OCVB aims to better tourism for sexual minorities

Okinawa Convention Bureau (OCVB) has applied for a membership in the “International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association” (IGLTA), an association to advance tourism experiences for sexual minorities.

OCVB expects its application process to be accomplish as early as within this year. Most members of the IGLTA are hotels and travel agencies, and OCVB will become the first public organization to join.

IGLTA was founded in 1983 in the U.S. The organization membership currently consists of more than 2,000 companies and municipalities in 80 countries throughout the world. In Japan, 26 companies in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and other cities are members, and OCVB will be the 27th.

In Okinawa, four organizations have joined so far; Hotel Palm Royal Naha, Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel, Japan Transocean Airlines, and Okinawa Hotel Association.

OCVB plans to have training sessions to employees to teach how to abolish prejudice, and raise “Rainbow Flags” to respect sexual diversity. They call for tourism industry to welcome all kinds of visitors to Okinawa Prefecture, in addition to disabled and Muslims who have been targets of previous campaigns.

The value of LGBT tourism in all of the world is estimated to be more than a hundred trillion yen. In Japan, it’s estimated at up to ¥5.940 trillion yen. According to one survey, homosexual travelers spend 1.6 times more than the average visitor, and LGBT tourism is attracting increasing attention in tourism industry internationally.