August Recommend 2017 - 23

Poolside in Monaco.



Over Europe
Carla Hunt

Summertime is party time for Gay Pride
destinations in Europe. From Palermo to
Prague, Crete to Cologne, Barcelona to
Budapest, Pride-themed tourism begets dozens
of festivals and parades celebrating LGBT
communities. And this year Madrid hosted the
biggest party of all-World Pride Madrid.
Exact figures are hard to obtain, but
according to John Tanzella, president and
CEO of the International Gay & Lesbian
Travel Association (IGLTA)-the leading
member-based organization dedicated to
LGBT tourism-Madrid was a top choice
for this world event. "Spain, with its strong
promotion of equal rights, such as its same sexmarriage and adoption laws passed in 2005,
is positioned as one of the most welcoming
nations for the LGBT community."
Among gay and lesbian travelers to Europe,
Barcelona's Gaixample district seems to share
a top-of-the-bucket-list ranking with Berlin's
Schoneberg. However, according to the
German National Tourist Office's (GNTO)
Amrei Gold, director of communications,
"throughout the country, Germany's gay
scene is legendary, embracing a huge variety
of events venues, springtime prides, parties,
festivals and communities in cities and towns."
Part of the reason Germany's LGBT scene
is thriving, according to the GNTO, is a
credit to both progressive legislation and an
atmosphere of mutual respect for everyone.
Most recently, legislation took another step
forward for the LGBT community: Chancellor
Angela Merkel and her conservative Christian
Democrats shifted stance on same-sex

marriage, and lawmakers voted to make
same-sex marriage and right of adoption legal.
Gold reports that "we are excited that the
stream of visitors is potentially going to
increase because of recent developments, and
we expect an uptick in weddings and
in honeymooners."
And as the saying goes: some of the best
things come in small packages. For the
LGBT market, that's 499-acre Monaco, also
a destination member of IGLTA, but the
only one whose site-sensational location on
the Med permits a gay couple and friends to
have breakfast in Monaco, lunch in Italy,
and dinner in France, and then be back in
Monaco for late-night drinks. Positioning
itself as the perfect destination pick for
couples' milestone celebrations such as
proposals, honeymoons and anniversaries,
the Principality has just released its first
LGBT brochure, including other top
reasons to think Monaco: it's inclusive,
authentic, fabulous and secure. Or, as Cindy
Hoddeson, director, North America, Monaco
Government Tourist Office, reminds us, "in
addition to a reputation for fairytale romance,
luxurious hotels, epicurean delights, and a
full calendar of cultural and sports events,
Monaco is a cosmopolitan-made up of 139
nationalities-and welcoming nation."
Tanzella is particularly excited that one of
Europe's most popular destinations for gay
travelers, Italy, became an IGLTA Global
Partner this year, an announcement first
made by Giovanni Bastianelli, executive
director of the Italian National Tourist

Board, who said, "we are committed to
working with tourism businesses to expand
welcoming infrastructures that will foster
inclusion and strengthen our brand image as
a country of tolerance, respect, progress and
open-mindedness for all."
We had one more question for Tanzella:
How do you position LGBT travelers in the
21st century? "It's a leading niche in emerging
market trends, a segment made up of people
who are highly diverse, more visible, more
adventurous, and it's a market that travels
with high frequency and higher than average
spending." He also adds that among IGLTA's
major tasks in servicing this market are
providing members with planning tools
and trip ideas, as well as access to a global
network of successful businesses supporting
LGBT tourism. Agents looking to learn more
about the LGBT market might well consider
reading the 2nd Global Report on LGBT
Tourism, accessible at

Book It
HE Travel-offering adventure tours for
gay men, lesbians and open-minded friends
and family-is a company with a unique
history. The "HE" of HE Travel comes from
Hanns Ebensten, widely considered the
father of gay travel, when in 1972 he created
the first organized trip for gay men-rafting
through the Grand Canyon. Philip Sheldon,
who worked with Ebensten and eventually
bought the company, of which he is now
president, outlines for Recommend how HE
Travel looks today. "We love the classics,
the Pyramids, Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu,
the Parthenon, the Great Wall, and we have
escorted Classic Tours to all of them," says
Sheldon. And of course what could be more
classic than Europe, where the accent is on
culture, food and wine. "We celebrate gay
history-from the Renaissance to modern
times-in London and Paris, and we tour
Greece (one of our most popular cultural
destinations), going beyond Athens to visit
the country in a new way."
HE Travel's adventure division features
a wide selection of cycling tours, including
villa-based vacations in the southern Italy's
Puglia region and seven different bike-route
choices in France.
Contact Information
German National Tourist Office:
HE Travel:
Italian National Tourist Board:
Monaco Government Tourist Office:
Tourist Office of Spain:
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