LGBT Travel Has Really Evolved!

By Leigh Gernert


There was a time when if two men checked into a hotel with only one bed, the front desk personnel would heave an audible gasp and say, “I’m so very sorry for our error, but we booked you into a room with only one bed – please let me see if I can correct this. You were then left with the embarrassing task of explaining that there was no mistake – that you only wanted one bed and then get a judgmental look from everyone behind the counter.


Well, those days are far behind us and it has indeed become a gay-friendly travel world. Companies like Atlantis Events and RSVP Travel continuously host several enormous sold-out cruise vessels every year. Practically every major hotel chain gives their employees diversity training – specifically in the respectful treatment of gay and lesbian clients; hotels create “Gay Pride Weekend Specials” in conjunction with local Gay Pride Events in their city, large well-respected companies like Belmond (formerly Orient Express) recently appointed a Director of LGBT Sales and are focusing on the same-sex destination wedding market, companies like Pleasant Holidays publish a list of 70 of their LGBT-Friendly resorts around the world. There are many gay-owned companies like Zoom Vacations, Source Events, and Coda Tours who create hundreds of small upscale tours and cruises designed for the gay traveler to amazing destinations that have been carefully explored to insure that you, as a gay traveler, can travel in safety knowing that you will can be yourself and not worry about being harassed.


There are small luxury properties in the Loire Valley of France and the Tuscany region of Italy that are gay-owned but not advertised as gay only – where you can take over the entire property with a group of your gay friends and be welcomed by the owners who are anxious to allow you to be yourself and introduce you to other gays in the surrounding area.   These also make unique destination venues for gay weddings that are private and chic.


There is also an organization called IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) that has been in existence for 33 years and is the world’s leading global travel network dedicated to connecting and educating LGBT travelers and the businesses that welcome and support them. They have major sponsors like Delta Airlines, Hilton Hotels, Belmond Hotels, MGM Hotels, and Hyatt Resorts who all look to IGLTA to help them learn how to market to gays.


So now instead of being overlooked by most mainstream companies 20 years ago, these same companies are now investing millions to appeal to the gay market, which represents more than $211 billion in annual spending.   And it’s only going to get better.


For more information on unique trips designed specifically for the gay traveler, please feel free to contact Leigh Gernert at Modern Man Travel – a Palm Springs based company that deals the gay traveler both for business and for leisure (323) 350-9172