Category Archives: Gay

U.S. Tourism Welcomes a Tentative World

21-nyc-official-guide.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x

You are welcome here—no really, you are, we promise—has been the predominant U.S. travel campaign theme of 2017.

The travel industry has been working overtime to offset a negative international perception of the United States since the presidential election. Cities such as Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco (to name a few) have invested in various versions of “Welcome” campaigns. In February, Hyatt Hotels launched the “World of Hyatt” integrated marketing campaign during the Oscars® broadcast, with a video celebrating empathy and multiculturalism. In June, Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, announced their “One Big Welcome” strategy, using personalized video invitations from “real people” to attract potential visitors.

Unfortunately, the President’s “America First” political message is translating to “America Alone” when attracting international tourism. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1.3 million fewer foreigners visited the United States during the first half of 2017. The New York Times  reported that European readers overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding travel to the United States. And last month, the National Brands Index, a global survey measuring perception of fifty nations, saw the U.S. drop from No. 1 to No. 6, in overall nation brand.

International travel is America’s number one service export, boasting an $87 billion international travel trade surplus last year.  In an article in Worth, Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association writes, “The Trump administration has yet to convey a sustained message of welcome to international visitors. Long-term failure to do so will unnecessarily deter travelers, which could have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.”

While we wait….
and wait…
and wait…
Let’s take a look at a few of my favorite, inclusive travel campaigns of 2017:

Los Angeles: #EveryoneIsWelcome

Hyatt: “World of Hyatt”

San Francisco: #AlwaysWelcome

(Photo via NYCgo.com)

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Miami Beach to Host World Outgames

gay socks running

Attention gay sports fans (and allies!):  Miami Beach and Miami will host the World Outgames in 2017, marking the first time the sporting event is held in the United States.

Sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA), the World Outgames–a gay-inclusive Olympics of sorts–takes place every four years in a different global city.

Included in the Miami Beach-Miami bid were proposals to host a human rights conference, a diverse cultural program, a World Outgames Village, opening and closing ceremonies, and 30 sporting events over 10 days, all under the South Florida sunshine.

Consider this your four-year warning:  It’s time to squeeze into the Speedo, dust off your running shoes, or bedazzle that figure skating costume.

(Photo via GayNZ.com)

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Mexico City’s Ravishing Renaissance

Big and gritty and complex and glamorous, Mexico City defies categorization. El Distrito Federal or DF, as the city is commonly called, is far more nuanced than many of the country’s famous resort towns, where the tourism bubble stays easily intact.

Here, you are in it; it’s real life in a real, big city. This is where people work, live, eat… and, yes, party. Spending a few days among DF’s 20 million people, you’ll discover a vibrant culture, delicious food, a hoppin’ gay scene, and a colorful whirlwind of unexpected surprises…

*Read my full article published in EDGE by clicking on the photo below:

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NYC Celebrates Furry octoBEARfeast

Photo: Dick Mitchell,  Model: Gio  Photo: Dick Mitchell,  Model: Gio

Before winter hibernation, New York City bears are having a ball, and you’re invited to flaunt your PETA-approved fur for a good cause.   For the first time, the city’s LGBT Community Center (commonly called “the Center”) is expanding their popular gay bear dance party, Fur Ball, into octoBEARfest:  “a week-long celebration of everything furry.”

The Fuzzy Wuzzy festivities kick off with sustenance.  On Monday, October 1, the boys will celebrate Bear-BQ at Bone Lick Park restaurant with $3 shots and drafts, $3.50 margaritas, and 35¢ wings.  Tuesday brings the Bears & Beers fundraising dinner, with unlimited food and drinks and optional VIP bourbon tasting, at 508 Gastrobrewery.

To help you find the perfect napping partner after all that food, the Center will host Bear Bating on Thursday, October 4, a speed-dating event for bears and their admirers; and then the big daddy event of the week, Fur Ball on Saturday, October 6.

Headlined by DJ Corey Craig,  Fur Ball’s estimated  900 guests will take over every floor of the Center, with two dance floors, go-go-bears, and an outdoor garden.  And more importantly, all proceeds benefit the Center, whose programs range from hosting arts and entertainment events, advocacy groups and family gatherings, to offering youth, recovery and wellness programs.

So let your hair down, wear your God-given fur out, and celebrate for a Grrrrrrreat cause.

Visit the Center’s octoBEARfest website for tickets and additional information.

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The Week in Travel (8/31/12)

The world of travel moves fast!   Let’s keep up–together.   On Fridays,  Traveling IQ curates the highlights from the past week:

*Prince Harry’s Hairies are boosting business in Las Vegas.  Since pictures of his naked Royal Hiney made their way through the world wide web, inquiries for trips to Sin City are up 30% (via The Telegraph); and the city has launched a new tourism campaign under the slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On Harry.”  (via NBC News)

*A botched restoration puts a small town on the world’s travel radar and launches a new meme.   Cecilia Gimenez’s amateur attempt at restoring the 19th century fresco “Ecce Homo” is drawing hundreds of travelers to the small town of Borja in northeast Spain.  (via NY Daily News)

*Want to be a well-heeled traveler?  Walk in a flight attendant’s shoes.  (via NY Times)

*Sometimes one inch really does make a difference! JetBlue and Canada’s WestJet are cutting legroom for some nonpremium seats.  (via CNN)

*Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.  And the dream of colorful crosswalks, really do come true.  The West Hollywood City Council has voted to permanently keep this year’s Pride-month rainbow crosswalks in L.A.’s Boystown.  (via Passport Magazine)

What did I miss?  Share your favorite travel news in the comments below or by posting on the Traveling IQ Facebook page.

