(Blade) The LGBTQ travel industry continues its rapid global growth, but “travelling while gay” can still be a risky prospect in many parts of the world.
To help gay travellers make the smartest and safest decisions when planning their international holidays, mainstream travel site Trip.com has added LGBTQ travel safety info to the landing pages of many of its most popular destinations.
Trip.com began collecting destination-based input from real-world travellers via an LGBTQ travel safety survey earlier this year, the information it has now honed into LGBTQ safety boxes for its most popular destinations. 20 countries have been included in the feature’s initial rollout, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, Australia, South Africa and Thailand.
The new feature echoes another recently added Trip.com safety element, offering travel tips for solo female travellers. Both features are prominently displayed alongside the basic “Why Go” and “When to Go” headings on the site’s individual country landing pages.
For LGBTQ Tips, each nation is given a total rating on a 10-point safety scale, with additional supporting feedback gleaned from actual traveller comments shown in a Zagat-type format.
In Spain, for example, the feedback reads in part: “Spain is fairly liberal, but ‘PDA … got a few stares and dirty looks’ and ‘in the gay district in Barcelona there are guys acting like they are gays and stealing wallets and phones when they come close to dance.’”
South Africa’s feedback, meanwhile, advises that LGBTQ travellers “felt ‘safer in bigger cities,’ but ‘in smaller towns and villages, especially traditional Zulu areas, keep your sexuality to yourself to avoid trouble.’”
Trip.com unveiled its new LGBTQ travel safety feature at the same time it announced its latest LGBTQ Rising Star Destinations, places that have seen the largest traffic growth on the site over the past year. Puerto Rico topped the Rising Star list, followed by Mexico City, Vienna, Singapore and Nashville in the top 5. Rounding out the top 10 were Buenos Aires, Bali, Bangkok, Montreal and Poland.
“There are a few surprises on this year’s list, most notably Poland and Singapore,” says Trip.com CEO and co-founder Travis Katz. “Although travellers should certainly keep cultural norms and laws in mind when visiting, the appeal of both countries proved strong for our LGBTQ Tribe, who reported that the historical sights, great food, and interaction with locals made their trips worthwhile.”
The Rising Star list rankings were based on the number of reviews from unique travellers visiting each destination; the number of people booking trips on the site for those destinations; and traveller recommendations of the destinations to Trip.com’s LGBTQ Tribe.
Trip.com also revealed the latest version of its Top LGBTQ Destinations of All Time list, which this year was topped by Miami Beach, Vancouver, Hawaii, Amsterdam and Lisbon.