THE WORLD OF LGBTQ TRAVEL constantly evolves, so it’s no surprise the topics at the 18th Conference on LGBT Tourism & Hospitality — this year at San Francisco’s Park Central Hotel — represented a wide array of trends in the marketplace.
The biggest change is the ever-increasing number of destinations that market to LGBTQ travelers, according to David Paisley, senior research director, Community Marketing & Insights, the LGBTQ research and marketing firm that organizes the annual event. “The evolution has been mostly one of size of the community, starting with the large urban cities, then smaller cities and now small towns and resort destinations,” he said. “Today, there are hundreds of destinations of all sizes outreaching to the LGBT community.”
In addition, Paisley noted the “evolution from a time when just a couple hotel brands were outreaching to the LGBT community to a time when nearly every hotel has an outreach plan.”
Indeed, the increased appeal is apparent in the long list of participants and sponsors at this year’s conference. Speakers included San Francisco Travel’s Joe D’Alessandro, MGM Resorts International’s Dawn K. Christensen, Tourism Toronto’s Heidi Wallace and Celebrity Cruises’ Ron Gulaskey. Major sponsors this year included the tourism offices of Argentina, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas and San Francisco, as well as the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
Workshops aimed to help attendees better sell their destinations and travel services to LGBTQ travelers, with topics ranging from marketing and media relations to attracting inbound travelers from Latin America. A special educational track was designed specifically for meeting professionals and planners, providing tips on how they can create more LGBTQ-friendly events and conferences themselves.
So what’s different today about the many organizations that go after LGBTQ business? “They are less scared,” said Paisley. “When we started this work, many destination and travel companies feared backlash — or for groups and cruises, worried about the interactions within their customer base. Today, that all seems to have diminished. The pioneers that started LGBT tourism outreach have demonstrated that there is nothing to fear. The LGBT community is not too different than any niche market.”
Airplane travel evokes a lot of emotions these days: excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and nervousness, just to name a few. But when you do take to the skies again, the giddiness of getting pampered at 35,000 feet can most certainly wash away the surrealness of the past year and a half — at least for the duration of a long- haul flight — as you sip Champagne and slip your feet into plush slippers. While some global airlines have paused or pushed back plans for upgrades and refreshes to their premium cabins, others have introduced exciting changes that await in your pod or lie-flat bed in first and business classes. What’s more, amenities like privacy screens, sliding suite doors and space to spread out all serve a dual purpose as methods to luxuriate in the air while keeping social distance. Here are some nice- ties to expect now and in the near future, from retrofitted seat configurations to updated décor to Michelin-starred meals:
History and culture are etched into every corner of Greece. Beginning with its language, the oldest written language still in existence, and moving from the traces of passing civilizations and religions to pre-historic findings and works from many movements, there’s a wealth of culture to discover on your next trip to Greece.
United Airlines is making international travel more accessible. United announced the largest trans-Atlantic expansion in its history, including 10 new flights and five new destinations including Amman (AMM), Jordan; Bergen (BGO), Norway; Azores (PDL), Portugal; Palma de Mallorca (PMI), Spain; and Tenerife (TFS) in the Spanish Canary Islands. All new routes, set to begin in spring 2022, are not served by any other North American carrier.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Walker Hotel Tribeca is blushing pink with an exclusive offer benefitting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Throughout the month, guests can book an all-pink guestroom, among additional amenities.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
Insight Vacations, Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland are offering the chance to win a free trip to Ireland for two, valued at $6,000. Oct. 18–22, The Road to Ireland contest page will be updated daily with a new clue and question that contestants will need to answer for a chance to win a trip for two on Insight’s Country Roads of Ireland tour in 2022. Contestants have until 11:59 p.m. PST Oct. 29 to submit answers.