PROUD Experiences 2020: LGBTQ+ travel sector doubled in size since year one
In just 3 editions PROUD Experiences, the event created by Reed Travel Exhibitions to focus on the LGBTQ+ travel sector, has established itself as the voice for international travel brands, destinations and experiences with a growth for 2020 of 100% since year one. Now double in size, with 80% of exhibitors confirmed more than 6 months in advance, there will be some 25 countries represented including Monaco, Philippines and India, with participants from boutique hotels such as Orania Berlin hotel, restaurant and bar to the well-established brands like cruise companies Seabourn and Crystal, Sea Dream, Uniworld and Virgin Voyages.
Simon Mayle, Event Director, said that the travel industry is behind this event. “The support and growth of PROUD Experiences mirror the WTO prediction that by 2020 there will be some 180 million LGBTQ+ tourists. Our event helps those involved to keep up with the news, the issues and the trends that are powering the growth of the sector. With 1/3 of this industry’s future business identifying as LGBTQ, it supports the fact that if the LGBTQ community were a nation it would be the 4th biggest economy in the world.”
New exhibitors are being added all the time, including a delegation of hotels and tourism boards from Cannes, France; Bangkok, Thailand; and Costa Smeralda, Italy as well as China, Iceland and Switzerland. Other brands coming for the first time are XO Private, West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board, Radisson Blu Hotel, and Maybourne. Companies returning – some for the third time – include Aman and Belmond.
“It’s not all business, and the masterclass sessions are a core component to PROUD Experiences.” Added Mayle.
“To ensure that everyone catches up with what has been debated and presented last year, we will kick off the education with a refresher session to get everyone at the show completely up to date.” Said Mayle.
Speakers including 2 Dads with Baggage and Andrea Richardson, Head of Multicultural Engagement at Hilton, will take a quick look at the issues, challenges and opportunities in the LGBTQ+ travel sector. Other masterclasses in the speaker programme include “This Time Last Year” – a thought-provoking exploration of what has happened, who has been impacted and what this means for the future. “Lessons from the Top” will explore cases studies from top travel brands and destinations on LGBTQ+ marketing best practices and topics that show how engaging with such a diverse community and maintaining loyalty will help businesses.
Ed Salvato, Editor of Man About World and a supporter of the event, said “We’re seeing some very interesting trends in lesbian travel. Out Adventures, one of the top tour operators for gay men, has launched a lesbian travel product in partnership with one of the best-known lesbian travel influencer, Meg Ten Eyck.” It seems that many destinations and tourism boards are starting to take inclusive hospitality very seriously. Ed continues “Fort Lauderdale, NYC Company and Discover Puerto Rico are on the leading edge of marketing to LGBTQ+ travellers having introduced LGBTQ+ sensitivity training and overall diversity and inclusion training to customer-facing hospitality providers among their partners.”
Whilst business, networking and education are the core of PROUD Experiences, there is also a hosted media program. Exhibitors have the opportunity to meet with and present their LGBTQ+ products and services to the press, speaking directly to their potential future guests through these publications and online channels.