Virgin Atlantic finds LGBT+ discrimination costs Caribbean tourism US$700m a year

Virgin Atlantic and Open for Business have teamed up to conduct new research that will show the economic costs of LGBT+ discrimination within 12 English-speaking Caribbean countries.The Economic Case for LGBT+ Inclusion In the Caribbean includes data from the largest-ever survey of Caribbean LGBT+ persons (those living in the region and diaspora) as well as potential Caribbean tourists.Interviews with Caribbean-based business leaders and employees are also included.Research shows that LGBT+ Caribbean people face many challenges every day. State-sponsored homophobia, transphobia, and significant social stigma are all common.Nine of the 12 countries continue to criminalize same-sex intimacy, but none of the countries permit transgender people to change their sex or gender on state identifications.ADVERTISEMENTEvidence shows that the region's anti-LGBT+ climate is affecting tourism, the main industry in the Caribbean.According to survey data, potential LGBT+ and straight tourist have stated that the main reason they don't visit a country in the region was because of their negative perception of LGBT+ people.Similar to the above, 60% of LGBT+ and straight people will visit a country (Barbados), but only after it passes legislation that allows same sex unions.It comes at a high financial cost for the region.Research shows that $689 million in potential tourism revenue is lost annually due to beliefs about the treatment of LGBT+ persons.Juha Jarvinen is chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic. Open for Business is a powerful research project that we are proud to have collaborated with.The Caribbean is, understandably, one of our most favorite holiday destinations and one of the largest leisure destinations.Unfortunately, it's also one of the most exclusive.Many Caribbean countries have seen a significant impact on their economies through tourism. This has been especially true in the wake of Covid-19's global slowdown in travel.It is vital that destinations attract as many people as possible to help the region's economic recovery. This includes those who identify themselves as LGBTQ+ or allies.Virgin Atlantic wants every person who travels with it to feel at home on holiday. We will continue to leverage the power of the Virgin Atlantic brand to promote change in the world.