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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More