A new LGBTI-friendly travel company is being launched by former ITV News journalist Darren Burn.
The venture will be called OutOfOffice.com, and will feature bespoke gay-friendly itineraries for travelers.
The site, which will feature same-sex couples in its imagery, has been founded by Burns along with Ross Marshall and Andrew Harding, who previously launched Your Golf Travel and Spabreaks.com.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Burn explained: ‘I think there has been a reluctance of major travel brands to cater to the LGBTI market, both in their services and in their marketing. The LGBTI travel spend is estimated to be £6bn a year and it’s well documented that we take more holidays each year too.
‘It seems that a lot of companies don’t understand the nuances of traveling if you’re LGBTI – of course in some places it’s totally fine, but even then as a gay traveler I want to make sure that I’m handing over my money to the most welcoming people.’
The service will offer trips to a multitude of destinations, including Machu Picchu, South Africa, Cambodia, India, Thailand and the Galapagos Islands, only working with gay-friendly suppliers. It will also list information about global LGBTI laws.
He added: ‘We work with suppliers who have expert local knowledge and our network has years of experience of choosing the most gay friendly and trendy hotels. Travel companies have for too long shied away from integrating imagery of LGBTI couples and travelers. I can only assume they wrongly feel that this will alienate their straight customer base. Some of the most gay-friendly travel brands still don’t use even one photo of a gay couple anywhere in their marketing, which astounds me.’
Explaining how his company differs from competitors, Burn said: ‘We are re-imagining the way we build our itineraries. We build everything from the ground up with gay people in mind. So every product, service and itinerary you find on OutOfOffice.com is automatically gay-friendly. As a by-product most of them are straight-friendly too. We envisage a time when there is no need for a company like ours.
‘We’ve designed from scratch over 100 sample itineraries to 30 different countries – every single one of them can be customized and tailor-made. We’re also fully ATOL protected and my aim is to restore the reputation of gay travel which has been notoriously poorly served in the past.’
For more information about OutOfOffice.com, visit the official website by clicking here.