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Gay And Lesbian Tourism Trends


Gay and lesbian tourism becoming 'less ghetto-ized,' says travel show co-host

Feb 11, 2008

TORONTO - Finding a gay and lesbian-friendly travel destination doesn't mean having to focus on the well-known gay villages or tourism hotspots in urban centres anymore.

Charlie David, Canadian co-host of the American TV series "Bump," has found gay and lesbian-centric getaways in remote corners of the world as travel companies and governments cater to the culture.

"What I'm finding more and more and what we're discovering through the series is gay and lesbian life around the world is becoming less and less ghetto-ized, which is fantastic," David, who hails from Yorkton, Sask., said in a phone interview.

"I don't mean ghetto in kind of a derogatory type of term, just, you know, a group of people living together. They were developed out of being kind of safe havens for people in many ways, and now it's not as much needed."

"Bump," which kicks off its third season on Outtv in Canada this week, takes viewers to places and events that are of interest to the LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual - traveller.

David has been with the show since Season 2 and has journeyed to dozens of cities, some of which are hidden-gem vacation spots for LGBT tourists. Examples include a little fishing village in Brazil called Paraty, a ski resort in Telluride, Colo., and Calgary - one of David's favourites.

"Oh my gosh, I loved Calgary ... OK, I like cowboys," David, who is openly gay himself, laughed over the line from Los Angeles.

"But Calgary for me, I guess, being from Saskatchewan originally, it's very similar. It feels like home. But they are so friendly there. It is such a friendly city and we showcased the gay rodeo while we were there and to see the sportsmanship of those guys and gals out there riding the bulls and doing all their rodeo contests, it was crazy."

That's not to say the series doesn't highlight the more popular gay neighbourhoods and events like splashy pride parades. It's just that while there, David and his camera crew also seek out spots that are relevant to LGBT culture but not heavily promoted.

"I think the best example is when we did Paris, I didn't go and do a piece on the Eiffel Tower," said David, whose co-host is lesbian playwright Shannon McDonough.

"So pieces that I did there were a tour of Musee d'Orsay from a homosexual perspective in terms of which artists might have been gay or had that influence or through the art . . . Or a tour of Le Marais, which is almost like Church Street in Toronto, that type of thing."

With travel corporations creating gay and lesbian cruises, resorts and hotels, "it's more difficult to, in some ways, find some of those extremely gay-centric or gay-only type of neighbourhoods and places," said David.

"Buenos Aires was an amazing example of that, as well as throughout Scandinavia," he said.

"There, it's not like you'll have a Church Street (in Toronto) or a Davie Village in Vancouver or that type of thing. There are establishments that are either gay or lesbian-friendly, or gay-owned or lesbian-owned, throughout the whole city and it's not so much of, like, 'Oh, this is the only place that's safe for us,' which I think is a huge statement because that would not have been the scenario 20 years ago."

Government sponsorship is also helping, he said.

"There are places in Greenland that are really strongly advocating, you know, 'Hey, gay and lesbian tourists, come visit here. We're an open city, we're an open place, you can come dog sledding, you can have a completely different experience,' and that's awesome," said David.

canadianpress.google.com

Gay and lesbian tourism becoming 'less ghetto-ized,' says travel show co-host
bumptv.com



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