Travel waves the Rainbow Flag once again, but could it be doing more?
Siren was at the TTG LGBT Conference this week, the latest step in the development of an important discussion within the travel industry in which I had the privilege of being involved at the initiation (in another life, I was at the founding of the TTG LGBT Network).
There was, as we’ve come to expect, a cascade of inspiring, moving stories from individuals who have had to fight to be accepted or recognised, and updates from organisations which have committed themselves to embracing the LGBT community (including a number of Siren’s clients). And as London Pride comes in to view, the number of businesses and brands openly adopting (some might say co-opting) the Rainbow Flag in support around the capital is telling.
Alongside these signs of progress, and all of the talk of authenticity, however, there was still plenty of signs that the industry can do more – from genuinely making workplaces inclusive, to leveraging its influence as an engine of prosperity and jobs for destinations to make them move their political and social dial. I was shocked by some of the data shared by Stonewall UK about how many people still don’t feel safe coming out at work, or how few same sex couples are comfortable holding hands on holiday. It just emphasised that there is a long road still to travel.
Our industry is proud of it’s inclusiveness and likes to display it. But I can’t help sometimes feeling it exists in a bit of a bubble, busy selling dreams and an Insta-worthy, antiseptic view of the world. Some of that energy spent on congratulating ourselves could be directed to actually effecting real, material change for the better.