Gay pride parades may be the most visual and festive LGBT celebrations, but they represent just one category of happenings that lure travelers to a wide variety of destinations throughout the year. From film and theater festivals to ski weeks, from street fairs to fundraisers, the globe is dotted with LGBT events to fit the interests of countless travelers. Many organizations that host the events also offer hotel packages including admission and activities, making it even easier for globetrotters to take part in the fun. For decades, film has been a powerful way for the LGBT community to express itself, and multiple festivals offer a chance to view the newest movies. In the United Kingdom, the BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, billed as one of the largest such events on the planet, brings dozens of films to the screen every March. Also in the U.K., the Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival takes place this year Oct. 14–16. Dublin hosts two creative gatherings every year: the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, which brings drama, comedy and music to the stage every May; and the GAZE International Film Festival, which takes place in July and August.
In the Americas, NewFest presents screenings year-round and also organizes New York’s annual LGBT film festival, occurring Oct. 20–25 this year, with more than 70 films as well as appearances by cast and crew. Also in North America, the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival takes place in April, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival runs in August, and Atlanta hosts Out on Film in September and October. LGBT sports fans plan their travel calendar around the Gay Games, uniting athletes and sports enthusiasts from around the world since 1982 with wide-ranging competitions that include everything from aquatics to ice hockey, rowing to wrestling. The next gathering takes place in Paris Aug. 4–12, 2018, with some 36 sporting events, more than a dozen cultural events and three days of academic conferences about sports and diversity. If gliding down the side of a snowy mountain is more your idea of a vacation, consider Aspen Gay Ski Week, happening in Aspen, Colo., Jan. 15–22, 2017, with après-ski parties, social lunches and dinners and skiing activities for groups ranging from beginners to experts. Diehard skiers can head straight from Aspen to Canada for the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival Jan. 22–29, 2017. A new Whistler Village gondola will enhance the experience for attendees, while activities (in addition to skiing) include parties and live musical performances by country music recording artist Patrick Mass and stars of the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.
One of Palm Desert, California’s, signature hotel properties recently finalized its biggest-ever redesign. The JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa is home to 884 guestrooms and nearly 250,000 square feet of event space. Every facet of the property has been redesigned.