At the most recent gathering of LGBT Confex, Mexico’s largest business convention focused on the LGBT market, the mood turned buoyant when topics of travel and tourism arose. “There is greater visibility because of the civil rights that are being won in this country,” said Ruben Sandoval, CEO and founder, LGBT Confex. “Businesses and destinations are preparing for this segment. They’re training and they’re sensitizing themselves to it. It’s not just about placing an advertisement; it’s about what you do internally and how you treat your employees.”
Indeed, the nation furthered its increasingly gay-friendly stance in 2015 when Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled the definition of marriage as a union only between a man and a woman violates Mexico’s constitution.
Tourism offices, business owners and hoteliers now turn their focus to LGBT travelers as never before in Mexico. Major sponsors at LGBT Confex, for example, included Marriott International, Jose Cuervo and tourism officials from the state of Yucatán, the location of the 2015 event (the 2016 edition will take place in October in Mexico City).
“The World Tourism Organization says that the LGBT segment is growing 10 percent every year, while the [mainstream] segment is growing 4.7 percent,” said Araceli Ramos, director of promotion and public relations, Jose Cuervo, adding the LGBT segment “is the greatest investment and target at this moment” for the tourism market. Jose Cuervo is banking on LGBT travelers to drive traffic to Mundo Cuervo, a tequila-oriented tourism attraction the company operates in the state of Jalisco, birthplace of tequila.
A look at the member listings of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association also reveals a sizeable number of LGBT-friendly businesses and organizations in Mexico — including Aeromexico and the tourism offices of Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. When it comes to hotels, the list is much larger; properties that aim to attract LGBT vacationers and business travelers include the Hyatt Regency, Omni, Paradisus, Le Blanc Spa Resort and Sun Palace in Cancún; Sandos Finisterra and ME Cabo in Los Cabos; and Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa and Grand Hyatt in Playa del Carmen.
While Mexico City may be the heart of LGBT Mexico (as the first major Latin American city to legalize same-sex marriage), Puerto Vallarta arguably ranks as the highest-profile gay travel destination for foreign visitors, thanks in no small part to its large portfolio of LGBT hotels, restaurants and nightlife. Puerto Vallarta’s website features a section of LGBT-friendly venues in its nightlife directory. Vallarta Pride, the annual gay pride event scheduled for May 17–28, expanded into a 12-day event with a variety of entertainment options and a festive parade.
Southwest Airlines is cutting almost 20 non-stop routes as of January 2020. The airline says the move will allow it to focus its efforts on top destinations. The airline announced the move last month, with flights from Boston (BOS), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO) seeing the most cuts.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva now offers its Royal Penthouse suite, one of the largest in the city at nearly 3,500 square feet, with an additional 1,800-square-foot terrace.
For any traveler interested in backcountry camping, wilderness exploration or any other type of outdoor adventure, REI now offers a wilderness safety training course to the general public. The programming is in partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School, takes place on weekends and is “ideal for all outdoor enthusiasts.”
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.