Just like everyone else, LGBTQ+ travelers spent a lot of time at home in 2020. To entice them to travel again, tour operators up the ante with an array of new offerings.
Like all travel companies, tour operators that cater to the LGBTQ+ market adopted hygiene protocols designed to protect travelers, staff and the local communities. “You should definitely expect to wear face masks while out in public, and you’ll be offered hand sanitizer every time you enter an establishment,” said Sam Castañeda Holdren, owner, Out in Colombia. The Medellín-based LGBTQ+ tour operator debuted new offers ranging from weekend urban getaways to multiweek journeys around Colombia. “Restaurants might take your temperature when you first arrive, and they often provide a QR code for you to scan with your mobile phone to access the menu. But when you’re out hiking on a mountain trail or relaxing on the island resort, you can feel free to take your mask off and take a breath of fresh air.”
Travelers looking to make up for missing out on LGBTQ+ pride celebrations in 2020 may consider a trip with Contiki, which offers a 10-day Pride 2021 tour that celebrates pride in four European countries. The company also offers single-country pride event tours in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and Madrid.
Farther north, Pink Iceland offers a new, women-only tour with Canadian partner Out Adventures and also debuts new destination wedding options, with a focus on elopements for couples who had to shelve plans for larger weddings due to the pandemic.
Also debuting new offers is VACAYA, an LGBTQ+ vacation company with 2021 programs such as a Halloween and Day of the Dead celebration in Playa del Carmen, Mexico; an eco-focused trip to Costa Rica; and cruises in Iceland, on the Mississippi River and in the Caribbean. The company also created an initiative called #AdaptToLive that aims to inspire travelers to come together and work through today’s challenges.
“Although the pandemic has been challenging, the human spirit won’t remain down for long,” said Patrick Gunn, the company’s co-founder and CMO. “VACAYA expects the 2021–2022 season to come thundering back as people begin to feel comfortable again.”
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
For all its cosmopolitan trappings, Singapore remains, at heart, a tropical island. The city planners determinedly preserved gennery and the high groves of concrete and glass, and for a complete escape from urban bustle there still remain patches of the jungle and mangroves that covered the island when Sir Stamford Raffles first established a trading outpost here in 1819.
In this era of 6,500-passenger mega-ships, any cruise vessel conveying fewer than a thousand voyagers is considered a small ship, including high-end luxury liners, deluxe expedition ships and the world’s riverboats. The focus on many small ships is the destination rather than the conveyance, the expert chat rather than the Broadway show, the watersport rather than the casino, the scenery and culture rather than the full-service spa and specialty restaurant. Passengers make a travel style choice, forgoing the options and pleasures of a resort-sized vessel for the deeper, more immersive experience of a yacht-scaled ship.
Air Tahiti Nui resumed service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) last week. To welcome travelers back to French Polynesia, Air Tahiti Nui offers fares starting as low as $775 round-trip from Los Angeles, and $789 from San Francisco (SFO). The airline also allows a free date change on all of its tickets.
Turkish Airlines, already flying to more countries than any other airline, announced its 10th U.S. gateway: Newark Liberty International Airport. Service will launch May 21, with four flights per week between EWR and Istanbul (IST). Beginning June 1, the frequency increases to daily.
Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro in The Ivy Hotel partnered with Uncle Nearest premium whiskey to create a Preakness-inspired cocktail ahead of this weekend’s event. The Laws and Lilies libation honors the contributions of Black jockeys in the early days of American horse racing. Emmanuel S. West, Jr., director of food & beverage, The Ivy Hotel, crafted the cocktail using Uncle Nearest’s 1856 Premium Whiskey.