It's been known for some time that those who identify as LGBT like to travel. According to the national LGBT tourism industry association, Travel Gay Canada, LGBT travellers spent an average of more than $4,000 on travel in 2013 and gay travellers took 4.5 trips on average a year.
We spoke to frequent gay traveller Grant Minish, Regional Manager of LGBT Business Development at TD, to ask him about his favourite places to travel. It soon became clear he is a fan of Europe for its culture, nightlife and reputation as an LGBT-friendly travel destination.
Barcelona– Rich, welcoming, Spanish culture right on the beach. If architecture is your interest, the Sagrada Familia church will excite you. If sun and surf is your style, the Balearic Sea will meet your needs. Expect an average temperature of 17˚C between March and November.
Madrid– Continuing with the Spanish theme comes one of the most LGBT welcoming cities in the world. This city is so inclusive that the Gay Pride Parade is the world’s largest, attracting 300,000 foreigners to visit during the festival.
“Through Aeroplan, my partner and I used open-jaw, or stopovers, to visit Barcelona and London before returning to Vancouver,” said Minish. “Spain, Madrid and Barcelona especially, have wonderfully accepting LGBT communities and vibrant Spanish culture.”
Mykonos – Named the Ultimate Gay Destination by The Huffington Post, its LGBT culture thrives throughout the year. Every two years the island hosts the Mykonos Biennale, a world-renowned arts celebration. And if you miss this cultural event, the sun-bleached homes and warm blue sea will make up for it.
London – One of the oldest cities in the world, London is also a prime LGBT destination because the culture reaches back to the 1700’s. In fact, there were more gay pubs in the 1720s London than there were in the 1950s.
Paris– A regular competitor for the title of “LGBT Capital of Europe” (rivals with Berlin) and “LGBT Capital of the World” (second only to New York), Paris is necessary to visit if only to stroll through their fantastic 'gayborhoods.'
“The experience of different cultures is great, especially when you belong to one larger subculture like LGBT,” said Minish. “Everywhere we are the same, but it’s the little cultural differences that make the experience special.”