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How the Disenfranchised Navigate the World in a Time of Permanxiety

Sarah Enelow - Skift
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November 6, 2017


Download the full version of Skift’s Travel in an Age of Permanxiety magazine

In 2017 — with xenophobia, hate crimes, and discrimination top of mind — travelers from disenfranchised groups are looking to their tribes for reliable safety information online.

LGBT travel concerns are high, from discriminatory bathroom bills and the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. Muslim travelers deal with Islamophobia and President Trump’s travel ban, which the ACLU identified as a discriminatory “Muslim ban,” and which prompted hundreds of lawyers to volunteer at airports across the U.S. Latino travelers face an increasingly unwelcoming environment in the U.S. amid calls for a border wall with Mexico and immigration crackdowns. Black travelers express fears of re-surging white nationalism and police brutality alongside the NAACP’s first state-specific travel advisory, for Missouri.

Where can these groups turn for help? What’s the modern-day equivalent of the Green Book, which advised black travelers during the violent and segregated Jim Crow era?

LGBT and Female Travelers

According to a 2017 report by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), “The role that small businesses play is crucial. Often set up by LGBT people or their allies, small hotels and guesthouses, tour companies, bars and cafés offer a local welcome that benefits from a shared LGBT identity and provides a degree of reassurance of acceptance.”

John Tanzella, president and CEO of IGLTA, said there is a real fear among same-sex couples and transgender people of interrogation at the U.S. border. “The rhetoric of the White House certainly puts fear into travelers,” he said.

IGLTA is currently expanding the safety-related information on its site to empower the community. The organization already has a trip-planning tool featuring LGBT-owned and -friendly providers, as well as discounts for members. “We tend to be on the pro-travel side of that conversation, encouraging people to travel,” said Tanzella.

Every year the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association publishes world maps of death penalties and sexual orientation laws to keep travelers informed. In 2016 Marriott and IBM sponsored the LGBT Guide to Business Travel, which puts much of the onus on the traveler: “Do your due diligence… don’t become a target… ambiguity may be best.”

At this point, guidebooks for women and women-friendly hotel rooms are old news. On the newer side, Wanderful, which hosts events and provides resources for female travelers, launched a female-focused homesharing platform, though with a subscription fee and few listings it may struggle to gain popularity. UK-based Maiden Voyage provides educational and support services to solo female business travelers as well as consulting for the travel companies hoping to capture that market. Indian airline Vistara even has a free service for solo female flyers, giving them a safe escort as well as preferred seating.

Read the rest at Skift

  Check out ACT LGBT Association of Commerce & Tourism

  Check out Fly For Good - Volunteers' Discounted Travel

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