Skip to main content

How destination travel affects Singapore's LGBTQ+ Community

This Pride Month, Booking.com Research Reveals How LGBTQ+ Travellers from Singapore Are Taking Control of their Trips. 

 

Building on its mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, Booking.com’s latest LGBTQ+ travel research reveals that travellers continue to face significant challenges. 82% of LGBTQ+ Singaporean travellers have experienced discrimination when travelling, it also revealed that sadly, LGBTQ+ travellers expect some form of discriminatory behaviour from both their fellow travellers and that 73% agree that being LGBTQ+ has made them more insecure and self-conscious as a traveller.

Destination Deliberations

Likely reflective of the current economic uncertainties affecting people in many parts of the world, accommodations that fit their budget is the primary concern for 79% of LGBTQ+ travellers. After those primary financial considerations, three in four (74%) believe that being able to be their authentic self on their trip is their next most important factor. Among all LGBTQ+ travellers from Singapore:

● 70% consider a destination’s local legislation regarding LGBTQ+ human, equality and marriage rights an important factor

● 66% consider whether the destination is more, or less accepting of LGBTQ+ people than their home country

● 68% consider what they have heard or read in the news about experiences for foreign LGBTQ+ travellers

These concerns have had a clear influence on LGBTQ+ travellers’ perceptions and decision-making, with 62% of respondents cancelling a trip within the past year after seeing a destination being unsupportive of its LGBTQ+ residents. On the flip side, four in five (80%) LGBTQ+ travellers have booked a trip in the past 12 months to a destination seen as supportive of residents who identify as LGBTQ+.

When presented with the choice, close to half (47%) say they prefer to visit destinations where LGBTQ+ tourism is already well established, compared to 42% who would rather consider locations where their presence could contribute to broadening social awareness and acceptance. The zeitgeist is also playing a part in decision-making: 84% of LGBTQ+ travellers say they are more likely to book travel experiences inspired by LGBTQ+ pop culture.

Pre-flight Preparations

Once the destination has been decided, LGBTQ+ travellers are taking additional proactive steps to mitigate concerns about potential discrimination while flying. More than half (56%) have had a negative experience with a fellow flight passenger directly related to their identity, while a greater proportion (59%) expressed apprehension at the idea of being seated next to a stranger in fear of their reaction or behaviour towards them as an LGBTQ+ individual. Consequently, 68% of LGBTQ+ travellers opt to select a specific seat in advance to minimise interaction with others for fear of discrimination.

Code-switching and Travel Personas

LGBTQ+ travellers are actively adopting personas to protect themselves on their trips. Two-thirds of LGBTQ+ travellers say that they modify aspects of their appearance and behaviour to avoid potential discrimination or unwanted attention, while 59% have created an alter-ego to navigate different environments when travelling. The main reason for travellers to create an alter-ego was to protect themselves and feel safe, with one in two doing so to adapt to cultural sensitivities that may exist at a destination.

Travel Industry Allies

Beyond their own decisions, LGBTQ+ travellers recognise progress within the travel industry, with 84% saying increased inclusivity has made them feel more comfortable when travelling. Travelling to destinations that have adequate legislation in place facilitates feeling included and this is reflected in interactions with those who work in the travel industry:

● Majority (94%) of LGBTQ+ travellers from Singapore feel comfortable when arriving to check in at their accommodation

● 92% when having correspondence with accommodation hosts and airlines

● 95% when interacting with hospitality professionals at their destination such as tour guides, flight attendants and taxi drivers

Additionally, when asked what features LGBTQ+ travellers would like to see from travel companies to improve their future travel experiences, one in three (37%) referenced filters that would facilitate identifying properties that offer a welcoming experience.

“At Booking.com, we passionately believe that everyone should be able to travel and experience the world in their own unique way," says Arjan Dijk, CMO and Senior Vice President at Booking.com. “As a gay man, I unfortunately know first-hand the challenges that persist in many parts of the world, including sadly with travel alerts already being issued ahead of Pride events this year. Despite all this, I am incredibly inspired to see LGBTQ+ travellers resiliently embracing their lived experiences, both at home and during their trips. While real and tangible progress is being made, we must remain vigilant and do our part to make it truly easier for everyone to Travel Proud.”

Since launching in 2021, Booking.com’s Travel Proud programme provides free inclusive hospitality training for accommodations to help them gain a better understanding of the specific challenges faced by LGBTQ+ travellers, as well as what can be done to make every guest feel more welcome, regardless of where they come from, who they love or how they identify. The training is available in 11 languages, and recently expanded to include Japanese and Thai, with training sessions regularly available. There are now more than 50 Travel Proud-certified properties in Singapore on Booking.com.