Travel diary

Posted on 15 May 2008 at 4:09pm
By Arnold Wayne Jones

GLBT travel expo returns to Anatole; Dallas CVB relaunches gay site

The Gay and Lesbian Travel Expo, last at the Anatole in November 2006, above, returns on Tuesday with dozens of gay-friendly travel purveyors competing for gay dollars. – ARNOLD WAYNE JONES/Dallas Voice



On May 20, the HX Gay and Lesbian Travel Expo returns to Dallas, the fifth stop on a 12-city tour.

The expo draws together dozens of merchants in the travel industry, all vying for gay dollars by touting their inclusiveness and commitment to diversity. As in previous years, attendees can obtain brochures and swag from a panorama of cities, nations, hotel chains, travel agents, airlines and tour companies. Each patron will also received a $50 travel voucher from Travelocity and will be entered to win a stay at the Alex Hotel in New York. A cruise from R Family Vacations will also be awarded for those completing an online survey.

Among those participating will be representatives from Wyndham Hotels, American Airlines, the Florida Keys and Key West, the Tourist Office of Spain, Yukon Pride Adventure Travel, TAM Brazilian Airlines and many more.

"It’s a great place for people to come and explore different travel options," says expo director Brian Devinney. "You’ll have everyone from Sonoma County to Qantas Airlines to Abercrombie & Kent. They’ll give you some different options and different ideas of what a vacation can be."

According to Divinney, a palpable benefit of the expo is to expose travelers to vacation options they may not have previously considered as being welcoming to gays.

"There might be someplace you’ve considered going but wondered if it’s a really, truly gay-friendly destination," says Devinney. "This is the place where you can really find out where you as a gay or lesbian person will be most comfortable. There are so many things now that the gay community has in terms of vacation options."

HX Gay and Lesbian Travel Expo, Hilton Anatole, 2201 Stemmons Freeway. May 20, 4–8 p.m. Free.

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau has formally launched its new Web site for gay travelers. The URL — GLBTDallas.com — is the same as that introduced in 2006, but the interface and features have been redone.

The Oak Lawn Ski Scuba Club of Dallas will be participating in the Diving for Life Scuba Jamboree, set to take place on Phi Phi Island in Thailand Oct. 18–25. Those interested in attending can visit Divingforlife.org or contact Mike Baxley at Olssc@olssc.org.

Ever go to camp as a kid — or want to — but were too sexually confused to know what to make of it? Apparently, you’re not the only one.

Now in it’s 12th year, "Camp" Camp is a real summer camp experience — but exclusively for GLBT adults. Set in the mountains of Maine, it includes traditional activities like biking, hiking, crafts, sports and theater — but also T-dances. As organizers say, it’s "sex-positive, but not sex-focused." But let’s face it: At least one advantage is being able to remember that romance you had one summer away from camp that your parents never knew about.

Campers range in age from 18 to 70, with a nearly 50-50 male-female split. All accommodations are taken care of. For more information, call 888-924-8380 or visit Campcamp.com.

Fort Lauderdale holds its first-ever nighttime parade and street party for June Pride, which takes place on June 21.

Olivia, the lesbian travel company known for its cruises, holds its "Women in Sports" cruise, scheduled to sail the Mexican Riviera starting Oct. 4. Guests on-board will include Billie Jean King and Grammy winner Paula Cole, with entertainment by comedian Vicki Shaw.

For those interested in going on an Olivia Cruise but without the vacation time — or money — for a weeklong extravaganza, Olivia has introduced a weekend vacation option targeted at younger lesbian seeking fun.

Called Olivia Flings, the program offers packages that match up hotels, clubs and nearby attractions so lesbian travelers can explore a domestic locale together (think of it as a cruise-ship "to do" list, only on land).

The debut fling takes place in Seattle, Aug. 28–Sept. 1, and will include a WNBA game with Sheryl Swoopes, and Leisha Hailey ("The L Word") will be in attendance. Las Vegas and Palm Springs are set to follow in the coming year. The cost for most flings will start around $900. Visit Olivia.com/fling for information.

Kimpton Hotels — which are represented in Dallas by the Hotel Palomar on Mockingbird Lane at North Central Expressway and the Hotel Lumen across from SMU — became earlier this year the first national lodging chain to have all its properties members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, the IGLTA.




This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 16, 2008.

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