Kathmandu, December 13 (EFE).- Nepal will host the International LGTBIQ Tourism Conference next January for the first time, an event aimed at positioning the Himalayan country as a friendly destination for the group as they travel through South Asia. .
“Nepal has long attracted trekkers and mountaineers. Now is the time to attract LGBTIQ tourists and create job opportunities” for the local community, prominent pro-LGBT activist and former Nepali parliamentarian Sunil Babu Pant explained this Wednesday at the presentation of the event.
The conference begins on January 18 in Kathmandu and is supported by the World Bank, Nepal Tourism Board, International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA), European LGBTQ+ Travel Alliance (ELTA) and Association of Nepal Trekking Agencies.
The event aims to serve as a space for building fairer and more just societies and also to close gaps between people in the group who are forced to migrate in search of job opportunities to other regions such as Malaysia where laws are harsher on people in the collective, Pant added.
Nepal is so far the only country in the region to have legalized same-sex marriage.
China and India, the two most powerful tourism market niches around them, have some of the largest LGTBI communities in the world, but they often face social, cultural and political discrimination. The Himalayan country “can be the perfect destination to visit and enjoy,” Pant argued.
“LGBTIQ tourism events create a safe and welcoming space for people of different sexual orientations and gender identities,” the director of marketing and tourism promotion of the Nepal Tourism Board, Nandini Lahe-Thapa, told EFE.
On November 29, Surendra Pandey and Maya Gurung became the first same-sex couple to officially register their marriage in Nepal, months after the Supreme Court ordered the government to recognize same-sex unions.
Despite this historic milestone, LGBTIQ people face discrimination in the Nepalese labor market, where there is a huge wage gap.
“We have been recognized by the government as citizens with equal rights. Now we hope that there will also be equality in job opportunities,” says Pandey to EFE. EFE