food / travel
January 14, 2012
BERLIN - There are situations that gay men would rather not have to face when checking into a hotel. Such as when the lady at reception apologetically says they only have a room with a double bed and would that be okay? Or when she glances at the second man and asks: "Is he your brother?"
Gays could also do without the open-mouthed stares from other guests when, say, they stride through the lobby or breakfast room in form-fitting leather trousers. At least so says Dietmar Malcherek, the Mediterranean region product manager for Dertour, which specializes in individual travel. Malcherek is also gay. And together with his heterosexual colleagues Sonja Thiesing and Jens Reinhardt, he is the man behind the new 90-page catalogue that purports to list "the best addresses around the world for gays, lesbians and their friends."
Malcherek says that certified hotels particularly train staffers to give gay guests good advice and tips and avoid asking questions like the ones just cited.
The Dertour initiative is not a first on the German market – in 2009, reputed operator TUI published a 50-page magazine-style catalogue for men called "Gay & Travel." It came out four times, but the Hannover-based company has now stopped producing it – even if, said a spokesperson, "that target group continues to be of interest to us." They say they are working on a new approach, and meanwhile have integrated gay and lesbian travel into their country catalogues.
Dertour, which belongs to the REWE Group and says that it has been working on the idea of producing a separate catalogue for five years, has gone exactly the opposite way – they've taken the "gay friendly" and "gay only" hotels out of the country catalogues and grouped them in their "Gay Travel" catalogue.
Gay travel different from lesbian travel
By mid-January, the new Dertour publication will be in 10,000 travel agencies, some 80 of which are specifically devoted to gay travel. It contains travel ideas for "City Street Life," "Beach & Nature," and "Adventure, Fun & More." At some of the featured hotels, both homosexual and heterosexual guests are "very welcome," while other venues are specifically for gays and lesbians.
While there are some hotels exclusively for gays, lesbian-exclusive hotels are thin on the ground. "Lesbians don't behave the same way as gay men when they travel," says Malcherek. "Gay men travel more than lesbians do, and they tend to be more hedonistic – although gay women are catching up."
The catalogue lists 140 hotels, resorts and small hideaways in 30 countries, interspersed with nuggets about the Pink Lake Festival in Austria, gay-only Mediterranean cruises, a gay city tour of Tel Aviv, and more.
Avoiding "illegal" locations
Mediterranean hotspots like Ibiza, Capri, Mykonos, Sitges (near Barcelona) are of course listed, but there are also destinations further afield: Key West and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Palm Springs in California, Tulum (Mexico), Costa Rica and Curacao.
Countries like Morocco, Dubai, China and Malaysia are conspicuously absent. Homosexuality is illegal in these countries, so for a serious company seeking to offer its clients fun but also security there was no question of including them.
Even Thailand, which exercises a strong attraction for both gays and lesbians, is not included. Some of the hotels Dertour wanted to list asked not to be in the catalogue, and others, which agreed to be in the catalogue, tended more in the direction of sex tourism and so were not included.
Some Turkish hotels, such as the Hillside Su, are mentioned; but equally surprising is the absence of hotels in other places such as the upscale German holiday island of Sylt where not a single hotel agreed to be included. The word was that gay guests are welcome, but they don't want it published – even though it's an open secret that homosexuals are great fans of places like the Marin Hotel Sylt and Haus Hallig.
Dertour says that its figures show that 5 to 7% of Germans are homosexual, and that about 25% of them travel on a regular basis. (Germany's population is just under 82 million.) So while the market is relatively small, gays and lesbians typically have quite a high level of spending power.
"It was high time to put out a catalogue," says Malcherek. But does a long-established general tour operator have enough credibility to capture the market away from specialized operators? And can they get gays and lesbians to book through them rather than directly?
Just as not every gay is an Abba fan, not every gay travels – or travels frequently --, earns a lot, or will even opt for a "gay hotel": many gay couples prefer "normal" hotels.
It will be interesting to see how Dertour does in the gay travel industry, and if it can lure closet gays and lesbians as well. And yes, the catalogue will also be available on line.
