Tourism is the backbone of Caribbean economies, however discriminatory attitudes and a colonial legacy of unjust laws continue to be off-putting to some visitors and undermine the employment prospects of LGBT+ people in the Caribbean. As a major employer and huge driver of growth in the Caribbean, tourism has a key role to play in advancing equality and inclusion in the region.

For two years, we've been working with Virgin Holidays and Barbados Gays, Lesbians, and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination (B-GLAD) to advance sensitive dialogue around what the tourism industry can do in Barbados to advance rights, empower local LGBT+ communities, and ensure equality for all. Our partner and the co-Founder of B-GLAD, Donnya Piggott, also founded Pink Coconuts, a guide to LGBT-friendly tourism in Barbados. 

We've convened two events in Barbados that support sensitive dialogue towards equality. In September 2018, the RCS and our partners convened a private dialogue among Barbadian hoteliers and civil society organisations to discuss how tourism could support equal rights in Barbados. We were delighted when the event received the endorsement of the Barbados Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kerrie Symmonds MP. To build on our success, in July 2019 we hosted a second event, where hoteliers worked together to create a diversity and inclusion policy for tourism in Barbados. 

The Society is grateful to Global Affairs Canada for their support for this work.

"Never in the history of Barbados has an elected Minister openly supported the LGBTQ community, inclusion and diversity in such a way. It proved that the dialogue was a start of something much bigger and more impactful!"

Donnya Piggott, Co-founder of B-Glad and Pink Coconuts