Tourism January 28, 2024 | 7:31 pm

Tourism Minister David Collado skirts question on LGBT tourism

Tourism Minister David Collado, Asonahores President David Llibre and René Grullón Finet, Senior Executive Vice President of National and International Business at Banco Popular.

Madrid, Spain.- Dominican Republic Tourism Minister David Collado evaded a question on Friday about the country’s position on LGBT tourism.

“What is our position (as a country) on LGBT tourism?” a journalist asked at a breakfast hosted by Dominican officials at the 2024 Fitur tourism trade show.

Collado demurred, laughing and passing the question to David Llibre, president of the Dominican Republic Hotel and Tourism Association (Asonahores). Llibre attempted to sidestep the issue, which is clearly still uncomfortable for decision-makers in the sector, despite the profitability of this segment for a destination.

Llibre mentioned the promotion that other destinations do to attract LGBT+ travelers, which stands in contrast to the lack of open promotion in the Dominican Republic.

“We are an inclusive country… We embrace all types of culture, all types of sex, all types of religion, and really in our country there is no feeling that a person could not decide to travel to the Dominican Republic because of their preference,” he said.

He noted that there are tour operators that cater to this community. “If we don’t count or it doesn’t come out in the press that a specific hotel is working in that segment, that’s a private sector issue, and the private sector has been looking at it, evaluating it, and those are individual decisions.”

Llibre concluded by saying, “But, I insist, I think that having a direct plan for this depends a lot on how the country embraces these types of actions.”

LGBT+ tourism is a key sector, with a high level of spending and the potential to help de-seasonalize tourism. It accounts for more than 10% of global tourists, which represents approximately 16% of total travel spending. This amounts to over $195 billion dollars per year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Each year, Fitur offers an opportunity for the tourism sector to showcase its commitment to diversity and inclusion by focusing on LGBT tourism and providing a space for the promotion, discussion, and celebration of the LGBT community in the context of tourism.

The Dominican government’s response to the question about LGBT tourism was not as welcoming as some had hoped. The minister’s evasion and the president of the hotel association’s attempt to downplay the issue suggest that the country is not yet ready to embrace this important segment of the tourism market, as some experts have pointed out.

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John Gracefield
January 30, 2024 7:57 am

The Dominican Republic did not evade the issue back in the 1800’s when homosexuality was decriminalized in 1822. One of the first governments to do it. What’s the big deal now?

January 30, 2024 8:53 am

US, European western agenda…