By John Tanzella, IGLTA President/CEO,

Pushing through this moment in history is a lot easier if you have something to look forward to. For many of us, that means making up for lost trips. And when the time comes, plenty of travelers will compensate with more luxury than ever.

Of course, luxury travel was always appealing—even before COVID-19 started inspiring a carpe-diem attitude of lavish living. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the perks of high-end transportation, posh accommodations, and private experiences? Now that many of us have spent a year (and counting) locked down and homebound, the idea of splurging on an extravagant trip sounds extra dreamy.

At IGLTA, we’re proud to be a resource for all LGBTQ+ travelers, including those seeking luxury. On the flipside, we support our members and global partners that aim to serve luxury-minded clients.

Our recent LGBTQ+ Luxury Tourism Insights Panel shed light on market trends, forecasts, and strategies for this niche. (For tourism businesses, consider joining IGLTA for access to this exclusive content, which is part of our ongoing Members Connect series.) 

Led by IGLTA Board Member and Virtuoso Senior Vice President Albert Herrera, the panel heard from four experts in luxury travel: Stephanie Chung, Chief Growth Officer, Wheels Up, an IGLTA Global Partner; Liz Biden, Founder & CEO, The Royal Portfolio; Jeff Gundvaldson, Co-Owner & CEO, Brand g Vacations; and Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Co-Owner & Co-President, Valerie Wilson Travel. 

                            Luxury Members Connect

Here are some of their takeaways on the LGBTQ+ segment: 

  • Travel advisors are vital. They offer personal attention (critical during emergencies), and are uniquely capable of curating luxury trips and special experiences. Because they know each client personally, they’re also able to build a trip based on each client’s comfort level.
  • More travelers are interested in private aviation.
  • Luxury travel may lead more travelers to wealthier countries that offer better health-care systems.
  • More travelers are interested in family or COVID “pod” travel for group safety and comfort.
  • A surge of wedding-related luxury travel is anticipated by mid-2022, compensating for postponed 2020 weddings.

Two IGLTA media partners also have tracked travel trends for the year ahead. Passport Magazine’s survey revealed that travelers expect to travel again by late 2021, with the majority expecting their vaccinations before this summer. Generally, those polled aim to visit Europe, and urban/cultural destinations.

OutThere Magazine focused on luxury travel for its readers’ survey. It found that many travelers will prioritize seclusion and private travel, the kind that may mean booking a villa or private island as a group. They also will stay eco-minded, spending their lofty budgets with more socially responsible hospitality providers. These readers also want culture and urban experiences, and are ready to splurge for holiday and other special-occasion trips.

IGLTA’s members are ready to accommodate all of the luxury predilections of LGBTQ+ travelers. And though travel during COVID times is challenging, providers and advisors are able to develop trips that make sense. After so many months staying home, when the time comes, a journey of luxury may feel like just the ticket.


Ready to plan a 2021 trip? Registration opens next month for the IGLTA 2021 Annual Global Convention in Atlanta, 8-11 September. Lock in your early bird rate with a $100 deposit today.