Jul 12, 2024

First Rainbow Tourism International Conference 2024 kicks off

First Rainbow Tourism International Conference 2024  kicks off

KATHMANDU, April 21:Nepal presented itself as a safe and respected destination for South Asia's sexual minority community, and the inaugural International Rainbow Tourism Conference began here on Saturday.

Mayako Pahichan Nepal, a non-governmental organization, conducted a one-day international conference.

"This pioneering program organized by Mayako Pahichan Nepal in collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board is an important milestone in promoting inclusiveness and diversity in the tourism industry," according to a news release that was released before to the event.

"We are delighted to host the first Rainbow Tourism Conference in Nepal," said Sunil Babu Pant, Executive Director of Mayako Pahichan Nepal and the country's first LGBT member of parliament.

"This conference represents an important step towards creating a tourism industry that recognizes diversity and embraces inclusion," he said 

"As the constitution of the country recognizes the rights of the LGBT community, Nepal can become a suitable destination for pink tourism," he went on to say.

The primary goal of the conference is to promote Nepal as an LGBT-friendly tourism destination.

The worldwide conference was opened by Bhagwati Chaudhary, Minister of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens, who underlined the importance of collaboration among many stakeholders to promote LGBT tourism in Nepal.

She stated that 3,100 LGBT communities have been recognized in Nepal thus far, despite the fact that the population of that community is far larger.

Nepal has passed various laws ensuring equitable treatment and a violence-free environment for the gender minority group, he added, emphasizing the importance of effective implementation.

She assured that the government is committed to defending the rights and interests of the LGBT community, stating, "Nepal not only provides a safe and secure environment for LGBT travelers, but it also offers same-sex marriage and honeymoon destinations for the sexual minority community."

The conference published a statement emphasizing its steadfast commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the tourism sector.

"This ground-breaking project exemplifies Nepal's ongoing commitment to being a beacon of inclusivity in global tourism. "As we move forward, we pledge to uphold the principles of diversity, equality, and respect, striving to create a world in which every traveler feels embraced and empowered," the announcement states.

In 2007, Nepal's Supreme Court issued a historic decision asking states to remove laws discriminating against third-party gender identities.

An interim order was issued in June 2023 to allow same-sex marriages to be lawfully recorded.

12 people including sexual minorities from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Germany, Spain and America, various non-governmental organizations, activists, writers and media persons will participate in the international conference.

"Rainbow tourism not only promises economic growth but also represents an opportunity to promote inclusion and empowerment in the LGBTI community," he said.