Nepal to Lead First Rainbow Tourism Conference, Promising a Safe Destination for All | trip

The first International Rainbow Tourism Conference opened here on Saturday, with Nepal pitching itself as a safe and respectful destination in South Asia for the sexual minority community. The one-day international conference was organized by Mayako Pahichan Nepal, a non-governmental organization. “This pioneering event, organized by Mayako Pahichan Nepal in collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board, marks an important milestone in promoting diversity and inclusivity within the tourism sector,” reads a press release issued ahead of the event.

Nepal champions diversity in tourism with the first Rainbow Tourism Conference.  (HT archive)
Nepal champions diversity in tourism with the first Rainbow Tourism Conference. (HT archive)

“We are very happy to host the first rainbow tourism conference in Nepal,” said Mayako Pahichan Nepal Executive Director Sunil Babu Pant, who is also the country’s first member of parliament from the LGBT community. “This conference represents a crucial step forward in creating a tourism industry. industry that highlights diversity and embraces inclusivity,” he said. “Nepal can be a perfect destination for pink tourism as the country’s constitution recognizes the rights of the LGBT community,” he added.

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The main objective of the conference is to position Nepal as an LGBT-friendly tourist destination. The international conference was inaugurated by Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens, Bhagawati Chaudhary, who underlined the need to build cooperation among various stakeholders to promote LGBT tourism in Nepal.

She said that so far 3,100 people belonging to the LGBT community have been formally registered in Nepal, although the exact number of people belonging to the community is much higher. Asserting that Nepal has formulated many laws that ensure equal treatment and a violence-free atmosphere for the sexual minority community, Cahudhay said attention should be paid to their effective implementation.

Assuring that the government is committed to protecting the rights and welfare of the LGBT community, she said: “Nepal not only provides a safe and secure environment for LGBT travellers, it also offers same-sex marriages and honeymoon destinations for the sexual minority community. ” With a statement, the conference expressed its unwavering commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the tourism sector.

“This groundbreaking initiative reflects Nepal’s steadfast commitment to becoming a beacon of inclusivity in global tourism. As we move forward, we pledge to uphold the principles of diversity, equality and respect, and strive to create a world where every traveler feels embraced and empowered. ‘, the statement reads. Nepal’s Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in 2007 asking the government to formulate laws that recognize third-gender identity and scrap all discriminatory laws.

In June 2023, an interim order allowed same-sex marriage to be legally registered. As many as 120 people will participate in the international conference, including those belonging to sexual minorities, various non-governmental organizations, activists, writers and media persons from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Germany, Spain and the US.

Nepal’s Supreme Court remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding “justice and equality for all citizens,” said Hari Phuyal, Judge of the Supreme Court of Nepal. “Rainbow tourism not only promises economic growth, but also represents an opportunity to promote inclusivity and empowerment with the population. LGBTI community,” he said.