Very recently Germany’s Bundestag passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage and is now the 23rd country in the world to recognise this important right for the LGBTQ community.
We’ve just put Pride Month behind us and in light of this the good people at Nestpick published the list of Top 100 LGBT friendly cities. The Top 3 cities were Madrid, Amsterdam and Toronto. No surprise there really.
This made me think though; are cities really the only “best” places to visit for the LGBTQ community? Surely there are other places to go? Is it really about “safety in numbers”? I know for a lot of people it is or the historical perception that a place or city is “friendly”.
Let me list a few places to visit that have done an outstanding job marketing to the LGBTQ community:
- Sydney, Australia
- Tel Aviv, Israel
- Sitges, Spain
- Mykonos, Greece
- New York City, USA
- Ibiza, Spain
- Brighton, UK
- San Francisco, USA
- Berlin, Germany
I’m sure you get the picture. The amount of the same pictures coming through my Instagram feed last summer from holidays and parties in Mykonos made me never want to ever go there. I’m sorry, but where’s the originality? Don’t even make me start on one of those Atlantis Cruise holidays.
The Mighty Pink Dollar
The LGBTQ travel industry is big business and caters to these cliche travel destinations. They do love the pink dollar. Oh come on! I hear you say. Let me illustrate this with some figures. CMI estimates that LGBTQ travel in the US alone contributes $75 billion a year to the US economy alone.
Still think you’re not being marketed to? Unfortunately, similarly to other large travel industries they also treat a whole community like cattle. Yes, I said it. Stop being sheep!
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to these places, go out partying and spend your hard earned money. By all means, go for it. I just want you to consider that there are plenty of other places to go that are also deserving of our consideration.
What should you consider when deciding on your next LGBTQ destination?
- Does the country I plan on visiting have any laws that might put me or my travel partners in danger? – Won’t be visiting Saudi Arabia anytime soon.
- Has the country/city/area I plan on visiting been in the news in the last year for violence against the LGBTQ community?
- What is the current political climate in the country I plan on visiting? – I saw a website recommend Myanmar as a LGBTQ friendly destination. Uhm, yeah….no, thanks.
- What is important to me when I am on holiday? Beach, snow, party scene, sights
- Do I want to be surrounded by other LGBTQ people or not? Palm Springs, CA or Nice, France.
- St Martin/St Maarten – small island, big personality. Maybe not loaded with gay bars, gay restaurants and gay hotels, yet is placed in the Top 3 LGBT friendly Caribbean destinations for years.
- Malta – Ranked #1 by ILGA-Europe and #1 in the European Rainbow Index. Need I say more?
- Buenos Aires, Argentina – if you’re going to go to a gay pride event make your way to Buenos Aires at the beginning of November
It shouldn’t matter where you go on holiday. It honestly shouldn’t. But then again, I’m not that naive to think that it doesn’t matter to a lot of people. The key for me when I’m holiday is that I can relax, be “me” without having to look over my shoulder. So, I get why places like New York, London, San Francisco and Berlin are popular with their large LGBTQ communities and services.
My fear is that if that’s your only consideration, you’re going to miss out on seeing and experiencing a lot of places worthy of your attention and admiration.
Let me know in the comments below where you’d want to go if you didn’t have to take anything into consideration.