Int’l conference on ‘rainbow tourism’ slated for April 20The announcement comes in the wake of the November 29, 2023 verdict that allowed same-sex marriages in Nepal, a first in South Asia.
Maya ko Pahichan Nepal, an organisation promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex or queer (LGBTIQ+) community in Nepal, on Friday announced an international conference on Rainbow Tourism, the first of its kind event being organised in Nepal with the support of Nepal Tourism Board.
The event planned for January was deferred citing some technical issues. “The two-day conference has been rescheduled for April 20,” said Sunil Babu Pant, the first openly gay former parliamentarian in Asia.
The announcement comes in the wake of the November 29, 2023 verdict that allowed same-sex marriages in Nepal, a first in South Asia.
“We believe the conference will play an important role in supporting the country’s economy and helping the LGBTIQ+ communities get jobs here by promoting pink tourism,” said Pant.
“These are the people who struggle to get jobs abroad—mainly in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Malaysia where laws are harsh for them,” said Pant.
Nandini Lahe Thapa, senior director at the Nepal Tourism Board, said that rainbow tourism is an important segment and that Nepal should support this kind of tourism initiative as much as possible.
Sexual and gender minority rights activist and blogger Lex Limbu has been announced as the star promoter of this programme.
“I will do my best to make this conference a success and to promote Rainbow Tourism in Nepal,” said Limbu.
Participants can register at https://www.yatra2happiness.com to be part of the event.
A research by corporate advisory and asset management company LGBT Capital estimates that the global annual spending power of the LGBTIQ+ consumer segment, measured in 2022, is $4.7 trillion.
There’s even a name for it—“pink money.”
According to the research, China is fast developing, with an estimated LGBT GDP now exceeding $872 billion. The 15+ LGBTIQ+ population is estimated at 388 million globally, with just over 75 million in China. The research says that LGBTIQ+ household wealth is estimated at $30 trillion globally, with almost $9.5 trillion in the US alone.
“We believe that hosting a successful LGBTIQ+ conference can put a destination on the map as an LGBTIQ+-friendly place to visit. This can lead to an increase in general tourism,” said Pant.
Nepal’s two neighbours—India and China—are huge markets.
Members of the LGBTIQ+ community in China and India face social, cultural, and political discrimination, which may be why they remain a hidden sub-population.
“Nepal may be the perfect destination for them,” said Pant.