Gay travel is alive and well. Ten years later, Philadelphia’s biggest fans and followers — many of whom were instrumental in helping us get on the travel map — are making big news themselves. Check out what’s new from the biggest newsmakers in gay travel.
Welcome Brand g
Charlie Rounds — the legendary man who helped invent LGBT travel on chartered ships when he and his fellow investors began RSVP Vacations — is leading a new company, Brand g. To no surprise, his first Danube River cruise is sold out.
What’s new? The company is working with local LGBT organizations in Prague and Bratislava to connect Brand g travelers with locals. For this voyage, there will be a special celebrity guest on hand: Czeslaw Walek, a community advocate and head of Prague Pride, which held its first annual event last year.
Brand g Vacations, owned by The Mark Travel Corp., serves gays, lesbians and straight allies. For more information about Brand g cruises and tours, visit www.brandgvacations.com.
What’s old is new again. Congratulations to Billy Kober and Ed Salvato, two pioneers of gay travel news for men. They are among the original team that developed Out and About, the travel newsletter that was mailed to you. (Imagine that, mail!) The inaugural issue of their new endeavor, ManAboutWorld, is available on iPad now. The first issue is free with a paid subscription. Find it in the Apple App Store.
Interestingly, this September marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of Out and About.
Show it off at Island House, Key West
Congratulations to Island House for celebrating 35 years of providing our community with a safe destination for sun, fun and relaxation. Owner Jon Allen has been a leading voice in LGBT travel worldwide and a driving force behind Key West retaining an identify that embodies the come-as-you-are mentality and have fun!
In just six months since civil unions became legal in the Aloha State, 186 civil unions have been recorded: That’s almost one per day. Hawaii is not only the perfect honeymoon destination, it is now becoming a destination wedding vacation. Bravo to The Sheraton Waikiki, which has introduced Phoenix at Rum Fire, an LGBT dance party occurring the last Sunday of every month. And don’t forget Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand is always going strong, seven days a week!
Philadelphia and R Family Vacations mark 10 years
Both Philly and R Family Vacations are celebrating 10-year anniversaries. The latter, the cruise company founded by Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli Carpenter in 2003, is continuing to make memories for families everywhere. R Family has already announced 2013 travel packages. Book now!
In Philly, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus are gearing up for a 10th-anniversary celebration in 2013. Stay tuned.
Jeff Guaracino is the vice chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.”