6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

Where to plan a gay-friendly getaway

6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

St. Petersburg, FloridaWhile Florida locales such as Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale continue to rise in popularity each year, according to a 2015 Community Marketing Insights survey of more than 3,700 self-identifying LGBT community members, lesser-known destinations like St. Petersburg are gaining traction. And with a lively downtown, beautiful hotels and Florida's largest gay pride event, St. Pete Pride, it's easy to see why the city is starting to emerge on the American LGBT visitor's map, says John Tanzella, president and chief executive of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. St. Petersburg is also home to a flourishing art scene, gay-friendly neighborhoods and hotels, and an abundance of nightlife options, from hipster hangouts to low-key pubs.



6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

Bogotá, ColombiaBeyond elevated gastronomy, a thriving culture and charming colonial buildings, South America's fourth-largest city is also gaining momentum among the LGBT crowd and all travel markets thanks to its flourishing economy, Tanzella says. Apart from its rapidly rising tourism, Bogotá houses a large LGBT community, Tanzella adds, pointing to the gay-friendly businesses, organizations and lodging options in the city, such as the Cali Marriott Hotel and the San Sebastian Hotel. Bogotá also features reputable outfitters, like Odretours International, which offers customized tours for LGBT travelers. And when it comes to nightlife, the city is buzzing with options, especially in the trendy Chapinero neighborhood, which hosts myriad nightclubs. Plus, Tanzella points out it's easy to tack on a side trip to fascinating nearby cities such as Medellin and Cartagena.



6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

Cape Town, South AfricaThis cosmopolitan city has a long history of luring travelers seeking a mix of adventure, culture and history. "It's gotten really hot," Tanzella says, pointing to the increasing number of LGBT safaris offered in South Africa that start or end in Cape Town. There's also an established and flourishing LGBT community in Cape Town, Tanzella adds. And in addition to LGBT-owned bars and nightclubs, the city offers a wealth of gay-friendly accommodation choices and outfitters. In fact, the 2016 IGLTA Annual Global Convention will take place from April 14-16 at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, offering educational workshops and networking opportunities for tourism buyers and operators in the area.



6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

Nashville, TennesseeMusic
City offers plenty of activities and nightlife options for
LGBT visitors, with its low-key honky tonks, drag shows with live music and gay-friendly
lounges peppering Church Street and up-and-coming East Nashville. As for lodging,
Nashville has a wealth of gay-friendly options, from the upscale Hermitage
Hotel to the Hampton Inn Suites Nashville Airport. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Nashville is
steadily growing in popularity. "For the first time . Nashville,
Tennessee, entered our survey into the top 20, which does show an overall trend
for a greater number of destinations participating in LGBT travel," says David Paisley, a senior research director at
Community Marketing Insights.



6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

MyanmarWith treasured temples, colonial architecture and underdeveloped areas, Myanmar offers plenty of enticing reasons to visit. "It's become accessible," Tanzella says. "We have a global partnership with Belmond," he adds, pointing to their spectrum of river cruise offerings offered from Bagan. The Belmond Road to Mandalay sailings along the Ayeyarwady River include expert-led tours and customized tours on culture and history-driven topics onboard. Best of all, the Belmond Governor's Residence, a high-end mansion-turned-hotel in the center of Yangon, offers a luxurious place to unwind after taking in Myanmar's sights and sounds.



6 LGBT-Friendly Places to Visit in 2016

MadridIn 2017,
Madrid will host Europe's largest WorldPride celebration from June 23 to July 2. And now is the time to take advantage of Madrid's diverse cultural and educational attractions, and flourishing night scene before more than a million revelers descend upon the city. Madrid is full of gay-friendly areas, including the thriving Chueca neighborhood, which is packed with nightclubs, shops and inviting accommodations. And then there's the city's abundant museums, palaces and bustling markets to explore by day and dazzling flamenco dancers, tapas spots and buzzy bars to take in after dark.