By John Tanzella (he/him), IGLTA President/CEO, email@example.com
In travel we are always growing, both as individuals and within our communities. It’s central to IGLTA’s mission to support that growth. So I’m proud that the IGLTA Foundation is hosting our 2nd annual LGBTQ+ Travel Symposium in India on 1 February at The LaLiT New Delhi. (You can register for free here.)
Building on what we learned during our inaugural 2023 Symposium in India, we’re excited to reunite the IGLTA team, members from the association’s global network, and local thought leaders to consider the opportunities for LGBTQ+ travel to and from India. It’s an opportunity to spark conversations and ideas that we hope will ultimately lead toward more enriching and inclusive travel experiences that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
India has taken significant steps toward equality in recent years, with progressive laws enacted to recognize non-binary gender,restrict discrimination in housing and employment, and ban conversion therapy. And even though marriage equality was not instituted there last fall, as many of us hoped, it is possible that India may join Taiwan and Nepal in legalizing same-sex unions in the near future.
Polls show Indians’ increasing support of LGBTQ+ issues through the years, including marriage equality and same-sex adoption. Through IGLTA Foundation efforts like our India Initiative, we hope to continue to move the needle on public opinion in India and elsewhere in Asia—and with it, to help build businesses that value inclusivity.
At this year’s symposium in New Delhi, we’ll be joined by The Lalit Hospitality Group’s Executive Director Keshav Suri, who serves as committee chair of the IGLTA Foundation’s India Initiative. To honor his bold advocacy for LGBTQ+ inclusivity, safety, and civil rights, Keshav also was the recipient of IGLTA’s 2023 Pioneer Award, presented at our 40th-anniversary Global Convention. He’s been a dynamic force for amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ travelers. And he’s leading the conversation among local tourism and hospitality professionals on how to welcome and serve diverse visitors to India.
We’ll also introduce Nakshatra Bagwe, our first IGLTA Foundation Fellowship recipient for the India Symposium. Nakshatra is an out-and-proud actor, filmmaker, and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, who launched The BackPack Travels for gay and bisexual men in 2016 to offer inclusive travel experiences.
Considering the huge projections for India’s tourism growth overall, and for LGBTQ+ travelers in particular, the IGLTA Foundation’s free, annual LGBTQ+ Travel Symposium in India comes at the optimal time. We’re so proud of our association’s ongoing commitment to emerging destinations, and look forward to hearing from India’s travel experts, entrepreneurs, and IGLTA partners about the inspiring future ahead.
The IGLTA Foundation’s 2nd annual LGBTQ+ Travel Symposium in India is happening Thursday, 1 February 2024, 10am-5pm, at The LaLiT New Delhi. A special thank you to our generous partners, without whom this event would not be possible: Hosting Partners: The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group and The Keshav Suri Foundation; Community Partners: Destination DC, New York City Tourism + Conventions, and Expedia Group; Media Partner: India Outbound; and Kronokare, who donated special gifts to the program participants.