Read the original article in German
Photo - Loren Javier
Die Welt ("The World") is a German daily founded in Hamburg in 1946, and currently owned by the Axel Springer AG company, Europe's largest publishing house. Now based in Berlin, Die Welt is sold in more than 130 countries. A Sunday edition called Welt am Sonntag has been published since 1948.
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Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
October 18, 2021
Welcome to Monday, where the UK pays homage to slain MP David Amess, Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, and Facebook gets ready to build its "metaverse." Please fasten your seatbelts: Worldcrunch also takes stock of the long-lasting effects — good and bad — the pandemic has had on the air travel industry.
[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Myanmar to free political prisoners: Myanmar's junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has announced the release of 5,636 prisoners who had been jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government in February 2021.
• Powerful Haiti gang behind the kidnapping of U.S. missionaries: The notorious 400 Mawozo gang is believed to be behind the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of Christian missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. The brazen kidnapping on Saturday comes as crime is spiking since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.
• UK to pay tribute to David Amess: British lawmakers will pay homage in parliament to colleague David Amess, who was stabbed to death Friday in what was described by the police as a "terrorist incident." Officers arrested a 25-year-old suspect whose father, Harbi Ali Kullane, worked as a media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia.
• COVID update: Russia has registered more than 34,000 cases of new infections in the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste used water cannons to clear striking dockworkers protesting Italy's new requirements that all employees be vaccinated.
• At least 26 killed in floods in India: Torrential rain has triggered floods and landslides in India's southern coastal state of Kerala, killing at least 26 people.
• Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to develop "metaverse": The U.S. social media giant plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to build a "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the company touts as the future.
• Punishing parents for children's bad behavior: After limiting gaming hours for minors, China is now considering legislation to reprimand parents if their children exhibit "very bad behavior" or commit crimes.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Colombian daily El Espectador dedicates its front page to Alex Saab, "owner of the secrets" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Colombian businessman, wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, has been extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. where he is scheduled to appear in court today.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
China's economy registered its slowest pace in a year as the country faces a looming energy crisis with power shortages and increasing pressure on its property sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period between July-September rose 4.9%, the weakest numbers since the third quarter of 2020 and significantly lower than forecasts. The world's second-largest economy faces a debt crisis linked to the China Evergrande Group debt crisis, while energy shortfalls have dropped factory output to its weakest since early 2020, when heavy COVID-19 curbs were in place.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
7 ways the pandemic may change the airline industry for good
Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.
⛽ Cleaner aviation fuel: With air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel. In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials
.🛃 Smoother check-in: The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.
✈️ The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less? At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel, in particular, is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"The crimes committed that night are unforgivable for the Republic."
— Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to commemorate the killing of as many as 200 Algerian independence protesters by Parisian police in 1961. For 40 years, French officials ignored the massacre, which took place a year before Algeria gained its independence from France after an eight-year war. In 2012, French President François Hollande acknowledged the killings for the first time on a visit to Algeria, and Macron took it further by attending Sunday's commemoration at the site where the events happened in the French capital. Still, many had hoped the French President would go further and take responsibility for a "state massacre," for a crime many historians consider the most violent repression of a peaceful demonstration in post-War Europe.
📈💥 IN OTHER NEWS
Low trust, high risk: The global rise of violence targeting politicians
The deadly stabbing of British Parliament Member David Amess confirms an ongoing study on trust and governance in democracies around the world: It's bad. In The Conversation, James Weinberg — the study's author and a lecturer in Political Behavior at the University of Sheffield — writes:
⏪ The assassination of Amess, who was stabbed to death in his constituency on Friday, is a tragic moment for democracy. What makes it even more devastating is that such a catastrophic failure is not without precedent or predictability. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot at her constituency surgery in 2016. Before her, another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, survived a stabbing in 2010. And Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councilor, died in a frenzied attack in 2001 while trying to protect local Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.
☝️ Beyond these critical junctures in the public debate about politicians' safety, elected representatives must live with an increasingly insidious level of popular cynicism that threatens violence on an almost daily basis.
🇬🇧🇳🇿🇿🇦 Not only are these experiences of abuse or threats of physical violence felt across both sides of the political aisle in the UK — they also appear to be growing more common in other democratic contexts where the climate of politics has been presumed to be both calmer and more volatile, from New Zealand to South Africa.
Read the full piece from The Conversation, now on Worldcrunch.com
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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