One in three LGBT travellers have experienced discrimination on vacation.
According to a new survey, 37% of LGBT travellers experienced some form of discrimination while on vacation, while 6% said they experienced a threat of physical violence over their sexuality.
The findings comes as part of Virgin Holiday’s new Lose The Labels campaign, which sees the company commit to becoming one of the most LGBT-friendly travel operators over the next three years.
They found that 63% of LGBT citizens would refuse to travel somewhere that had an unwelcoming attitude to LGBT people, and that 23% change the way they act to try and hide their sexuality while traveling.
Alarmingly, a majority (80%) of respondents said that the travel industry doesn’t do enough to inform the LGBT community about local laws prior to departure.
Sir Richard Branson, CEO at Virgin, said: “We believe everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to be whoever they are, wherever they are.
“That’s why it is shocking that in today’s society some of us can’t even enjoy a simple holiday without fear of discrimination. It’s fantastic that Virgin Holidays are raising awareness around this important issue.”
Virgin Holidays will join forces with LGBT charity Stonewall to ensure that proper advice and support is given and that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of staff feel comfortable being themselves.
They will also work with partners in regions that have hostile attitudes towards the LGBT community, such as the Caribbean, to encourage them to become more inclusive and welcoming.
Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall, said: “It’s difficult for travel companies to negotiate the ever-changing landscape around global LGBT equality. Travel companies should be doing everything they can to keep their staff and customers safe when travelling anywhere in the world.
“We would love to see others join forces with Virgin Holidays and work towards a world where lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel able to travel freely without fear of discrimination, and are accepted without exception.”