International Pride Month: Time for the government to focus on LGBTQI+ tourism
by Manny de Freitas MP – DA Shadow Minister of Tourism
June is International Pride Month, and there has never been a better time or opportunity for the government to demonstrate its commitment to protecting the rights of all people, particularly vulnerable and minority groups like the LGBTQI+ community.
The Democratic Alliance will write to Minister of Police Bheki Cele to inquire about what is being done in South Africa to protect LGBTQI+ visitors from homophobic attacks and to question about safety procedures in place, as this will persuade people that it is safe to choose South Africa as a tourist destination.
According to Asher & Lyric’s LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index, 203 nations were ranked based on their LGBTQ+ rights. In terms of legal rights, anti-discrimination laws, and adoption recognition, South Africa was placed 21st in Africa for LGBTQ+ visitors and tourists. On the list, South Africa received a B grade.
Being ranked as high as this for human rights protection is good news for South Africa. This implies there’s a lot of room for LGBTQI+ tourism to expand and flourish even further. As things stand, the “pink rand’s” purchasing power remains an untapped resource that has the potential to significantly boost our economy and create jobs.
Despite the fact that South Africa has a constitutional and statutory framework in place to protect LGBTQ+ persons, attacks against people in these communities have been on the rise. These attacks are concerning and must be addressed as soon as possible, because they have the potential to cause LGBTQI+ persons to reconsider their decision to visit our country as tourists.
We urge the government, particularly the police, to take steps to prevent homophobic attacks and to make the relevant information available, so that South Africans are aware of the dangers of hate crimes.
This will help not only the LGBTQI+ groups, but all of South Africa as well, if tourists from these communities choose South Africa as their preferred destination.