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beTravelwise promotes LGBT business travel safety with key executive appointment

Jeremy Wilkes

Jeremy Wilkes joins the team as LGBT Travel Advisor

Travel safety specialist beTravelwise has appointed a new LGBT travel advisor and developed an enhanced corporate travel safety programme designed to help mitigate the dangers facing LGBT travellers. LGBT travellers are often faced with a myriad of legal and safety issues when visiting certain countries, whether for work or leisure.

There are 75 countries worldwide that enforce draconian anti-gay and transgender laws – eight of which still carry the death sentence for homosexuality – including many increasingly popular business and leisure destinations in the Middle East and Asia.

beTravelwise’s new London-based LGBT travel advisor, Jeremy Wilkes, is a highly respected senior executive with 20 years’ international travel experience working for bluechip organisations British Airways (BA) and Centrica.

Prior to joining BA in 1996, Jeremy was a captain in the British Army, serving in Canada, Northern Ireland, Jordan and Cyprus.

He has significant people management and welfare experience both in the UK and abroad. During his 20-year career with BA and Centrica, he was informally employed as an LGBT mentor, working with junior and senior management to develop policy in the area.

Most recently, Jeremy has worked as a transformation and programme consultant with UKbased blue chip clients.

Jeremy holds a BSc (Geography) degree from Exeter University.

“When beTravelwise created its e-learning course about personal travel risk that had a world-first focus for LGBT travellers, the team asked if I would be interviewed to share some personal experience to bring the course to life. Afterwards I started thinking about the risks that LGBT business travellers can unwittingly take and, importantly, how easy it can be to mitigate them.

“Over the years I have mentored LGBT colleagues about the dangers they may face in certain countries when travelling for business. Often the best solution is taking a commonsense approach, but it is important to formulate strategies at a corporate level to ensure the safety of all employees.

“I’m delighted to join the beTravelwise Advisory Board to help steer the training, support and advice they provide the LGBT business community. Helping to ensure the content speaks to LGBT travellers and encourages safer travel is very rewarding.”

beTravelwise director Saul Shanagher said Jeremy was already playing a key role in the development of the firm’s LGBT travel safety programme.

“We are excited to welcome Jeremy to the beTravelwise team as our LGBT advisor. His knowledge and experience of issues facing LGBT travellers will help strengthen our expertise in this important area of traveller safety,” he added.

“You can choose your holiday destination but you can’t often choose where you travel for work. Jeremy understands the pitfalls and challenges facing LGBT travellers in dozens of countries worldwide and his experience will prove vital in helping our efforts to keep them safe.”

One of Jeremy’s first tasks has been the development of beTravelwise’s new animated production, which offers LGBT travellers an array of safety tips, from navigating immigration control at airports to dealing with hotel staff when travelling with their partners. It also offers tips for business travellers when dealing with clients in conservative countries that outlaw homosexuality.

“I am very pleased with the animation we are launching today. It provides clear, concise advice that is easy to follow and can help travellers avoid common pitfalls, especially when visiting new territories where LGBT rights do not exist,” Jeremy said.

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