Further Afield, Stonewall and the importance of Inclusive travel
We’re incredibly pleased to be able to announce that as of February 1st 2018, 2% of the annual subscriptions we receive from our member properties will be donated to Stonewall. Their belief in and work towards an inclusive and welcoming society mirrors our beliefs at Further Afield – beliefs shared by each of our members. Our support will go towards helping continue Stonewall’s work to ensure no one is isolated from society.
As that relationship begins, we also hear from Craig Crowther of travel site My Gay Globe on the continued importance of pushing inclusivity and acceptance for all within the travel industry. Over to Craig…
Why do we need inclusive travel providers?
Stories of tumultuous travel experiences are all too frequent. Stories of delayed flights, dodgy buffets and lost luggage are told ubiquitously at dinner parties around the world. While inconvenient, these frustrating encounters turn into humorous anecdotes but for those who identify as gay, transgender or in any way don’t identify with the draconian idea of what some consider ‘normal’, travel nightmares can run much deeper. Despite the world seemingly moving towards greater tolerance and equal rights for all, prejudice still exists, even among the most developed and progressive countries.
What does inclusive travel really mean?
The concept of inclusive travel is working to eliminate the potential discrimination that travellers encounter. The concept is a simple one: to provide people with travel services which have been vetted and approved to ensure their compatibility with the values that should, but are not, practiced by everybody in 2018. It’s not just about the LGBTQ community, but also about trying to cater for the needs of all areas of society, including those less physically able.
For many years there have been agencies looking to cater to a specific demographic of the market, but this notion of inclusive travel – serving anybody that might be looking for a warm welcome – is something quite new, and to me delightfully refreshing.
Inclusive travel also avoids being designated a particular type of holiday. It aims to offer options for solo travellers, groups of friends, couples and families. In this sense it’s very different from other types of demographically tailored travel. For instance, gay travel companies often focus on hotels and trips intended for young gay men. It’s unlikely that any gay parents would want to book the traditional gay hotel in Gran Canaria.
The future looks inclusive
Whilst it might be impossible to raise the standards of every bar, restaurant and leisure facility, having a hotel or apartment where you can feel safe and free from judgment is an incredibly valuable asset when travelling to a foreign country, or even within your own. This idea of a metaphorical safe space for those who might feel vulnerable isn’t the only benefit – those looking to support businesses that align with their own values can be sure that their money is going somewhere they feel is deserving of it.
This notion of corporate responsibility is an ever-expanding market and the idea of green and sustainable travel has been around for some time now. This extension into inclusive travel seems a logical next step in that it seeks to consider its customers as well as the environment. Inclusive travel will also, hopefully, highlight the commercial and social appetite for hotels and other travel services to up their game, and rather than simply box-ticking legal requirements, be encouraged to offer a space that genuinely welcomes and supports all travellers.