternate personas as a form of protection.

“I am incredibly inspired to see LGBTQ+ travelers resiliently embracing their lived experiences, both at home and during their trips,” said Dijk. “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.”

The research comes as part of Booking.com’s mission to “make it easier for everyone to experience the world,” the company said. In 2021, Booking.com launched its Travel Proud program which distributes free inclusive training initiatives to hospitality brands and also helps to provide solutions to help travelers to feel more welcomed.

Booking.com said more than 67,000 properties listed on Booking.com are now Travel Proud-certified in 133 countries and territories across the globe – up from 24,000 around this time last year. Those properties are recognized for inclusive hospitality on Booking.com with a Travel Proud badge.

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