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South East Asia’s First International Lgbt+ Tourism Symposium Kicks Off in Under a Month

June 13, 2018 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

The landmark LGBT+ Travel Symposium: Thailand takes place 29-30th June 2018

Bangkok, Thailand, June 2018: The LGBT+ Travel Symposium: Thailand, the region’s first travel symposium about the valuable gay and lesbian travel market kicks off on Friday 29th June at SO Sofitel Bangkok. The landmark symposium is an educational and networking event, with the aim to educate the Thai travel trade on best practices in sales, marketing and operations – and how to best reach the LGBT+ market worldwide.

In partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, plus its regional offices in 8 countries, The LGBT+ Travel Symposium will bring in international VIPS – 35 of the world’s leading LGBT+ VIP buyers and 20 LGBT+ media and influencers into Bangkok for the event. These VIPs are hand-selected by TAT offices and will come from the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Brazil, Israel, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Japan and South East Asia, providing an unrivalled opportunity for the Thai travel trade to meet the top buyers and influencers in the segment all in one place.

The symposium will run over 2 consecutive days, the first a full-day seminar featuring speakers and panelists that are among the world’s leading authorities on LGBT+ travel, including keynote speaker Dr. Mario Hardy from PATA and Thai celebrity and media mogul, Khun Tay Kaljareuk. The event will be officially opened by Khun Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, demonstrating the organisation’s forward-thinking stance on inclusion and diversity in tourism. Delegates will walk away with top tips on how to better attract, service and retain guests from this profitable segment, plus take advantage of the networking opportunities with the event’s VIPs.

The second day will match the international VIPs with 30 Thai travel providers looking to develop products that will attract LGBT+ travellers, in intensive one to one meetings.

“This inaugural event will not just promote diversity and inclusion among the Thai travel industry, but forge strong, new, unique, commercial and reputational links – through educational, networking and business opportunities – between Thailand’s travel providers and the rest of the world,” says Khun Srisuda Wanapinyosak, the Deputy Governor of International Marketing for EMEA and the Americas for the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The LGBT+ travel segment was worth US$192Billion in 2016 and continues to grow at a rate of 8% per year. This is 40% more than that of the travel spend of a country like Germany (among one of Thailand’s largest inbound markets). LGBT+ travellers spend 55% more per arrival than the average traveller. This community, said to consist of just 6-10% of the global population delivers close to 20% of the global value.

“Thailand’s tolerant and welcoming people and culture, beautiful nature and world class tourism products has long made it a popular destination among gay and lesbian travellers with high disposable incomes across the world. But with great leaps forward in the global acceptance of LGBT+ people, not to mention same-sex marriages becoming the norm, there is a real opportunity for the country to capitalize on its position as one of the world’s top destinations of choice, not just for the LGBT+ market, but for their friends and family too; delivering fantastic volume and economic value from tourism and solidifying its reputation as Asia’s most liberal travel destination,” says Uwern Jong, Editor-in-Chief of luxury travel magazine for gay people, ‘OutThere’ and LGBT+ Travel Ambassador for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who is also spearheading the event.

Recent research shows that 60% of LGBT+ people are more likely to buy from brands that actively market to the community and this message resonates with heterosexual consumers too, with 37% of straight travellers feeling positive about destinations that promote diversity and inclusion.
In the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s recent launch of its ‘Open to the New Shades’ campaign, a rainbow-coloured variant of the campaign logo was created for use on its outreach to the LGBT+ community. The TAT recently took centre stage as a headliner at the Pink Pavilion, the LGBT+ travel showcase at ITB Berlin. It was also awarded a pioneer award at last year’s International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association convention in the United States.

The event is co-sponsored by the SO Sofitel Bangkok, a long-time LGBT+ favourite, who will be hosting the symposium. It has also garnered the support of the property’s parent company, ACCOR, whose Asia Pacific office is also behind the event, leading with their new inclusive ‘Feel Welcome’ campaign.

Other major supporters and sponsors include hotels and experiences brands Belmond, The Peninsula Bangkok, The Siam and Sukosol Group; and the gay-owned Supanniga Group that run top end Bangkok restaurants and a river cruise.

Platinum tickets for both days of the event are available to companies with interests in Thailand, whereas one day symposium tickets are available to all and can be sourced at www.LGBTtravelsymposium.com

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