It’s no secret LGBT travelers spend a lot on travel. According to the 19th annual LGBT Tourism Survey conducted by Community Marketing, Inc., LGBT travel grew by 9 percent in 2014, with similar growth predicted for 2015. And according to a study by Out Now Business Class, a travel networking association, the market is now valued at more than $200 billion in annual spending.
A quick look at the sponsors and speakers at any LGBT travel event proves the industry is paying attention to these big numbers. At the 2015 edition of the LGBT Confex, Mexico’s biggest LGBT tourism and business event, Marriott International and tourism officials from both Mexico and the United States were on hand. The annual convention of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association recently attracted sponsors ranging from Delta Air Lines and South African Airways to Hyatt and Hilton, as well as destinations including the tourism offices of Las Vegas, Atlanta and South Africa, the host nation for the 2016 annual convention.
Various organizations continue to study the evolving LGBT market in an effort to better serve. ONBC’s report, LGBT2020, shows New York City, Sydney and Amsterdam at the top of the list of preferred cities for travelers in the segment in 2015, with the United States, France and Australia the most popular countries overall.
To grow market share, some organizations and destinations are paying more attention to diversity within the LGBT segment. The initials “LGBT,” after all, stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — representing a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, incomes and travel preferences. At the LGBT Confex in Merida, Mexico, Richard Gray, LGBT managing director, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, revealed the results of a survey of 700 transgender travelers as part of a campaign to attract more transgender visitors. “It is our goal to make Fort Lauderdale the No. 1 destination of choice for transgender travelers,” Gray said, noting Fort Lauderdale served as host city for Southern Comfort, the nation’s largest transgender conference, in 2015.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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).
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
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.