Atlantis Events’ gay cruises are now huge - with over 5,000 gays (mostly men) partying their way around Caribbean and Mediterranean and many other destinations around the world. And from the US, gay tour operators also organise a wide range of gay holidays all over the world - from gay cooking classes in Thailand to gay biking holidays in France. Pink Iceland, organised each year from Reykjavik, means you can frolic in the steam baths of ancient volcanoes and ride 4x4s up Icelandic mountains with a group of other gay holiday-makers.
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It’s a different dynamic - the gay sensibility perhaps, or gay sense of humour - being able to camp (or butch) it up and not have to worry about what others might be thinking.
So despite our increasingly enlightened times - the gay holiday looks set to stay. And the gay holiday industry is meeting the challenge.
As is often the case, gay holidays took off in a big way first in the USA - where gay tour operators and gay cruise organisers have been putting together bigger and bigger ‘events’.
Despite the reluctance on the part of many, the concept of the ‘gay holiday’ is actually catching on.
It’s odd, because as gay people become more accepted, they are eschewing the ‘gay ghetto’ of gay bars and clubs and increasingly mixing with their straight friends.
So why are they doing the very opposite when it comes to travel?
Perhaps it’s the appeal of letting your hair down when visiting a strange country.
We may feel comfortable in our own cities and towns, but travelling means taking yourself out of your comfort zone, and a gay holiday ensures you’re surrounded by like-minded people.
Most gays and lesbians have experienced some form of homophobia whilst abroad, be it incredulity at the check-in desk when they ask for a double bed.
Or funny looks and tutting when holding hands around the hotel pool. But a growing percentage of the gay community are making gay holidays a big part of their travel. There’s just something about the ‘gay dynamic’ when you’re on holiday.
It’s that ‘birds of a feather’ experience that we all crave now and then.