Okinawa Times 2017/12/06

The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau (OCVB) has announced that it will be joining the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), an organization which works to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ tourism worldwide. The group’s membership with the IGLTA is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. The OCVB will be the first public institution in Japan to join the IGLTA. Other members from Japan are primarily travel companies and hotels.

The IGLTA was founded in the  United States in 1983. The organization boasts over 2000 members from over 80 countries, comprised of various enterprises and municipalities. OCVB will become the 27th member from Japan, joining 26 businesses from 8 prefectures, such as from Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

The OCVB will be the 5th in Okinawa Prefecture to join the IGLTA, following Hotel Palm Royal Naha in Naha City, Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo in Onna, Japan Transocean Air in Naha City, and the Okinawa Hotel Association.

From this point forward, the OCVB will promote sensitivity training, teaching staff how to eliminate prejudice towards sexual minorities. Rainbow flags, a symbol of respect for sexual diversity, will be placed in the group’s offices. It will also call on other organizations and businesses to deepen their understanding of not only Islamic tourists or individuals living with disabilities but sexual minorities as well.

This past May, the Constitutional Court of Taiwan, a nation whose citizens makeup 1/3 of the foreign tourists to Okinawa, deemed a law banning same-sex marriage as ‘unconstitutional’ and demanded that the nation’s marriage laws be amended within two years. The OCVB’s decision to join the IGLTA could increase the allure of honeymoons in Okinawa among Taiwanese sexual minorities in the future.

The OCVB’s membership also makes Okinawa a possible location for the IGLTA Annual Global Convention, which is held in alternation between cities in the United States and abroad.

The global LGBT travel market is valued at 100 trillion yen and around 5.9 trillion yen in Japan, about the same as the domestic mail order and drug store industries. LGBT tourism is gaining more attention internationally. According to one study, gay travelers on average spend 1.6 times as much on travel than their heterosexual counterparts.

Source – 性的少数者の快適な沖縄観光へ OCVB、国際団体に年内加盟