Travel is universal – but for the LGBTQ+traveller – it can be a little more complicated. Travel is a way to learn about different cultures and exchange new perspectives – but visiting a new country includes possible unknowns, such as threats of violence or discomfort that rob that opportunity from millions of potential travellers.
With a penchant for travel far greater than their hetrosexual counterparts, the LGBTQ+traveller (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and plus – representing other sexual identities including pansexual and two-spirit) are far more adventurous and adore new experiences. The Guardian says creating environments where LGBTQ+travellers feel coming out and being themselves makes travelling richer for everyone.
South Africa has one of the largest tourism industries in Africa and in recent years, the LGBTQ+travel market has become one of the fastest growing sectors.
The rainbow nation seems to be amongst those accepting of diversity. According to new international trends South Africa has been named one of the best countries for LGBTQ+travel. The report aims to raise awareness of global attitudes for LGBTQ+travellers. South Africa ranked 11th with an LGBTQ+ travel index score of 86.2 (out of a possible 100 points).
To determine the most gay-friendly travel destinations, MyDatingAdviser compared 34 countries across eight key indicators of LGBTQ+-friendliness. It looked at categories like society acceptance towards homosexuality, sexual activity rights, civil union rights, marriage rights, adoption rights, military service rights, anti-discrimination laws and gender-identity laws.
Sweden claimed the top spot (98.2), followed by Netherlands(97.6), and Spain (89%). Other destinations featured on the list included France, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Israel, the US and Mexico.
The IGLTA is the world’s leading gay platform founded in 1983, providing information and connecting tourism businesses, operators, and agents with welcoming spaces for the LGBTQ+ community in over 80 countries. Having recognised that the LGBTQ+ community are the trendsetters, Steenberg Farm has announced it is the first winery in South Africa to join the association.
The gay travel industry in the UK is worth a whopping $8 million and over 80% of gay couples in the USA earn more than the national average. So accepting diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes financial sense.
“If you are a luxury establishment and want to stay a step ahead of the game, it should be an absolute priority to join a respected institution like this in order to promote your business as inclusive,” says Neilen Tolmay, marketing manager at Steenberg Farm, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
“At Steenberg, we pride ourselves on our personalised experiences and are ready for all discerning markets. In the coming months, we look forward to welcoming our LGBTQ+ community into the Steenberg family,” he adds.