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Rising LGBT travel spends spark startups in China

CHINA

China’s travel market is seeing an emergence of a new travel segment- the high spending Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community reported state run China Daily. China is estimated to have 50 to 70 mn LGBT people. There are no official statistics to the effect though.

A report from WorkForLGBT, a non-profit business network in Beijing, said that as per a survey of the LGBT community in China, many were doing well financially and also enjoy traveling. It also found that 75% of its respondents had traveled within China while 25% had traveled overseas recently.

Not surprisingly, there are a number of startups that are coming up to cater to this consumer space.

Wang Zhao, CEO and co-founder of GLOW Travel, an acronym for Gays and Lesbians On the Way, runs one rich firm. He began in November 2014 with a trip to Bali for a group of 11 gay travelers.

“People like us have totally different interests and demands when traveling abroad. We want to explore local communities that are friendly to homosexuals instead of pure sightseeing,” Wang, 35 told state-run China Daily.

“Additionally, LGBT people have strong demands for acceptance during their trips. Travel is also a good way for them to make friends,” he said.

The China Daily also reported that another startup, CandyCANer too is trying to get into travel services for the LGBT community. Its website is expected to be launched by the end of January.

“A tiny detail will make them feel welcome and comfortable. Take bathrobes, for example. A regular hotel will provide bathrobes for a man and a woman in the room. The hotels we arrange would provide a pair of men’s or women’s bathrobes for a gay or lesbian couple,” Xiao Haisheng, co-founder of CandyCANer told China Daily.

“Our ambition for the future is not only providing travel services, but creating a cultural space for LGBT people to socialise with each other.”

Musafir Namah Bureau

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