Following the release of a new study from Out Now Business Class (ONBC) of 2015’s top gay travel trends, we count down the 20 cities set to cause a stir in the (£200b a year) LGBTI tourism industry in 2015 – from long-established meccas to curveball newcomers…
20. Mexico City, Mexico
With a population of 20m (and pretty much all of them beautiful), Mexico City – which legalised same-sex marriage in 2010 – is a fast-rising star in LGBTI tourism, with Zona Rosa leading the charge as one of several vibrant gay quarters. Details of 2015’s Gay Pride Parade (the biggest in Latin America) have yet to be announced, but it usually takes place in June.
19. Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City is a new entry on ONBC’s list – unsurprising given its Boystown district (yes, that’s its real name!) was voted the world’s best gay neighborhood in January of this year. Next year’s Pride Festival takes place between June 20 and 21, and the parade is on June 28. Rock fest Lollapalooza takes place on July 18 in Grant Park.
18. Auckland, New Zealand
Another new entry, this NZ region is a pit stop for adventure travellers and Middle Earth enthusiasts alike – indeed, the entire country has seen a huge tourism boost over the last 15 years, what with the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies (some of the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours are driving distance from Auckland City). Gay Pride takes place from February 7 to March 1.
17. Miami, Florida
One of six US destinations on the list, this glamorous, ocean-residing blockbuster destination will be hosting Miami Beach Gay Pride from April 7-12, with 60,000+ queer travellers expected to seize the sunshine city. The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival follows from April 24 to May 3.
16. Cape Town, South Africa
Marketed as ‘the gay capital of Africa’, Cape Town is something of an oasis for LGBTI travelers who must tread very carefully elsewhere on the continent. Although homophobia is still rife, South Africa became the first African country to legalise gay marriage in 2006 and has come on leaps and bounds since. Gay Star News’s Jean Paul Zapata recently visited; his ‘5 terrifying and fun adventures in South Africa’ can be read here. Pride takes place from February 27 to 8 March.