Buyers 'not ensuring duty of care' to LGBTQ travellers

7 June 2022

Business travel programmes are not “ensuring their duty of care” to LGBTQ staff, according to research. 

Two-thirds (66%) of travel programmes do not have special considerations for LGBTQ business travellers, despite them being vulnerable to greater levels of hate crimes, research for the UK’s Pride month by the Business Travel Show (BTS) found.

Over a quarter (26%) of programmes did make provision for the LGBTQ community and a further 8% planned to before the year was out, said the research, which involved a survey of 229 European travel managers.

When compared to other historically underrepresented groups, the LGBTQ community is the least well provided for, BTS found. 

Research by tech company SAP Concur found 95% of LGBTQ travellers had hidden their sexual orientation while on a business trip, with the most common reason cited being to protect their safety. This survey involved 7,850 business travellers.

Louis Magliaro, executive vice president at Business Travel News Group, which organises the BTS, said: “According to the ONS an estimated 2.7% of British people over 16 identified as LGB in 2019, an increase of 2.2% year-on-year. It’s estimated a further 200,000-500,000 people in the UK are trans. Yet these communities are subject to a disproportionate amount of abuse and hate crime.”

Magliaro referenced the LGBTQ travel safety index compiled last month by travel site Asher & Lyric, which rated the best and worst 203 countries for LGBTQ travel in 2022. The report found Brunei, Nigeria and Kuwait were considered the least safest countries for LGBTQ travellers. 

“Many African, Middle Eastern and Caribbean countries feature among the worst, but you may be shocked to see the United States rates just 24th. This is why it’s so important that any company with travellers among the LGBTQ+ community is proactively protecting them and ensuring their duty of care for every second they are travelling under their watch.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion is finally getting the attention it needs in corporate travel and now there are some fantastic examples of buyers and suppliers working together to achieve real change.” 

The BTS research also found 51% of travel policy programmes did not have special considerations for solo female travellers, 62% did not have consideration for marginalised communities including faith, race and religion, and 41% did not have policies for people with accessibility requirements.

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