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Statement on behalf of human rights

© Toni Reed

Managers at ITB Berlin NOW call for open LGBT+-friendliness

There are two reasons why the worldwide LGBT+ community will be able to breathe more easily following the pandemic: Tourism suppliers will be expected to make use of a new openness in this respect, to openly acknowledge this group of people, and thus to embrace human rights as well, suggested the participants in the round table at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention.

Along with the possibility of being able to travel again in a few months, the second reason that gives grounds for hope is the situation in the United States. There, following the presidential election, the renunciation of homophobia has become part of the political programme, it was stated by John Tanzella, president of the international association for LGBT+ travel, IGLTA. He has expressed the hope that the new government will continue to work to establish a basis for worldwide travel by lesbian, gay, trans- and bisexual people. Tanzella has also seen a new mood in Brazil for greater tolerance and a more liberal attitude. At the same time he rejects calling for a boycott of the 70 or so countries where homosexuality or transsexuality is taboo or even a punishable offence. This would not help those who live there.

In a greeting to ITB Berlin NOW the Spanish minister of tourism, María Reyes Maroto Illera, defined her country as emphatically open-minded and inclusive. Spain is not only a “leader in terms of sun and sand” but is also a standard-bearer for an inclusive world, in which everyone is free to share in social life. Arturo Ordiz Arduan, director of the Spanish Tourism Office in Berlin, drew attention to Spain’s tradition in this respect, when Torremolinos was renowned as a hotspot for gay tourism even back in the 1960s.

Many countries, including Germany, now offer seals of quality for LGBT+-friendly tourism providers. The LGBT+ representative of Messe Berlin, Rika Jean-Francois, called for these to be used more widely, while Philip Ibrahim of Pink Pillow, drew attention to Berlin’s LGBT+-friendly hotels. This is a powerful acknowledgment of human rights and equal rights which should also apply to travel as a whole, an area where there is a tendency to voluntarily be a minority.

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