Former ITV News journalist Darren Burn has established an online travel agency to cater to LGBT travellers.
OutOfOffice.com has been created in partnership with Ross Marshall and Andrew Harding, who were behind Your Golf Travel and Spabreaks.com.
The online business came about as a result of Burn submitting a pitch for a new travel business to a competition in the British Airways’ Business Life magazine.
The London-based company features more than 100 itineraries and only works with suppliers it has verified as gay friendly and welcoming. Trips range from the Galapagos, the Northern Lights, Machu Picchu, a South African safari to cultural tours around Cambodia, India and Thailand as well as to more traditional destinations such as Mykonos, Ibiza and Tel Aviv and cruises.
The site provides up-to-date information on the LGBT laws in each country it covers to enable customers to make informed decisions on their travel choices.
Burn said: “For years I’ve seen travel websites and companies neglect the LGBT market, especially in the marketing and photos they use.
“I never felt that anything catered for the kind of holiday I wanted to go on – one where I can immerse myself in a destination, experience it in full but also safe in the knowledge that all the people I’m handing my cash to are welcoming to gay travellers.
“I want OutOfOffice.com to be the first port of call for gay travellers looking to experience something a little different to what’s been on offer previously.
“We’ve built some really innovative itineraries and can customise almost everything about a trip. Most of the destinations we cover are suitable for everyone, regardless of who you love, and in many instances we’re using trendier boutique hotels rather than large chains which adds a personal touch.”
Marshall said: “There is currently great social demand for this project within a clearly identified niche worth £6 billion a year in the UK and $85 billion in the US.”
He claimed: “OutOfOffice.com is the first dedicated online travel agency to cater specifically for this market place and with the legalisation of gay marriage in the UK and in many countries worldwide, there is great potential for us to lead the way in the gay honeymoon market.”