Rika Jean-François, CSR Officer ITB Berlin, said at the LGBT+ seminar held at the ITB Berlin Convention that the statement by the Malaysian Minister of Tourism at the start of the trade show in which he denied homosexuality in his country has given her a headache. “However, we have decided as a trade show not to boycott this stance, but instead to discuss it,” emphasised Jean-François.
Participants in the panel discussion included Stephan Gellrich, head of the Pride at Accenture LGBT+ network in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Russia, LoAnn Halden, Vice President of Communications for ILGBT+A, Helmut Metzner, Executive Board of LSBD Deutschland, ethnologist Theresa Quiachon of Löning-Human Rights & Responsible Business, and Michael Kajubi, who founded the first LGBT+-friendly tour operator in Uganda with McBern Tours and Travel. After years of discrimination in Uganda, today he is contacted by other operators that want to become LGBT+-friendly as well – “because they see that I am earning money with my concept.”
Metzner gave his speaking time to an asylum-seeking transgender man from Malaysia whose report belied the Malaysian Minister of Tourism: “I lost my job, I was no longer able to use the lavatory because I was turned away from both options. Open interaction as a non-heterosexual is not possible in Malaysia.”
The ITB LGBT+ Pioneer Award was then given to Kristin Hansen Di Santo, CEO and founder of Hansen & Partner, Ella Travel. Di Santo, homosexual herself, said: “We exist – everywhere.”