The largest international B2B event dedicated to LGBTQ+ travel and leisure – PROUD Experiences (www.proudexperiences.com) – has been launched by Reed Travel Exhibitions and will take place in London from 6-8 June this year.
International in flavour and curated to bring buyers and suppliers of travel experiences together through a pre-scheduled appointment system, this event will put the spotlight on a market that now deserves its own attention.
Recognizing the commercial and unique value of networking in such an intimate setting, some of the world’s top travel brands have been quick to sign up including: AVRA Tours, Belmond, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, Corinthia London, The Curtain, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, ME by Melia, The Muse Collection, Nobu Shoreditch, One Fine Stay, Peninsula Hotels, Principal Hotels, SET Hotels, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Soneva, Visit Malta and the region of Valencia.
International buyers focused on booking travel for their LGBTQ+ clients will be attending from all over the world with agencies such as Zoom Vacations, Out of Office, Frosch, PhD Travel, Bon Vivant and Superviagem confirmed to attend.
The LGBTQ+ travel industry is both economically significant and resilient, with many studies showing that even in times of downturns the gay community still spends money on their holidays and travel in general.
Show Director Gareth Baguley said that as the world’s biggest creator of travel industry events and exhibitions, they were not surprised when research confirmed that it’s time to pay attention to LGBTQ+ markets as they grow exponentially every year. Developing this first event which will take place in London, PROUD Experiences will bring out the issues, opportunities, solutions and debates that surround this demanding sector.
Dealing with the attitudes, challenges, and opinions that face same-sex couples and bisexual/transgender travellers will be at the heart of a Master Class series of workshops, presentations and debates. Led by some of the industry’s leading voices, and representatives of the LGBTQ+ travel community every session will be open to buyers and suppliers to participate in and contribute to throughout the event.
Some of the themes being addressed this year include: a look at the contradiction that is the Asian LGBTQ+ market asking the question: how open for business is it – particularly now the Gay Games has been announced to be taking place in Hong Kong in 2020; the business case for Pride and the growing number of Circuit parties asking the question are they driving up the numbers LGTBQ travellers; servicing the LGTBQ customer with insights from some of the best travel brands who have excelled in this area; lessons on marketing to LGTBQ customers from brands outside of the travel industry; transgender travel and a look at the emerging markets and new travel products aimed at the sector.
The programme of speakers that will soon be announced will represent key sectors that operate in the LGBTQ+ sector including destinations cruise companies, media, travel buyers and marketing experts. These industry leaders will cover the key LGBTQ+ essentials, shining a light on the latest trends that are driving the growth of the sector that is now valued over $211 billion.
London’s top venues, hotels and clubs will all contribute to the welcome for PROUD Experiences, whilst the area around the Saatchi Gallery known as Duke of York Square will also join in. The Saatchi Gallery is the world’s No.1 Museum on social media and provides an “innovative forum for contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists and those whose work has rarely or never exhibited in the UK” – a great location for this first-time event.
Baguley added, that he hopes this show will break down the barriers that sometimes make it difficult to ask those all important questions about LGBTQ+ travel. By bringing the world’s biggest tourism brands, destinations, products and services together with highly qualified buyers from the biggest source markets around the world – not only do they plan to provide an environment to do great business but to help this burgeoning industry mature even in the future.