Wednesday
Jun012016

VISITSWEDENUK LAUNCHES "SWEDEN. YOU'RE WELCOME"

SWEDEN. YOU’RE WELCOME

 


VisitSweden UK launches new LGBT travel inspiration portal

For more information, contact Uwern Jong at Boutique Marketing. uwern@boutiquemarketing.co.uk / 0203 286 3170

Eurovision Song Contest darlings, Sweden (link: www.visitswedenlgbt.com) has launched a brand new online portal on interactive story-telling portal Medium, designed to inspire LGBT travellers to find out more about Sweden, its destinations and open-minded Swedish lifestyles. 

The site is part of VisitSweden’s ongoing effort, as one of a handful of national tourist boards to proactively, attract and engage LGBT people. The online hub at www.visitswedenlgbt.com will feature content – editorial, photos and videos, by a range of Ambassadors, both from the UK and Sweden, covering travel inspiration, Arts and culture, food, music, gay and lesbian lifestyles and much more.

Sweden has so much to offer LGBT travellers – urban-nature, unique and exciting things to do, beautiful people – but moreover – an unrivalled, forward-thinking approach to diversity. Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1944 and the age of consent was equalized in 1978 – the country has been pioneering when it comes to LGBT rights. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity has been banned since 1987. Sweden was also the first country in the world to allow transgender persons to a change their legal gender in 1972. This year, Sweden celebrates 7 years of nationwide same-gender marriage, backed overwhelmingly by the Church of Sweden – it’s a magic number 7, as Sweden was the 7th country in the world to afford its LGBT citizens such rights.

All of Sweden’s regional tourism authorities are proud to support the campaign, having worked with VisitSweden on LGBT engagement in travel for the last 5 years.

Stockholm (link: gaylesbian.visitstockholm.com), the (gay) capital of Scandinavia has been driving LGBT travel to the city for 15 years. It was last year crowned “Destination of the Year” at the British LGBT Awards, just before it hosted Eurogames – the world-reknowned gay sporting event. Most recently played host to arguably the best Eurovision Song Contest ever put on. Stockholm is a magnificent on the water, merging deep history to contemporary urban chic. 

Gothenburg (www.gothenburg.com) and West Sweden (link: www.vastsverige.com/en/West-Sweden/) is the closest entry point into Sweden from the UK, just under 2 hours flight and into an intimate, laid-back, super-fun city and its breathtaking surrounding archipelago. Gothenburg is a young, hip city, and hosts of West Pride – a fun, political and super-friendly LGBT festival and will play host, alongside Stockholm to Europride 2018. It is also renowned for its music, with amazing music festivals like Summerburst and Way Out West. It’s also a foodie paradise, with seven Michelin Star restaurants at the high-end (quite possibly the most starred restaurants per capita) and everything from gourmet meatballs to herring-trucks at the other. Just outside the city, a grand and breathtaking archipelago awaits – where lobster safaris, fresh oysters, stunning sunsets and quaint waterside towns abound. You could check out chic gay-owned hotels, or take in a designer sauna, or even get-active with some soft-adventure!

Malmö (www.malmotown.com) and Skåne (www.visitskane.com) shot to fame the last time Sweden hosted the Eurovision Song Contest (yes, they do keep winning). And this eccentric city, just across the bridge from Copenhagen has exploded as an LGBT city-break since. And that bridge, was of course made famous by Scandi-Noir crime series, The Bridge – you can get in touch with your inner Swedish detective here. You can rent a bike and check out the super-sustainable Western Harbour – and a close-up and personal view of the city’s icon, the Turning Torso. In the summer, head down and people-watch at Ribersborg Beach and spend some time unwinding at the Ribersborg Kallbadhus, a heritage bath-house where you sunbathe, sauna and sea-swim in the best way, nude. Malmö is in Skåne county, where rural pursuits abound. Known as the garden of Sweden – you can try Swedish wine here, and taste fresh, Swedish produce unlike anywhere else. It’s landscapes are awe-inspiring, peppered with castles leading into pine forests and beautiful, sandy beaches. 

 

The largest but least populated part of Sweden is Swedish Lapland (www.swedishlapland.co.uk) where it is all about the light. It is the most LGBT-welcoming place in the world to revel in the midnight-sun and in winter, to chase the stunning Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Progressive, diverse and fun – Swedish Lapland is home to some amazing places to stay – from the majestic ICEHOTEL to the spellbinding TreeHotel. It is also home to Sami-Pride, the LGBT festival of the natives of the region – quaint and wonderful at the same time. Kiruna, where in winter your ‘Frozen’ dreams come true, is home to a national ice-hockey team, who a couple of years ago changed their team-strip to rainbow colours in an anti-hate message against Russia ­– they’ve decided to keep the strip in ongoing solidarity with Sweden’s LGBT population.

Some much inspiration and they’re just getting started, so visit the site for year-round inspiration at www.visitswedenlgbt.com

On social media, join the conversation at #SwedenYoureWelcome and Like/Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/visitswedenlgbt) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/visitswedenlgbt)

For more information, contact Uwern Jong at Boutique Marketing. uwern@boutiquemarketing.co.uk / 0203 286 3170

Thursday
Sep242015

GHOULS AND LOBSTERS IN WEST SWEDEN

Not your usual combination of attractions, we’d agree – but Autumn in Gothenburg and West Sweden offers remarkable adventures to visitors looking for that break with a difference.

From 24 October – 1 November, Liseberg – Scandinavia’s most fun amusement park, known for its all year chills and thrills add another dimension as they open the gates for Halloween. A mighty autumn storm has arrived, but not in the weather as it remains crisp – but a new season of ghoulish fun that promises a mix of spine-chilling experiences and butterflies in the tummy.

Making for a fun, themed city-break, join Gothenburgers as they dress-up and revel in everything from childish mischief with candy, disco dancing and dizzy carousels, to hair-raising houses of horror and plummeting roller coasters.

And when the clocks strike and the sunlight dips, the shadows slowly come to life and the ghosts of Gothenburg awake and claw their way to the park to feast on timid souls.

MULTIMEDIA AT http://halloween.liseberg.se/en/?campname=HALLOWEENSAJT-ENG&camplink=bildspel

If you’re easily frightened, then you should try some post midnight activities of a different, and much more friendly kind. Join beautiful Gothenburgers in the bars and clubs at the heart of the city, never far from your hotel – from Bee Bar and Kok to Gretas, where we promise that the atmosphere will be far from scary.

And of course, Gothenburg was recently awarded as host city for Europride 2018.

www.liseberg.com/en / www.goteborg.com/en

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And if you fancy claws of a different kind, Fjällbacka on the Bohuslän coast in West Sweden offers much bounty and unique experiences. It’s lobster season of course and Captain Ingemar offers you a lobster safari experience on his fishing boat, the Mira – where you’ll be served a hearty fish and shellfish stew before heading out on a fascinating lobster safari, where Captain Ingemar will show you everything you need to know about the delicacies. Back on dry land, you’ll prepare and savour eating your catch of the day, glass of wine in hand, in the warmth of the restaurant. Then an aperitif and four-course lobster dinner await!  Running every Saturday from 26 September until early November. 

www.storahotelletbryggan.se

 

But the main event here started last Monday – the beginning of lobster catching season – also known as the “lobster premiere”. Each year, on this magical Monday morning, the piers are crowded as fishermen, boat owners and excited spectators get together and start their procession out to sea. And yesterday, the first kilo of lobster sold yesterday for SEK10,400 – that’s around £1,000!

There are plenty of other seafood safari trips to book as well as some amazing adventure travel experiences, from the soft to those for the more ex. Check out www.westsweden.com for all the latest information. 

