Think In Pink- India As An Emerging Pink Tourism Destination

What do you visualize by the word Pink Tourism!!!!!!!

Is it related to the Pink city Jaipur or feminism has something to do with it???

But eventually Pink Tourism has related neither to the Pink City Jaipur nor it is related to feminism. In fact, it is related to the Tourism exclusively for the LGBT Community. (i.e. the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community and aka LGBT Tourism.)

It is called Pink Tourism because Pink Color has been adopted by the homosexual community when the inverted pink triangle must be worn by Gay men at Nazi, Germany concentration camp at the time.

The development of the LGBT tourist market is evident in many countries in the world. This niche has been growing really fast and preferred destinations for this community have emerged, especially in Western European countries and North America. In contrast to East European cities, West European cities and countries have increasingly targeted gay and lesbian travelers as part of their tourism campaigns.

An analysis of the trip destinations characteristic of the LGBT segment is inseparably connected with the tourist activity issue. Destination choice is a process whereby travelers analyze places and search for the best attributes in them, i.e. they discriminate destinations based on risks and desirable characteristics. As stated by S. L. Herrera and D. Scott, despite an increasing tolerance towards the LGBT segment, gays often feel “forced” to go to places where they can freely express their sexual identity.

What is worth noting, gays are significantly more prone to establish new sexual contacts during trips than heterosexuals. This was observed by H. L. Hughes (2006), who, on the one hand, thinks that the trips of hetero and homosexual people have a part of joint motives, i.e. social interactions, regeneration, self-fulfillment, feeling of freedom, strengthening of one’s ego or prestige. On the other hand, gays have a strong motivation of staying with other gays and possessing access to places that are friendly to them.

Now if we talk about India as a Pink Tourism Destination, India’s potentiality as a Pink Tourism Destination is increasing day by day post the decriminalization of homosexuality in 2009 by the Govt, of India.

In this context Mr. John Tanzella, president and CEO of International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), which has a presence in 83 countries. said “LGBT tourists want the same things as any traveller: to feel safe and welcome. India is becoming more popular with gay travellers since the high court decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. Feeling welcome is not only a reference to local hospitality, but also to larger issues of governmental rights.”

Pink tourism caters exclusively to the LGBT community and the new age pink tour operators are unique in that they try to make gay travellers feel welcome in an unknown land and also bridge the gap between them and the locals. According to Tanzella “An LGBT company caters to gay travellers, so their tour packages will often include gay nightlife or interactions with local gay business people,”

“Indian economy can generate billions of dollars if India’s gay community decides to open their wallets,” said Keshav Suri, a hotelier and gay activist, and one of the petitioners who brought the case to the Supreme Court.

India is home to more than 55 million LGBT adults, whose nominal income is about US$ 113 million (R$ 469,5 million) per year, according to data provided by the marketing agency Out Now Consulting, which helps companies reach gay consumers.

On average, gay couples have higher purchasing power than heterosexuals.

The Indian market “is one of the world’s largest LGBT tourism markets”, declared Ian Johnson, founder of Out Now Consulting. The beverage brands and travel agencies will be on pole position to reach this community, he added.

Here’s a guide to travel operators and online platforms in India that cater to the LGBT community.


India’s first ‘homosexual travel boutique,’ Indjapink was launched in 2008 by New-Delhi based fashion designer Sanjay Malhotra with a goal to provide relaxed vacations to homosexual men in India without the fear of discrimination. “It was toasted by the world LGBT community as India’s first luxury travel organization for gay men only,” says Malhotra who has a professional degree in Fashion Designing from IIFT, Delhi. 


Pink Vibgyor

Pink Vibgyor was set up in 2009, and is jointly run by New Delhi-based Rajat Singla and Sydney-based Peter Hosie. Singla has completed a Masters in Tourism and International Business from Waikato University, New Zealand, and says, “I came back to join my dad’s business. He’s been in the tourism industry for 35 years and runs his own travel agency – Club Holidays and Adventures. The LGBT tour outfit is a sub-division of Club Holidays and Adventures.”


Planeta Rosa

Planet Rosa is based out of Delhi and the senior management has over two decades of experience in the industry. Their services include gay luxury holiday packages within India, hotel bookings, car rental, flight and train tickets. If you are looking for friendly hotels and resorts, or want to make travel arrangements for a pride event, are interested in adventure travel, honeymoon packages or just a romantic getaway to a LGBT-friendly destination, this is the tour operator for you. COO Varun Lakhotia started Planeta Rosa. He has an MBA under his belt and has worked at Citibank.


Apart from this, there is, founded by Abhinav Goel in April 2010. Even some regular travel portals, such as Go India Journeys ( have begun organizing special packages for this section, while others are seriously contemplating doing so. “In the next three to six months, we are also planning to start tours for the LGBT community,” says Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra Online. “Travelling with like-minded people is essential for this group.”

The biggest fillip this niche segment has received is the Delhi High Court judgment of July 2009 which decriminalised homosexuality by ruling that if Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which covers various ‘unnatural’ sex acts, was applied to consenting gays, it would be a denial of their fundamental rights.

But even after the judgment, attitudes have been slow to change. Malhotra, who started Indjapink even before the judgment, says he spent 10 months before that travelling the country seeking to sensitise hotel managers and tour guides to the needs of the LGBT community. “It is still a challenge to find gayfriendly tour guides and gay-friendly hotel managers,” says Singla.

But customers are slowly trickling in, even though foreigners among them outnumber Indians. Malhotra says he began with just a dozen tourists, but in 2012 he had 120 of them. So too, Goel of had just 15 travellers in 2010. But in 2012/13, he had 200. “We should have more gay-friendly hotels in India,” says Amit Agarwal, Vice President, Sales and Operations at Go India Journeys.

Charges at these portals vary, depending on the length of the tour and the quality of accommodation the tourists seek, but usually start around $2,000 per head, going up to even $35,000 per person for luxury, all-Indiatour packages.

“Margins are usually around 20 to 25 per cent in this business,” says Goel, a qualified chartered accountant. The states most choose to visit are no different from those to which straight tourists too gravitate – Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa. Among specific locations, the most popular – once more, no surprise – are Agra, Khajuraho and Varanasi.

The portal owners also noted that the majority of their clientele was male. “Lesbian couples are very wary of travelling to India, or at least they don’t announce that they are lesbians while in India and they seldom come through agencies like ours,” says Singla. So too, travellers were mostly middle aged, perhaps because young people have less of disposable income.

Malhotra regretted that the government had not done anything to encourage LGBT tourism. “Till now, we haven’t got any proposal from private players or any sizeable data suggesting that this is a sector deserving of separate focus,” says a one of the Ministry of Tourism official

Apart from few limitations, it can be said that the LGBT community is evidently an untapped market, and its business potential is enormous and will continue to grow in India.


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