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IQ on Proud FM: Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Ivan Quintanilla is the featured travel expert on Toronto’s Proud FM Radio “Your Morning With Richard & Chris.”

Click on the link below to hear IQ and the boys talk about gay travel to Cologne, Germany:

Ivan Quintanilla on Proud FM-Cologne  (6 min.)

To learn more about Germany’s fourth largest city, and one of the its most popular gay destinations, read the IQ articles published on Travel Squire and Out Traveler.

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Amsterdam’s Milkshake Festival

Amsterdam’s Milkshake is bringing all the boys and girls to the Westerpark yard on Sunday, July 22.

Under the tag line, “For boys who love girls who love girls who love boys who love boys…” the inaugural Milkshake Festival will present five stages, featuring music, dancing, performance art, and an all-out celebration of Amsterdam’s liberal character.

As stated on their website, the outdoor festival will promote a strict “Free Love & Tolerance” policy, inviting everyone to be themselves:  “Life is a party thanks to the great diversity of skin colors, religions, sexual preferences and male and female forms… Thick, thin, small, large, gay, straight, trans, travo, black or white: people are the salt of the earth and this is what we celebrate!”

So check your attitude at the gate, and take a big gulp of Amsterdam’s thick, frothy, all-welcoming blend.  Confused?  Don’t worry, they can teach you, but they’ll have to charge… an entrance fee of 32.50 euros (about $40).

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A Lisbon Beach Day

…he’s waiting just outside of Lisbon

With summer temperatures rising, visitors to Lisbon are finding it a little easier to enjoy a day on the beach. Though accessible by public transportation, planning the journey—especially for a tourist—can be daunting. Relax. Forget the bus to the train to the tram to the… With prices starting at 35 euros (about $43), your personal, gay tour guide from Lisbon Beach will pick you up at your hotel in a private car, drive you to the beach of your choice (from family-friendly to “We-are-family” friendly), and pick you up when you’re done. He can also coordinate a picnic, beach umbrellas and help you sort through the nightlife options available later.

The most popular gay beach, known as Beach 19 or Praia 19, sits on the Costa da Caparica, about a 30-minute drive out of the city center, and a world away from the bustling capital.  Part of a nature reserve, the area contains an expansive, sandy beach  along the ocean and more remote sand dunes sometimes used to cruise for new acquaintances.   As it is a nudist beach, your suit is optional.

Should you choose to make a fashionable impression, the new men’s boutique UP! town Lisboa has you covered. Opened this Spring in the trendy Bairro Alto neighborhood,  life/business partners Jacob and Bruno have turned an old bookstore into a shopping destination. With a combination of local, European and American brands such as ES Collection, Havana & Co., Ganesh and Ajaxx63, UP! town Lisboa carries  sexy bathing suits and stylish casual wear for fashion-minded gentlemen.

So enjoy all the sights, culture and history of Portugal’s capital… and then enjoy a beautiful beach break from it all.

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IQ on Proud FM: Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Ivan Quintanilla is the featured travel expert on Toronto’s Proud FM Radio “Your Morning With Richard & Chris.”

Click on the link below to hear Ivan and the boys talk about gay travel to Lisbon, Portugal:

Ivan on Proud FM-Lisbon-Portugal

*Learn more about Lisbon on the city’s tourism website at  VisitLisboa.com
*Stay up-to-date on the gay scene by visiting  LisbonBeach.com

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Lords Pops Big Apple

Lords South Beach celebrates NY Pride, polar bear and all

The Lords South Beach is making a colorful splash on New York’s Lower East Side this gay pride.  From June 18-24, Miami’s gay boutique hotel will invade the Hotel on Rivington, creating New York City’s first ever Pride pop-up hotel:  Lords New York.

And pop it will.  The Lords New York will feature a hot pink lobby, a New York version of the Lords South Beach beloved polar bear sculpture, and pop art portraits of Elizabeth Taylor (who watches over guests in every room of the Miami property).

The Lords New York is also bringing the party up north.  The Lords Penthouse series will occupy the Owner’s Suite of the Hotel on Rivington to host “Proud to Party”–a fetish beach party–with DJ Vito Fun on Friday, June 22.  The next morning, the hotel joins OUT Magazine in hosting the “Proud to be Creative” brunch at the hotel’s CO-OP restaurant with food, drink, music, and a special art installation.

The Lords New York at the Hotel on Rivington LGBT Pride Package Includes:

  • 15% Savings off the Best Available Rates
  • Exclusive access to the “Proud to Party” event on Fri., June 22nd
  • 2 welcome cocktails in CO-OP Food & Drink
  • Lords New York welcome gift bag
  • Priority reservations to the “Proud to be Creative” Brunch on Sat., June 23rd

Want to make more of an impact on our community?   Put your money where your pride is.  The Lords is introducing a New York version of its “Rooms that Matter” program.  Upon check-in, guests can choose to donate $10 to either the Aqua Foundation or Hetrick-Martin Institute. Last year, a similar Lords South Beach program raised over $10,000 for designated LGBT charities.

For more information on all the events or to book your reservation, visit LordsNY.com.

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