Gay travellers’ highest priority is to feel safe and welcome in the destinations they visit, delegates at World Travel Market (WTM) heard today.

Ian Johnson, president of gay marketing specialist Out Now, urged the travel industry not to make assumptions about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travellers.

“Don’t assume that gay nightlife is the only consideration in choosing a holiday. Gay people will travel anywhere they feel welcome.”

Out Now has launched an online training programme for the travel industry called Gay Comfort. It is designed to dispel myths and stereotypes, and offer practical advice to gay customer-facing businesses such as hotels. Registration is free at gaycomfort.com.

Johnson said successful gay marketing relied as heavily on social media as any other sector. Case studies revealed that tourist offices, including Vienna and Stockholm, made use of Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger.

Social media allows businesses to talk with consumers and not at them, said Johnson.