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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid