Tuesday, 15 November 2011

WTM – part one: Discovering new gay travel opportunities



World Travel Market (WTM) is always an incredibly busy and tiring week; one huge exhibition centre the size of several football pitches with over 100,000 visitors this 8 hour day across four days is an agony on the feet and demanding on the vocal cords – but all worth it.

Here you can learn everything there is about the new developments in travel – and one of my favourite areas has to be for the gay traveller. There’s a lot coming to the gay and lesbian traveller as countries and cities demand the high-earning, high-disposable income group (that is slightly a myth – but so be it).  The gay traveller is also more likely to specifically want gay bars, the gay community, gay pride events and the like – so it makes it easier to package a destination.

Those like Tel Aviv, Antwerp, Manchester, Brighton, Fort Lauderdale, Sao Paolo, Berlin and Sitges have been doing it for many years – some more mature than others; and there are those that are coming through as the next generation including Stockholm, Switzerland, Florianopolis, Buenos Aires and South Africa. What’s most interesting is how they are now marketing towards the gays, the marketing is more subtle, more personality driven and with flairs of humour – forget the old strereotypes, the travel industry recognises that flags and gorgeous men aren’t going to win them the visitors, its going to take “respect” – say CEO of OutNow Consulting, Ian Johnson.

But what a year it has been for the gay traveller with more areas of the world opening up. I little over two years India decriminalised homosexuality, Brazil recognised same-sex civil marriage and SAS airline took to the skies to grant the first same-sex marriage in mid-flight. WOW!
Every year there’s new and exciting events coming our way and all to cater to the different interests and tastes of the very diverse and varied gay and lesbian community.

In my next post – discover the new products for your travels.