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Indian tourism industry targets gay, lesbian travellers

Gay and lesbian tourists are big spenders and vacation savvy and are being increasingly targeted by travel operators in India, said travel experts at the 18th South Asia Travel and Tour Expo (SATTE) Friday.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

31st January 2011 17:57

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

"Gays or lesbians are the biggest spender on lifestyle products. They have maximum disposable incomes as they come from DINK (Double Income, No Kids) group. So they are recession proof and they are vacation savvy," said Thomas Boemkes, managing director, Tom On Tour, a portal for gay travellers and friends.

A special session on ‘Gay and Lesbian Tourism’ was organised by SATTE.

"Gay men usually come in groups from Western Europe, United States and Canada and their favourite destination is Kerala, Rajasthan and Varanasi," director of Indjapink, India’s first and only gay travel boutique for gay vacations, Sanjay Malhotra, said.

He also said after the Delhi high court ruling in favour of homosexuals, the tourism industry in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community has increased manifold.

On July 2, 2009, the Delhi high court had ruled in favour of scrapping Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises sexual acts between consenting adults of the same gender.

A total of 38 countries are participating in the exhibition that started Friday in Pragati Maidan, which has stalls from 25 states of India.