LONDON - WTM 2013 - REPORT: The world's leading LGBT tourism trade association released new research at World Travel Market showing the annual spend on tourism by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will exceed USD$200 billion for the first time in 2014.
Out Now Business Class presented the latest findings from the world's largest LGBT market research study LGBT2020 at a special Masterclass on LGBT tourism trends at World Travel Market in London, the leading event for the global tourism industry.
The new LGBT2020 data showed that the top 20 markets for LGBT tourism now account for annual travel spending of USD$202 billion.
The largest spending markets were the USA (USD$56.5 billion) and Brazil (USD$25.3 billion).
Out Now Business Class also announced new affiliate relationships with ETOA (European Tour Operators Association) and GALTA (Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia).
ONBC and ETOA jointly released a new LGBT2020 Report on European Tourism showing the total value of spending on travel by LGBT Europeans will next year account for USD$66.1 billion of total tourism spending.
Also presenting during today's LGBT Masterclass presented by ONBC at WTM were Polo Sanchez-Valle Ortega from the Mexico Tourism Board, Jay Munro Michell of ETOA, Richard Gray of Fort Lauderdale CVB and Darren Cooper of Out Now Global.
The CEO of Out Now Global, Ian Johnson, also announced today that ONBC is now the largest global LGBT tourism trade organisation of its type.
"Out Now always works very hard to deliver the best from all our work, so for us the successful launch of the Out Now Business Class tourism trade association for the industry has been really important," Johnson said. "ONBC is not only delivering unequalled levels of education, networking and research to members, we are pleased the industry has understood the many benefits we are hard-wiring into the ONBC system to help businesses do better in their LGBT marketing and that sees our membership now exceed 2,300 members worldwide. That makes Out Now Business Class by far the largest LGBT tourism networking association in the world."
Johnson explained that those organisations training staff in the ONBC system as an included part of their membership become eligible to become certified on the new OutNow.travel www.OutNow.travel consumer website which is backed by many of the world's leading LGBT media providers.
Johnson also said the results presented during the ONBC Masterclass at WTM today had much to keep the industry thinking on about how to best understand and meet the needs of the global LGBT travel market.
"It is great that the value of LGBT tourism spending now exceeds USD$202 billion but there are still many challenges the industry needs to address," Johnson said. "Staff training is essential to help get staff up to speed with what has become an unstoppable LGBT consumer revolution for the travel industry. We are obviously pleased that all ONBC members now receive unlimited online staff training to help deliver better understanding and customer service to LGBT guests."
Johnson also pointed out that the acronym LGBT may soon be replaced by the more inclusive LGBTI - recognising an increasing awareness of Intersex issues in society. "Intersex people are becoming more visible and their unique issues are slowly becoming better understood," Johnson said. "In a number of markets in which Out Now works the acronym LGBT is now routinely being superseded by LGBTI and the global tourism industry definitely needs more education on what being Intersex means."