Vietnamese operator eyes gays and lesbians

HANOI-based Luxury Travel Vietnam is strengthening marketing activities to draw more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travellers, and will be promoting the country as an emerging destination for this market at ITB Berlin next month.

The tour operator launched initiatives to woo the affluent gay and lesbian market last year (TTG Asia, September 3-9, 2010).

Sales and marketing manager David Nguyen said: “Thailand is a well-established destination for LGBT travellers…(but) quietly, Vietnam has become a popular niche market for gay tourists.”

Asian Trails Vietnam managing director Bui Viet Thuy Tien said LGBT visitor numbers had been increasing in South-east Asia, though there was a common misperception that the market looked for specific products.

As DINKs (double income, no kids), many LGBT travellers would fit comfortably in the upmarket segment where privacy was as important as luxury and pampering in a holiday, she said.

ICS Travel Vietnam country manager Marc de Swart, however, was unsure if locals were ready for such tourists. He said being gay might be accepted in Thailand and in southern Vietnam, but this was still frowned upon in central and northern Vietnam.

By Luat Tran

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