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For more information, contact Uwern Jong at uwern@boutiquemarketing.co.uk or 0203 286 3170

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Monday
Sep072015

SWEDEN TO HOST EUROPRIDE 2018

Two cities, one country - for a united Europe open to the world. Stockholm Pride and Gothenburg’s West Pride collaborate to host Europride 2018.
 

The European Pride Organisers Association has decided that Stockholm Pride and West Pride in Gothenburg will host EuroPride in both cities in summer 2018. 

"We’re looking forward to a summer painted with the colors of the rainbow, with a dazzling celebration, discussion and manifesting the equal rights of all people, starting in Gothenburg in June and ending in August in Stockholm. We want to challenge the framework of what a Pride festival is. Every festival is part of a larger battle for the equal rights of all people. By collaborating with other festivals in Sweden and Europe, we’re showing that Pride and the LGBT movement are bigger than each week and city,” say Sandra Ehne, Chairperson of Stockholm Pride, and Laila Poulsen, Chairpeople of West Pride.

The summer of 2018 will be filled with joy, politics and solidarity in Sweden – and the organisers aim to challenge norms and shine a spotlight on LGBT issues and everyone’s right to love who they want and be who they are. In the spirit of collaboration and joining forces, we will place extra emphasis on international solidarity.

“It is with great joy that I welcome EuroPride 2018 to Gothenburg! The rights of LGBT individuals are human rights and human dignity is international. Together, we can make a difference in the world,” says Anneli Hulthén, Mayor of Gothenburg.

Sweden and Stockholm held EuroPride 1998 and 2008. On yet another 10 year anniversary, Sweden has yet another= opportunity to demonstrate how LGBT rights have developed in 20 years, while simultaneously carrying out the 25th EuroPride event – in what is known as one of the most open-minded countries in the world. 

"Stockholm is known worldwide as an open city, and we are happy and proud to welcome EuroPride for the third time. We have the necessary capacity to hold this kind of big event, and I look forward to welcoming visitors from Sweden and the rest of the world to EuroPride 2018,” says Karin Wanngård, Commissioner of Finance in Stockholm.

“I’m thriled that Sweden will have the opportunity to host this globally renowned LGBT celebration in both our largest cities. Stockholm was earlier this year honoured as “Destination of the Year” at the British LGBT Awards as a result of a public vote and we have been doing great work to attract more LGBT people to holiday in Gothenburg and West Sweden. West Pride has grown as an event in which people from the UK travel to and it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to put all of Sweden in the spotlight and highlight what an amazing destination we are for LGBT travellers,” says Gabriel Dorch, of VisitSweden in the UK.

In 2015, EuroPride was held in Riga. In 2016 it will be in Amsterdam and in 2017, EuroPride will stand back for World Pride, which will take place in Madrid.

For more information, interviews, images, please contact UWERN JONG -uwern@boutiquemarketing.co.uk 
Wednesday
Jul082015

STOCKHOLM TO HOST EUROVISION 2016

BRITISH LGBT AWARD WINNING “DESTINATION OF THE YEAR” TO HOST 2016 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

 

Stockholm will be the Host City of Eurovision Song Contest in May 2016. This was decided on Wednesday by Swedish host broadcaster SVT and European Broad Casting Union (EBU). Together with SVT, the City of Stockholm will create a new innovative arena concept, including all four venues - Tele 2 Arena, Ericsson Globe, Hovet and Annexet - in the Stockholm Globe District. This will be a unique concept in Eurovision history.

"It is an honor to be the host city of Eurovision Song Contest. Stockholm is music. Our city is boiling of activities that revolves around music. Creativity is close to our heart and we want this to be visible during the event. Hosting Eurovision is an opportunity for us to strengthen and stimulate the interest that music creates. We are looking forward greeting the world to Stockholm in May", says Karin Wanngård (s) Mayor of Stockholm.

The main events will take place at all four venues in the Stockholm Globe District. The finale will take place in Ericsson Globe on May 10-14th 2016.

"The solution with multiple arenas enables us to produce the Eurovision Song Contest in the Globe, have the press center at the Hovet and the delegations area at the Annex. The Jewel in the Crown is to take Eurovision Song Contest to the next level by incorporating Tele2 Arena during the evening of the finale" ,says Martin Österdahl, executive producer of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016

Did you know that three of the competing songs during ESC2015 were written in Stockholm during Song Writing Camp in January. Stockholm is the birthplace of the Swedish music phenomenon, from ABBA to Avicii, and one of the worlds leading music exporters. 

“The 'Stockholm Gay and Lesbian Network' of the Stockholm Visitor’s Board, alongside 'Stockholm Gay Life’, an organization for the gay business and social community in Stockholm are thrilled to be able to host this global event that has great appeal to so many LGBTI people – an opportunity to showcase our fabulous city, that we believe is among the, if not THE, most open-minded, LGBTI-welcoming city in the world. To hear of this just before we go into this year’s Stockholm Pride and Eurogames is fantastic news”, says Christina Guggenberger, who heads up marketing and outreach to LGBTI visitors, for the city of Stockholm.

-ENDS- 

Notes

The Stockholm Gay and Lesbian Network is a unique project within the Stockholm Visitors Board, funded by the city and travel partners (hotels, museums, restaurants, attractions) passionate about promoting LGBTI travel into the city – one of the only such networks in the world. Find out more at gaylesbian.visitstockholm.com or by following us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gaylesbianstockholm / #outinstockholm

Friday
May152015

YOUTUBE SENSATION POP 'N’ OLLY TO LAUNCH LGBT VIDEOS FOR CHILDREN

A gay fairytale romance is the latest story amongst Pop'n'Olly's educational videos for young children. The Youtube channel, created by presenter Olly Pike, is a free resource which provides educational establishments with media involving LGBT themes.  

"I feel the best way to battle discrimination for future generations is to start with children” says Pike from his Kickstarter page. "We should educate them about a wider cross-section of society and teach acceptance with regards to love, kindness and respect.”

Pop'n'Olly's newest video Prince Henry, depicts a loving romance between a young Prince and his servant Thomas. The video focuses on the idea of class being a discriminating factor rather then sexuality, as the Princes father is happy for him to wed either boy or girl. The video goes on to teach how all humans are equal regardless of our differences.

Previous episodes look at different family setups, including those headed by same-sex couples. Pike also aims to break-down gender stereotypes, his video Super Balloon Dude, involving a pink costumed super hero, helps to 'Encourage children to be themselves whilst promoting diversity as a positive notion'.

Pike plans to create more free videos on diversity, particularly focusing on LGBT themes, and intends to develop further his channel with help from his recently launched Kickstarter page. He hopes to fund video production through this page, as well as publishing ‘Prince Henry' which can be claimed as a reward by pledging. Additional books, which tackle similar subjects with the theme of discrimination, are also part of Pike's long term aspirations.

"The ultimate goal, would be to have my work integrated as part of the Key Stage 1 schools syllabus, across England and Wales and then to expand this as an international protocol. I think it's vital subjects like these be taught alongside academic subjects, after all, what is an education worth, if it is lacking in basic human rights?" 

Pike notably agrees with such ideas, which we have seen from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who earlier this year stated 'I am increasingly supportive of the proposition that education of any kind, if it is devoid of strong universal human rights component, can be next to worthless. We need people who are kind, people with PHD-level compassion'

Pike claims each script goes through a thorough editing process to ensure that the tone is completely appropriate for the intended audience and that the final cut delivers a message that is informative, entertaining and non judgemental. 'It is vital we provide learning tools such as this for future generations, content which enables conversation, discussion and ultimately combats discrimination."

Pop'n'Olly's Kickstarter page can be viewed here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/623076085/lgbt-educational-videos-for-children?ref=discovery 

Website: www.popnolly.com

Facebook: Pop'n'Olly

Twitter: @popnolly

#PopnOlly

#PrinceHenry

FOR MORE INFORMATION, images, profile and interview request, please contact Olly Pike at olly-pike@hotmail.co.uk