by Chuck Colbert
A first-of-its-kind new guide to business travel is out now thanks to publisher ManAboutWord and presented by Marriott International, IBM, and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
This is good news for LGBT travelers who may count on expert resources to guide them on ways to stay safe, productive, and successful when navigating unfamiliar and uncertain destinations. These resources can now be found in a new mobile, interactive publication called The LGBT Guide to Business Travel.
Billy Kolber, co-founder of ManAboutWorld and editorial director for the new Guide, said in a press statement, “Our aim has always been to shrink the world and make it a more welcoming and accepting place for all LGBT people, including those who travel for work. This innovative guide is our promise to business travelers that they can achieve their goals — wherever the road leads them — by also being safe, connected, and engaged with local cultures in ways that are socially and culturally smart.”
ManAboutWorld is a travel magazine for gay men that also appears in mobile guides. It is one of the only mobile-first magazines.
Stacey Milne, vice president of Portfolio Marketing Strategy and Planning at Marriott International, said in a statement, “We are proud to know that so many LGBT guests come to our hotels wherever their assignments take them. Our promise is to ensure their stays make them feel equally and warmly welcomed whether in Atlanta or Zurich. This practical resource, which includes many tips from our own Marriott associates, is one more way of making their travels as successful as we can.”
IBM’s Tony Tenicela, Global Leader and Managing Business Development Executive for Workforce Diversity and LGBT Markets, added, “IBM takes deep pride in supporting this education initiative. We feel like pioneers, too, over decades building global ventures and business opportunities that open doors for all including our LGBT colleagues, clients, and partners. The new LGBT Guide builds on this trusted foundation.”
And Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president, said, “LGBT entrepreneurs are helping to build a truly global economy through their hard work and creativity. That’s why we also are helping open new chambers around the world that connect multinationals with LGBT business owners.”
As LGBT professionals pursue their ambitions, global travel today offers greater career rewards, as well as a degree of risk. While the United States and many other countries are making real progress to achieve LGBT equality and inclusion under law, the fact is that more than 76 countries today still criminalize homosexuality.
While gay leisure travel has long flourished around the world, and spawned many popular guidebooks, this is the first time that a comprehensive tool has been created that serves LGBT employees and entrepreneurs, whose business can take them to places where they face challenges and risks because of their sexuality or gender expression. The LGBT Guide to Business Travel helps address questions and concerns such as:
• “Am I at risk simply because I’m gay?”
• “Should I discuss my trip with HR?”
• “Can I bring my HIV meds with me?”
• “How do I change the subject when colleagues ask about my family?”
• “How can I connect with the locals without putting myself or them at risk?”
These questions and dozens more are addressed with a wide range of resources. From the U.S. State Department to Scruff, the Guide connects travelers with up-to-date information about laws, cultural customs, business etiquette, and real-world best practices from seasoned global travelers.
The Guide’s key topics include safety and security, resources and LGBT business etiquette, while also offering technical advice for staying connected to home, connecting with LGBT locals, and special tips for small businesses — all helping LGBT business owners access some of the travel perks often reserved for employees of large corporations. The Guide also offers suggestions for ways LGBT travelers can help advance the cause of human rights globally.
IN THE NEWS