DMOs sound about as sexy as a night spent without ear plugs in a 20-person co-ed hostel room. Some DMOs, however, are doing fabulous work to woo the gays (and their many dollars) to places that value equality. And with the gay travel market raking in a staggering $200 billion in 2014, it’s not surprising to see why they’re putting forth the effort.
As we kick off the summer travel season, here’s our list of user-friendly tourism websites that are clamoring for your travel bucks.
Visit Stockholm – Gay and Lesbian Stockholm Blog
One look at the Gay and Lesbian Stockholm blog, a partnership with Visit Stockholm, and it’s clear they want your dollars. I dare you not to be impressed by all the information and resources. Featuring interviews with gay activists, Swedish culture, gay-friendly hotels, and local hotspots, the Stockholm blog beckons you. My absolute favorite part of the site is an actual lesbian guide to the city because they know some gay travelers want to go beyond listings for gay saunas, leather nights and dark rooms.
It’s no secret that Copenhagen is gay-friendly but Visit Copenhagen is all about showing you how much they love the gays. Proclaiming at the top of the page, “gayer than gay” the website lists all the ways that Denmark has been out ahead of the equality game, like this little gem:
“Lately lesbians in particular have received much more positive attention and have grown out of the stereotypical picture in which they so often have been portrayed.”
With gay guides, an event calendar, proud facts and interviews with gay families all laid out in a smart design, it’s clear Copenhagen loves the gays and they want you to love them back. The country version, Visit Denmark is no slouch either, as it shines with several resources for the LGBT community.
Much like the sites above, Visit Berlin makes it easy to inject some gay into your stay. But the best part of their site is the extensive descriptions of lesbian spaces in Berlin. From coffee and cake at the top-secret Madame Tartinette, a neighborhood café in Berlin-Friedrichshain, to the lively queer scene at Silver Future which features a sign over the bar that tells “patrons to leave their “heteronormativity” at the door,” Visit Berlin does a phenomenal job of laying out the queer scene for women. My favorite listing, though, is the Dyke Fight, whose motto is “Don’t be afraid of lesbians” and is a described as a “typical Berlin party: it doesn’t start before 12:30 and at least a third of the guests are not German.” Count.me.in.
The magic of Tourism Montreal happens on their blog. First, the image above. Advertising aimed at queer women! Gay travel marketers regularly forget women in their advertising but the Tourisme Montreal blog nails it. The blog features a sleek design and easy to find content – “gay life” screams from the main menu, making finding your people easy. And with posts like 10 Alternative Party Places in Montreal and where to eat in the village during winter hibernation, you’ll find plenty of options for your gaycay. And then there’s all their Instagram images to which I regularly compare to my own lovely city. I’m so madly in love with Montreal now, I’ve changed my plans to include Montreal for a first visit this fall. Bonus tip: The main tourism site includes a 3-day LGBT itinerary.
Travel Portland and Visit Seattle
In our own backyard, Travel Portland clearly looooooves the gays. They give us a comprehensive LGBT community overview that includes a slew of PDX queer events, history, nightlife and media. To the north, though not nearly as sexy or extensive as Travel Portland, Visit Seattle still delivers with an LGBT travel section that includes gay-friendly hotels and a few bloggers showing off gay Seattle.
Lezbehonest — not all places are clamoring for the gays. I certainly don’t expect Russia to roll out the sequined rainbow carpet for us anytime soon. But it’s damn lovely when destinations like these shower us in a glittery cloud of travel resources. Not only do they set a fine example for the rest of the countries and cities lacking resources for gay travelers (ahem, Discover America), they just straight up make your gaycay planning a hell of a lot easier. I certainly know where I’ll be spending my next trip abroad.
Who are we missing? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @OutAbroad.