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

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid