Aaron Pease, from Langley Mill, recently launched The Trip Designers - a travel agency that he wants to be as inclusive as possible.
They create bespoke travel itineraries for any client, although Aaron said that there was a specific focus on ensuring that LGBTQ+ people were informed about the risks of travelling to certain destinations.
“I’m a gay man and I flew as cabin crew for just under 11 years, so I’ve seen what it is like firsthand in certain countries where it is illegal to be gay, to be out and open. I think we need to raise awareness that it isn’t actually as easy sometimes for LGBTQ+ people to travel.
“There are countries where even holding hands is a problem - people might end up getting arrested when all they were trying to do is have a holiday. It’s all about raising awareness so that people booking a holiday realise that, although these places look gorgeous, you might find yourself in a bit of bother.
“In the UK, it's a lot more common to see two dads or two mums with children and that family unit will still want to go on holiday, but that can cause additional complications and additional paperwork. All of this has led me to create an inclusive travel agency where anyone and everyone can come along and get honest advice, because it’s not all that easily accessible when it comes to travel.”
The Trip Designers are one of only a handful of independent travel agencies in the UK who are members of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Organisation, a global collection of travel companies that are open and welcoming to LGBTQ+ people.
Aaron also said would be supporting Stonewall as the business continued to grow, and has already committed to donating part of his profits to the charity.
“I’m proud to be supporting Stonewall. I’ve pledged that, for six months of the year, one of those being UK Pride Month, I’ll be donating a portion of my profits to them.
“As I grow so will my donations, and that will help their work and help create a more equal playing field for everyone.”
Some people might be reluctant to start a travel agency after the damage done to the industry by the pandemic, but Aaron said that demand for holidays seems to be returning.
“I’ve only been open for two weeks so it’s very much a baby, but the demand is definitely there. I’ve had quite a lot of enquiries coming through for a variety of different holidays, from honeymoons and tours to solo travel.
“People want to travel, the appetite is there, and as we come out of winter and Omicron disappears a little bit more, people’s confidence is starting to come back- I’m hoping that I’ve timed my launch with us hopefully exiting out of the worst of the pandemic.”
Aaron’s business is entirely online, and more information about The Trip Designers’ ABTA and ATOL travel itineraries can be found on their social media (the handle for all sites is @thetripdesignersuk) and their website here.