LGBTQ+ EVENTS ARE A DRIVING FORCE for some travelers, providing an array of value-added experiences and activities to any vacation. And whether it’s pride, culture or sports, the LGBTQ+ event segment is in growth mode, as destinations up the ante with fresh offerings.
In 2018, for example, the Provincetown Business Guild produced the Massachusetts town’s first official pride celebration, and this year’s June celebration is likely to include similar activities — including a ferry ride, art exhibits and dance parties.
The highest-profile LGBTQ+ event this year in North America — and perhaps the globe — will likely be World Pride 2019, a global celebration coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall protests which hailed the start of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in 1969. Some 3 million people are expected to attend and participate according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism organization. Cultural and educational programming, designed to commemorate the Stonewall anniversary, will take place throughout the year, with the greatest concentration of activities in June.
LGBTQ+ sports fans, meanwhile, might want to put Europe on their itineraries for events including Eurogames, which takes place in July. This multisport event, hosted this year in Rome and operated by the European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation, features lively competitions in categories ranging from basketball and volleyball to swimming and golf.
Also in the athletic vein, European Gay Ski Week takes place March 23–30 at Les Arcs, a skiing hot spot in the ski region called Paradiski. Events include lunches, group skiing, cabaret, club events and pool parties.
When it comes to parties, few annual events match the fabulousness of Life Ball Vienna, the May event that aims to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Big-name entertainment and a spectacular setting at the Vienna City Hall are among the draws, but the real appeal is Life Ball’s role as one of the continent’s top AIDS charity events.
Travelers can also connect with creativity around the globe, thanks to a variety of LGBTQ+ film festivals. In Los Angeles, a top choice is Outfest, which takes place in July, with screenings of short and feature films accompanied by panel discussions and parties, where there is surely no shortage of entertainment-oriented conversation topics.
Etihad Airways, in partnership with Norwegian technology developer Braathens IT, is working on TravelPass, targeted to business travelers as a subscription-based ticketing service.
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Economy-class travelers may finally get the in-flight sleep they’ve been dreaming of thanks to a new lie-flat prototype sleep product recently unveiled by Air New Zealand.
British Airways trials a new automated cocktail maker in its San Francisco (SFO) and Newark (EWR) lounges. The automatic cocktail system dispenses cocktails in less than a minute. The system uses robotics to create more than 30 cocktails and customizable drinks, including favorites in British Airways lounges. The technology is featured in lounges open to British Airways first-class and Club World passengers.
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Brussels Airlines is making Belgium travel easier with a new year-round route from Washington, D.C. (IAD).
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Las Vegas is poised to host one of hospitality’s most ambitious projects to date with the announcement Resorts World Las Vegas and Hilton will combine three premium Hilton brands into a single property.