ITB Berlin’s LGBT pavilion this year has gotten bigger and more diverse, with several Asian exhibitors expressing appreciation for a platform with which to raise awareness about LGBT-friendly destinations in the region.
“We’re trying to promote the whole of Japan as a LGBT-friendly destination, not just Kyoto,” said Shiho Ikeuchi, director, executive guest services/operations, Hotel Granvia Kyoto.
“We have been participating in ITB Berlin for five years. Back then (Japan) only had four members in IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association). We now have 32 Japan members – and the number is growing,” she noted.
Ikeuchi shared that Hotel Granvia Kyoto has registered “a big increase” in the number of LGBT guests since it introduced events, such as weddings, catered to this niche segment.
Taking part at the LGBT pavilion for the first time this year was the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which has long been an active proponent of LGBT travel and is now raising awareness for the “openness and diversity” of the destination, said Chad Intrachooto, marketing executive, project & campaign (New York & Canada).
“I believe that the LGBT travel community knows of Thailand and have probably already travelled there before, but they may not know that we are an active supporter of the industry. Now they know how safe it is to travel to Thailand,” explained Chad.
He expressed confidence that more Asian members joining IGLTA will spur even greater awareness and diversity of LGBT products in the region.