Tourism HR Canada and the CGLCC, Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, have kicked off a national LGBT+ tourism development initiative, thanks to funding from the Government of Canada’s Canadian Experiences Fund.
The project supports Canadian tourism businesses as they ensure their operations are open and welcoming to all travellers and workers. This includes diversifying and expanding product and service offerings, with the option of extending seasons or creating new experiences.
Valued at US$200 billion, LGBT+ tourism is an opportunity for economic development with great potential for profitable, long-term products and services. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) states that LGBT+ travellers are recognized as travelling with greater frequency and with higher-than-average spending.
Earlier this month, the team hosted consultation sessions with LGBT+ community and tourism industry stakeholders in six cities: Halifax, Thunder Bay, Montreal, Toronto, Yellowknife, and Calgary.
Participants shared regional perspectives, experiences, needs, priorities, and opportunities around the community engagement, market development, and industry readiness necessary to develop, welcome, and grow the LGBT+ travel market in Canada.
Among the questions asked:
- Have you attended an inclusivity or diversity workshop or training? If so, how long ago?
- What are your perspectives or experiences with LGBT+ communities from staff, customer, and/or partnership perspectives?
- What language do you/your organization use to refer to the LGBT+ communities?
- What is your level of familiarity with various concepts inherent in the LGBT+ communities?
- Can you share an example of how the tourism industry collaborates with local LGBT+ organizations?
- To what extent does your workplace actively market to or seek out LGBT+ customers?
- How could inclusivity training or other tourism materials/programs support you in serving LGBT+ communities?
- Do you feel that your workplace is a positive space for LGBT+ staff? For LGBT+guests? What are some ways to create an LGBT+ positive space?
- What would be important for you and your colleagues to know to better understand the travel needs of LGBT+ people?
- How well do you and your colleagues understand the LGBT+ language?
The feedback gathered will anchor the content development for a national series of inclusion workshops and train-the-trainer workshops.