Kolkata: Thanks to Indian gay-tour operators, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community across the world is vying for India as the ultimate 'pink' tourist destination. "LGBT tourists want the same things as any traveller: to feel safe and welcome. India is becoming more popular with gay travellers since the high court decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. Feeling welcome is not only a reference to local hospitality, but also to larger issues of governmental rights," said John Tanzella, president and CEO of International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), which has a presence in 83 countries.
Pink tourism caters exclusively to the LGBT community and the new age pink tour operators are unique in that they try to make gay travellers feel welcome in an unknown land and also bridge the gap between them and the locals. "An LGBT company caters to gay travellers, so their tour packages will often include gay nightlife or interactions with local gay business people," Tanzella told IANS.
The biggest difference between normal and gay-friendly tour operators, according to Bhuvan Mehta of Pink Escapes, is, "Pink tour operators can anticipate the requirements of gay travellers better, compared to normal tour operators." "Being from the community or having LGBT people manage the clients is the main and biggest difference, as they can understand the market and clients better," elaborates Mehta of the Delhi-based company.
The prime concerns of the travellers are safety and a discrimination-free trip, which the operators ensure through extensive networking.
12:08 PM, Nov 22, 2012