The South African Tourism North America team celebrated Pride Month (June) in the United States by returning to PROUD Experiences, a three-day event bringing together leaders from the travel and lifestyle sectors looking to develop business strategies to embrace and elevate the LGBTQ+ travel community.
With more than 150 international, regional, and local travel brands in attendance, SA team North America met with travel suppliers and buyers, as well as members of the media, to highlight Destination South Africa’s LGBTQ+ value proposition, variety of experiences across our nine provinces, and increased airlift to the destination from the US.
Over US$218 billion annual spend
An SA Tourism spokesperson pointed out that this was part of the North America team’s ongoing efforts to expand outreach to the LGBTQ+ travel market, which spends over US$218 billion annually on travel.
This included the digital brand campaign, launched in conjunction with Edge Media Network, which incorporated custom branded articles, social media posts, dedicated email blasts, ROS digital and mobile banners, and mobile push notifications that drove significant reach across the LGBTQ+ travel segments in the US and Canada – delivering more than 34 million impressions.
Furthermore, as part of the global MegaFAM project, the team hosted RuPaul’s Drag Race fan favourite, Miz Cracker, who shared her visit with her 1.1 million Instagram followers throughout the trip, where she explored Johannesburg and Cape Town and experienced a typical safari.
Group of 50 travellers
Impressed by her experience last year, a 2022 Africa’s Travel Indaba hosted buyer, Vivian Perez, returned to SA this year with her first LGBTQ+ women's group of 50 travellers.
She explained: “The ladies fell in love with the Rainbow Nation, experiencing the best of Cape Town and the safari offerings. During their visit, the group celebrated Lesbian Pride connecting with the local queer women community for an event that attracted almost 300 women.”
Following the success of this trip, Perez is already planning a spin-off group trip for 2024, as well as a return visit in 2025.
South Africa boasts an impressive number of LGBTQ+-friendly properties, tour operators and organisations that are members of IGLTA (the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association) and team North America works closely with IGLTA to seed messaging across both their B2B and B2C platforms that positions South Africa as the ideal holiday destination for LGBTQ+ travellers looking for an especially warm welcome.
Understanding that 85% of LGBTQ+ travellers have passports and if the LGBTQ+ travel market was a country, it would be the fourth-biggest economy in the world, highlighted SA Tourism.
“The North America team is committed to continuing to invite LGBTQ+ travellers to visit South Africa, not only during Pride Month but all year long,” the SA Tourism spokesperson said.