News / Europe

Vienna Aims to Muscle Into Growing Gay Travel Market

A waiter serves a drink at Cafe Savoy, which is a lesbian, a gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cafe, in Vienna, Austria, Mar. 20, 2013.
A waiter serves a drink at Cafe Savoy, which is a lesbian, a gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cafe, in Vienna, Austria, Mar. 20, 2013.
Reuters
Vienna has joined a growing list of European cities seeking to attract lesbian and gay tourists who are expected to remain willing to spend on travel while other recession-hit travelers cut back.
    
City authorities in Vienna this month released a review of the Austrian capital's gay and lesbian tourism strategy, deciding to focus on travelers interested in music, culture and history - and with money to spend.
    
The review followed a study among gay and lesbian travelers from outside of Vienna that found their average household's monthly net income was 385 euros ($500) higher than that of other tourists to Vienna.
    
Clemens Koeltringer, marketing analyst from the Vienna Tourists Board, said this target group was "high profile, luxury customers who go to the opera and enjoy very good food''.

"Vienna is not a Mykonos, it must not be,'' Koeltringer told Reuters, referring to the Greek party destination. "This is the main reason we are differentiating ourselves.''
    
Vienna is not alone in identifying the potential of the gay and lesbian market.
    
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leisure travel is forecast to rise almost 10 percent to $181 billion in 2013, according to an LGBT Travel Report 2013 by marketing specialist Out Now Global.
    
Germany, Bulgaria and Greece were among other destinations promoting gay friendly credentials at the world's leading travel trade show, the ITB Travel Fair, in Berlin earlier this month.
    
For example, VisitBerlin, in joint partnership with participating hotels, launched the Pink Pillow Berlin Collection, a hotel network designed for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) guests.
   
Stefan Dimitrov, a PR consultant from Bulgaria, said he noticed a sharp increase in visitors to the gay section of the Sunny Beach resort on the Black Sea and set up a blog then a website offering travel tips and tour packages.
    
"It's still my hobby at the moment,'' he told Reuters. "I don't know if it will work out but the interest here at ITB has been so huge I've had to get all the flyers and advertising reprinted.''

Growing sector

Miguel Gallego, a spokesman from the European Travel Commission (ETC), said Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian and Sitges in Spain already had strategies to attract more LGBT visitors, recognising it as an important, lucrative sector.
    
Briand Bedford-Eichler, managing editor of the Spartacus guide for gay-friendly accommodation, said acceptance of the gay sector had increased - as well as awareness that gay travelers tend to holiday three to five times a year, and for more than just short breaks.

"More people want to offer products, because they realize it's quite a lucrative market,'' he told Reuters.

"Gay people are still traveling and still spending. It's a niche that hasn't been too affected by the crisis.''
    
An official guide to Vienna for gay and lesbian visitors states the city is more gay-oriented than people might imagine.

Vienna has allowed civil partnerships since January 2010, meaning gay couples can choose settings such as the former imperial residence Schoenbrunn palace to tie the knot in a civil ceremony then stay on for their honeymoon.

The city suggests walking tours to take in the Belvedere Palace, built by Prince Eugene of Savoy, a Habsburg general who historians widely agreed was gay, and the Vienna State Opera house, designed by two gay architects, one of whom committed suicide in 1868 after the building was criticised.

"The most impotant thing to leverage is the imperial heritage. Vienna is known and is world famous for music and culture, and the gay and lesbian segments are not different in [enjoying] that,'' said Koeltringer.

You May Like

Russian Help on Iran Less Promising on Syria, Ukraine

US-Russian collaboration to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program has raised hopes of closer cooperation on other world issues More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

US-Ethiopia Relationship Strong, But Complicated

While Ethiopia serves as a valuable security ally and a bulwark against terrorism - the U.S., is a major aid donor and economic stimulator More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backersi
X
Michael Bowman
July 26, 2015 8:44 PM
Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Underground Streetcar Station In Washington, DC, to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Rise in HIV Infections Worries Ugandan Officials

Uganda had the third-highest number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa last year, reversing its reputation for successfully tackling the epidemic in the 1990s. Although the percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS is still half of what it was in the 1980s, the increase in new infections is worrying to health workers. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs