Entries in LGBT Travel (4)





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





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.



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



Malmö, a city reveling in the limelight of arguably the gayest music event in the world - the Eurovision Song Contest - has upped its game in welcoming gay and lesbian visitors, establishing itself as credible travel destination for LGBT people even after the quirky song contest has passed.

Besides the obvious and varied choices of gay and gay-friendly things to do (and weʼve provided a quick list of whatʼs in for LGBT people visiting the city at the end of this release), Malmö is the perfect citybreak choice for the discerning LGBT visitor because thereʼs so much more on offer in the heart of the city, let alone it being the gateway to the beautiful Skâne region.



Malmö is a great choice for those interested in cruising small art galleries. From local artists to international exhibitions, galleries like Kret, Galleri Rostrum and Makeriet offers something for everyone. 

The big news this summer, however is Malmö Nordic, the city’s major art initiative for 2013, a contemporary art event that opened earlier this month and runs through the summer until August 18th. Everyone from Malmö’s big art institutions to artist-run private galleries and public workshops are taking part, interpreting the theme and making their own contribution in the spirit of dynamism and diversity. www.malmonordic.se


Malmö is the city for foodies… home to the gourmet district of Mollenvangstorget (affectionally known to locals as Mollan), a live open-air market with shops and restaurants catering to every tastes from every country in the world.

But the most talked-about restaurant in the city is the strangely named Bastard – with a trendy yet cozy bistro atmosphere, focus on fresh product and nose-to-tail approach to dining. A meat-lover’s paradise. What’s in the name? Well you’ll have to go and find out for yourself, but it just goes to show that the people of Malmö do have a sense of humour! www.bastardrestaurant.se



Malmö is known across the nation for its design culture and there are some really exciting places to hunt down pieces for your home. Check out Ohlsson and Gerthel and Formargruppen. But equally, this is the independent shopper’s mecca… in the area around the square Davidhallstorg you’ll find some of the trendiest and chic-est shops - among them is Tjallamall – a haven of all things vintage, plus some unique, hand-made single-pieces by the city’s up and coming designers. www.tjallamalla.com

And if bargain-hunting is more your style, don’t forget to drop into one of the city’s fleamarket. You’ll find one every Sunday at Drottningtorget.



Malmö is a city with an intimate vibe – similar to Brighton, with its seafront location, modern architecture and diverse community. But ultimately, it is affordable, a vibrant city offering great value for money. You can stay in the city for under £100 a night in some comfortable digs, including the Rica Hotel and Master Johan.

www.rica-hotels.com www.masterjohan.se


For more specific things to do in Malmo, and updated shop, restaurant and art listings, please contact uwern@boutiquemarketing.co.uk or visit the official tourist website at www.malmotown.com


Hereʼs whatʼs in for LGBTs in Malmo..




One of Malmoʼs premier gay clubs Find out more at: www.wonk.se



Cabaret Moulin

One of the best drag shows in Sweden, taking place just once a month at the Tango

Palace. www.cabaretmoulin.se



Chez Madame

When (if) you’re all partied out, try out this gay-friendly eco-cafe in the heart of Malmo.



Moccasin Mat & Vin

A gay-friendly restaurant , delightfully combining simple food and luxurious cocktails, this is a versatile venue for all tastes.



From April 25th, Gothenburg’s staple, the Bee Kök & Bar will open as Malmö's newest gay venue. You will find it at Södra Förstadsgatan, this "straight-friendly" gay restaurant the food is great and the atmosphere unique, with alfresco dining options www.beebar.se



Ryanair flies from daily from London Stansted to Malmo Sturup with a journey time of just under two hours. www.ryanair.com





World Rainbow Hotels launch website to help LGBT customers find and book genuinely gay and lesbian-welcoming hotels

LONDON - Gone are the days when a gay or lesbian couple need be concerned that at check-in their double room will be changed for a room with two single beds. Gay and lesbian customers can now search and book more than 850 genuinely gay-welcoming hotels worldwide on the newly launched World Rainbow Hotels website www.worldrainbowhotels.com.

World Rainbow Hotels (WRH), the gay & lesbian travel organization which made the headlines a year and a half ago as the first ever supplier of gay-friendly hotels on the GDS, launched a new website on August 1st, 2012, allowing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) consumers to find and book genuinely gay and lesbian-welcoming hotels.

Since its creation in January 2011, World Rainbow Hotels – now boasting partnership with 175 hotel brands including high-profile names such as Kimpton, Morgans, Design Hotels, Joie de Vivre, Thompson Hotels, Rocco Forte, Orient Express, Four Seasons, Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel to name but a few – has endeavoured to set a new standard regarding the oft-misused concept of “gay-friendliness”.

Nicolas Wijnants, World Rainbow Hotels’ brand director, said:

“Too often hoteliers claim their establishment is "gay-friendly” but then fail to deliver on their promise. Gay and lesbian consumers want more than a rainbow flag in the window, they want to feel genuinely welcome as gay and lesbian individuals and they want to know that the hotel’s staff understands their travel concerns. World Rainbow Hotels’ mission is to give hoteliers all the right tools to make sure gay and lesbian guests are pleased with their stay.”

The online reservation portal selected more than 850 three to five-star properties in 129 global destinations through a rigorous set of screening criteria, including their current involvement with the LGBT community, compliance with non-discrimination policies and same sex benefits for their staff.

Member hotels are encouraged to undergo LGBT welcoming training and required to put together their own information guide about their local gay and lesbian scene.

These guides, called Out & About, provide information such as the destination’s best gay-friendly restaurants, the best gay or lesbian clubs and bars as well as special events. This information is visible online on the hotel’s profile and available to WRH guests at the hotel’s concierge.

According to Mr. Wijnants, all these elements contribute to a more pleasurable hotel experience for gay & lesbian travellers:

“Gay-friendly means that from the moment our guests make a reservation to the time they check out, they can just relax. They won’t be placed in the awkward situation of having to ask for a double bed instead of twin beds and they won’t have to think twice about requesting room service when they are in bed with their lover. Guests won’t be pressured to explain anything or justify anything or “come out” to the hotel staff, it’s already taken care of. Going to a World Rainbow Hotel is like going to a LGBT embassy, where guests can feel safe and welcome.”
The company’s portfolio offers accommodation for every wallet, as it ranges from luxury hotels perfect for a honeymoon to “budget chic” hotels for the more cost-conscious traveller. Besides the many renowned international chains, World Rainbow Hotels also feature many award-winning boutique hotels, apartment-hotels and resorts.

The World Rainbow Hotels website offers the latest updates on the top gay and lesbian events worldwide as well as valuable information on the social attitudes regarding homosexuality for each of the destinations featured on the site.  

Mark Lewis, World Rainbow Hotels’ managing director, said:

“Whilst our website only lists hotels in places where attitudes to LGBT travelers are friendly overall, not all countries have changed their laws in line with what is socially acceptable. Therefore, having up-to-date information is key to avoid any unsavory experiences. Our goal is to provide our customers not only with the best gay-friendly hotel, but also with all the relevant tools to ensure their stay is as pleasant as possible.”

State-of-the-art technology finally available for gay & lesbian consumers

As the first and only gay and lesbian travel organization to be using the travel industry’s own communication network (known as the Global Distribution System or GDS), World Rainbow Hotels can offer customers fast and secure transactions as well as the hotels’ best available rates at all times.

This makes of World Rainbow Hotels a pioneer, allowing major international hotel brands to reach out to this increasingly relevant market segment for the first time.

What the leading players in the travel industry have to say about WRH

The launch of World Rainbow Hotels’ consumer website has been met with industry-wide praise:

 “We're very pleased to be a partner of World Rainbow Hotels. Each of our member hotels are ambassadors of their neighbourhood and strive to provide each guest with individually tailored, culturally-immersive experiences, both within and outside the property. The Design Hotels™ community is made up of free-spirited globetrotters from a broad range of backgrounds and preferences looking for meaningful journeys. Our carefully curated portfolio of 230 hotels worldwide are the perfect gateway to the local scene no matter where you are."

Arno Schwalie, VP Business Development & Corporate Strategy, Design Hotels™.

“Fairmont Raffles and Swissôtel Hotels and Resorts are thrilled to be partnering with WRH. We are very proud to have met the strict set of criteria set forth by WRH and are now able to welcome their clients at our participating locations worldwide. As our core pillars include our relationship and place in the community, we strive to ensure all of our guests have the most memorable experience when staying with us. We value the needs, ideas and individuality of others. We treat all Colleagues and Guests with fairness and dignity. We look forward to a very prosperous year ahead with WRH.”
Cory Hagopian, Executive Director, Travel Industry Sales, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International

“Kimpton Hotels is committed to creating a culture that reflects the diversity of our hotel and restaurant guests. With that goal in mind, several of our hotels have partnered with WRH to show support of understanding, accepting, and celebrating differences among people. That includes different personalities, lifestyles, work styles, education and experience. We also welcome and embrace people of all races, ethnicities, ages, religions, physical abilities, sexual identities, gender identities and genders. Our commitment to our internal clients (employees) mirrors our commitment to our guests from all backgrounds.”

Yvonne Ruppert-Gordon, Director of National Accounts, Kimpton Hotels & Resorts

"We're excited about our new partnership with World Rainbow Hotels, which perfectly complements IGLTA's efforts to work with businesses around the globe that truly welcome gay travellers. Creating a hotel booking process that is more in tune with our community's needs can only lead to a better LGBT travel experience overall."

John Tanzella, President/CEO, IGLTA

World Rainbow Hotels is celebrating the website launch with a monthly competition (through to December 2012) to win two-night stays at their member hotels.

In August 2012, visitors to www.worldrainbowhotels.com have a chance to win a two-night stay for two people at the Hotel Ellington in Berlin, including continental breakfast. To enter this competition or check the next ones simply go to: http://www.worldrainbowhotels.com/offers/competition


About World Rainbow Hotels

World Rainbow Hotels is a carefully chosen collection of more than 850 gay & lesbian-welcoming hotels located in over 129 destinations worldwide. Hotels are approved into the program based on World Rainbow Hotels’ acceptance criteria, which analyze:

·                Hotel’s location

·                Hotel’s characteristics and category

·                Hotel’s knowledge of local gay-scene

·                Hotel’s current involvement with the LGBT community

·                Hotel’s compliance with non-discrimination policies and same sex benefits for their staff

Hotels belonging to more than 175 hotel brands have already signed up to the World Rainbow Hotels program including:
·       Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

·       Kempinski Hotels

·       Langham Hotels

·       Design Hotels

·       Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces

·       Fairmont Hotels

·       Raffles Hotels

·       The Peninsula Hotels

·       Thompson hotels

·       Morgans Hotels group

·       Kimpton Hotels

·       Langham Hotels

·       Joie de Vivre Hotels

·       Preferred Hotels & Resorts

·       Small Luxury Hotels of the World

·       The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

·       Rocco Forte Hotels

·       The Leading Hotels of the World

·       Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

·       Hilton Hotels & Resorts

·       InterContinental Hotels Group

·       André Balazs Properties

·       Caesars Entertainment


A number of iconic hotels in the LGBT community have also joined the program including:

·       The Lords South Beach Hotel, Miami Beach

·       The Standard Spa, Miami Beach

·       The  Elysium Hotel, Mykonos

·       The Mondrian Hotel, New York

·       St Martins Lane Hotel, London

·       Hotel Cram, Barcelona


For information about World Rainbow Hotels, please visit www.worldrainbowhotels.com or call us on +44 (0)845 004 9393 – ext 6534

To see examples of Out & About guides, check: www.worldrainbowhotels.com/Why-Book-With-Us/Out-and-About/

Interested affiliates can find out more information on: www.worldrainbowhotels.com/affiliates and hoteliers interested in joining can find out more via www.worldrainbowhotels.com/hoteliers

For press enquiries contact: David Guesdon, Business Development Manager, World Rainbow Hotels on: +44 (0) 8450 049393 Ext: 6534 or via david.guesdon@worldrainbowhotels.com

Website images, logos and photography can be provided on request.