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.”
United Airlines remains firmly committed toward sustainability in aviation. The latest development in its eco-conscious goals includes working with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures to commercialize the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with biotech firm Cemvita Factory. Cemvita looks to develop a revolutionary new way to produce SAF by using carbon dioxide and synthetic microbes. Additionally, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) recently announced an equity investment in Fulcrum, and United has invested more in SAF production than any other airline in the world.
Escape to Italy’s Gavi region and settle in for one of the new experiential summer stay offerings within the peaceful setting of Locanda La Raia. The intimately proportioned, 12-room boutique mansion hotel is located between the cities of Milan and Genoa. The setting? A 180-hectare estate comprised of vineyards, meadows and forests of chestnut trees, elderflower and acacia, all of which provide a habitat for birds and wildlife.
The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua recently announced the final phase of a $100 million resort-wide transformation, set to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Located across 54 acres of pristine, wide-open space overlooking Honokahua Bay, The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua is a sanctuary for guests seeking a luxurious escape.
Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.
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The best food tours go beyond reliving a newly arrived traveler of having to figure out which restaurant or bar to hit first. They also provide context in explaining how a destination’s crops and cuisine tie in with a place’s historical events and different populations. During a vacation in Iceland, 20-year veteran tour guide and proud Madeira native Jaqueline Freitas was reminded of this when she put herself in the hands of a savvy Reykjavik guide leading a street food tour.