Nara City announced to be a member of the IGLTA

NHKnaraOn October 1st, Mr. Nakagawa – Mayor of Nara prefecture has announced to be a member of the IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) as the first Japanese local government to do so.
A LGBT Seminar for the hospitality industry was held in Tokyo on September 29th and in Kyoto on September 30th, 2015. (The organizer was Out Asia Travel)  Ms. LoAnn Halden – Public relations director of IGLTA – was one of the speakers, and she visited the Nakagawa mayor in Nara city hall on October 1st, 2015.
Ms. LoAnn Halden said “It is important to show the goodness of Nara, because LGBT travelers are interested in history and culture”. . Nakaagawa mayor replied “It is important that Nara should raise the awareness in the world”, and joined IGLTA.
So far in Japan, IGLTA members are less than 20 – tour operators such as “Out Asia Travel”, hotels such as “Hotel Granvia Kyoto” “Grandeco Resort” and “Palm Royal NAHA”, however, it is the first time that Nara has expressed accession as municipality.
When becoming a member of IGLTA, it will be well-known as a municipality that has an understanding of  LGBT internationally, and in the future, it will be a known as a friendly travel destination for oversees LGBT. In addition, the LGBT travel market is said to be up to about 25 trillion Japanese yen in the world total.
Nakagawa Mayor says “Nara is a compact prefecture; therefore, it is easy to penetrate the hospitality to LGBT. We want to arrange the acceptance posture in conjunction such as tourism organizations” “In the perspective of tourism, we will be connected with LGBT in the world. As a result, we are to feedback to people in Nara”
Even though Nara has announced to join the IGLTA, it does not mean that they decided it suddenly.  In 2010, Nara Teachers’ Union created a faculty -friendly brochure and distributed it to public schools and kindergartens in the prefecture to help the young LGBT people. This was a very progressive approach among the local governments in Japan. In addition to this, they invited Boris Ditorihhi (Advocacy director of Human Rights Watch LGBT rights program) as a speaker to talk at events, and at the screening of the movie “Against 8” when Kansai premiered it at the International Film Festival in Nara in 2014. This plan was made with the intention of welcoming LGBT to Nara.
Word of the IGLTA will spread to other cities in the future; same as LGBT support declaration has spread to Naha from Yodogawa wards and Osaka, and same-sex partner certificates has spread to Setagaya wards from Shibuya wards.