Virgin Holidays today published findings from its travel report about the issues faced worldwide by LGBT travellers.

The Virgin Holidays study reveals that more than one in three LGBT travellers have experienced some form of discrimination whilst on holiday – with six per cent experiencing a threat of physical violence due to their sexuality.

Virgin Holidays is committed to addressing the issues faced by travellers in the LGBT community and will be staging a LGBT equalities conference – in conjunction with international tourism partners – to encourage partners in conservative regions, such as the Caribbean, to adopt more LGBT-friendly policies.

Virgin Unite, Virgin Holidays, Equal Rights, LGBT, Richard Branson

Richard Branson, lifelong advocate and active campaigner for LGBT rights, said the following about the report's shocking findings: “At Virgin Holidays, we believe everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to be whoever they are, wherever they are. That’s why it is shocking that in today’s society some of us can’t even enjoy a simple holiday without fear of discrimination. It’s fantastic that Virgin Holidays are doing their bit to raise awareness around this important issue.” Head over to Richard’s blog to read more.

Further findings from the report include:

  • One quarter of LGBT travellers change the way they act and try to camouflage their sexuality when on holiday
  • Two thirds of British LGBT travellers refuse to travel somewhere that had an unwelcoming attitude towards the LGBT community
  • 80 per cent of people feel  that the travel industry don’t do enough to inform the LGBT community about local laws prior to departure

Virgin Holidays have just launched a three-year plan that will focus on empowering staff, informing customers, and influencing partners around global LGBT equality. The company will also be joining lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality organisation, Stonewall, as a Diversity Champion.

Virgin Unite, Stonewall, LGBT, Equal Rights

Stonewall are coming on board to support Virgin Holidays in auditing the workplace on LGBT inclusion efforts and to provide support on how to make better work places for all lesbian, gay, bi and trans members of staff.

“It’s difficult for travel companies to negotiate the ever-changing landscape around global LGBT equality” said Ruth Hunt, Stonewall CEO, “Travel companies should be doing everything they can to keep their staff and customers safe when travelling anywhere in the world.  We would love to see others join forces with Virgin Holidays and work towards a world where lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel able to travel freely without fear of discrimination, and are accepted without exception.” 

Virgin Holidays have also launched their ‘Lose the Labels’ campaign - an effort to further highlight the issues facing LGBT travellers and assist other organisations to work toward safer and more inclusive travel. 

Mark Anderson, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, commented: “We want everyone to feel comfortable when travelling abroad and encourage everyone, regardless of their sexuality, to take on the world.  We will continue to address this complex issue, and we promise to be a proactive force for change in the LGBT community.”

Go over to Virgin Holidays’ Lose the Labels to find out more about the campaign