Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter Party - Purchase Your Festival Pass by January 7 and Save!

As the end of the year approaches you can still save if you buy your Winter Party Festival tickets before 7 January 2009.


With around 10,000 guests from around the world for the 2009 Winter Party Festival if you are able to get to South Florida from 25th February to 2nd March 2009 - then this is the festival for you.

The Winter Party Festival is full of great events including nightly dance parties, cocktail receptions, art exhibits, an outdoor fashion show, a hot and happening pool party - these are just some of the highlights of this fabulous annual celebration in Miami Beach, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. And it all climaxes on the sands of South Beach at the 16th Annual Winter Party Beach Party.

For more information check out the Winter Party Festival website - www.winterparty.com

Rainbow Tourism can assist you with your travel plans to South Florida.

Contact the Rainbow Tourism concierge for assistance.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Zealand Gardens

The New Zealand climate means that Aotearoa has some of the best gardens in the world - showcasing a wide diversity of fauna and flora over the two main islands of the country and the various smaller islands. 


There are gardens of all varieties and type, public gardens and private gardens. You can explore any of them at your leisure or in a structured tour.

If you are visiting New Zealand and want to explore some of the private gardens then check out the website - www.gardenstovisit.co.nz

If you happen to be Auckland in March you can also visit gay, lesbian and their friends gardens as part of Heroic Gardens a fundraiser for various worthwhile causes. See their website at www.heroicgardens.org.nz

If you need any assistance for your New Zealand travel plans then feel free to contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

'Doggy heaven' for tourists and travellers and locals


One of the downsides of travelling is knowing where you can leave your dog safely.

Those of us lucky enough to live in Sydney, Australia now have a place where our dogs can have a holiday of their own.

Having been behind the scenes today I think the below press release best expresses this wonderful home away from home for dogs. In fact your dog may never want to leave.

PawPaws represents a new era in the temporary and long-term care of dogs, and is the only establishment of its kind in Australia. 

Built around a revolutionary ‘cage-free’ concept, PawPaws is designed to provide a home-away-from-home that finally meets the needs of both dog and owner; the extra care and attention means pets experience less trauma on being separated from their family, while owners need no longer feel concern or guilt over leaving their dog in a concrete prison while holidaying, travelling or renovating at home.

After passing health checks and behavioural assessments, the pampered pooches at PawPaws enjoy a nutritionally balanced gourmet diet, the attention of a personal Nanny, the privacy and comfort of their own plush Cubby, as well as ample opportunity to play and explore indoors as well as in the rooftop Sky Park.

For guests that deserve a little extra attention, a modern and stylish Salon and Spa provide grooming, massage and other wellbeing treatments; for those who have perhaps been spoilt a little too much already, a tailored diet and fitness programme can help to shift those unhealthy extra kilos, while ‘deportment courses’ provide extra stimulation and improve behaviour.

Described simply as ‘doggy heaven’, PawPaws is the brainchild and pet project (pun intended) of young female entrepreneur Mandy Richards, whose background includes working with a small business incubator as well as four years as National Marketing Manager for RSPCA Australia.   

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out in the Square - 28 February 2009

Out in the Square is Wellington's Gay and Lesbian Fair.  The date for the 
next fair has now been announced - mark 28 February 2009 on your 
calendar (as well as 7 March which will be our rain date).

Out in the Square showcases professional performers from the talented
rainbow (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender)  community and wider, 
features quality merchandise, fabulous food and sumptuous wine.  It’s an 
event for all ages of the community, a whole day of fun and frivolity set  against some great music in a great location!


Check our the Rainbow Tourism Wellington page for accommodation and more. If you need any travel assistance contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Big Apple Events as World AIDS Day Turns 20

If you happen toi be in New York this holiday weekend - where the Harvey MILK movie is selling out every showing - you may want to join the local community in noting World AIDS Day, Dec. 1st. Candlelight ceremony, viewing of the AIDS quilt, reading of the names, and moving words from re- representatives of the Keith Herring Foundation and the American Run for the End of AIDS (AREA).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Miami Beach runs up the rainbow flag


November 12, 2008:
As if South Beach weren’t already gay enough, the rainbow flag now flies over Miami Beach City Hall.

Mayor Matti Herrera Bower raised the flag on Monday, reversing a policy that had specifically forbidden the multi-colored banner. “I think that this is just another step to making a whole city, a city that really welcomes gays and lesbians,” she said.

Herrera said the gay flag will fly intermittently over government buildings, while businesses will likely keep it up year-round. The city commission hopes the largely symbolic gesture will be adopted by other jurisdictions in South Florida.

See the new South Florida section on Rainbow Tourism's portal if you want to head down to see the historic flag yourself. I recall Miami once had a gay mayor, about 25 years ago. He's probably smiling down on the city now. - Rainbow Dee

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spring Fling 2008 almost here - Sydney



Only a few days left until SPRING FLING 2008 and the online ticket price is now $30. Huh?


There are only a few days left until SPRING FLING @ The Polo Lounge & Supper Club (the Oxford Hotel, Darlinghurst) / Sunday 30 November 2008. And get this! We have dropped the single online price to $30 plus small booking fee.

But we didn’t stop there. We are determined to make this a huge success for the Luncheon Club as they will benefit greatly from a packed event. So here are the full savings if you buy 1 or more tickets.

BUY 1 x TICKET online for $30+bf (save $10 from door price)
BUY 2 x TICKETS online for $55+bf (save $25 from door price)
BUY 4 x TICKETS online for $100+bf (save $60 from door price)

These special offers are only available online at www.springfling.com.au NOW until the
event. 

WARNING!!!!! If you don’t buy online, you may have to pay full price on the door or even worse  SHOCK HORROR - miss out getting in the door!!!!

SPRING FLING will feature non-stop entertainment from 3pm this Sunday. The strong line up of DJs and other performers guarantees one hell of an afternoon to see out the Spring and welcome in the Summer. Make sure you’re there to check out the DJs that include -
Beefy Boy, Ian Spicer, Kate Monroe, Luke Leal, Guy Hornsey, Justin Scott, Mark Loasby, Stryker, Sandi Hotrod, Troy Cox, Mark Alsop, Jayson Forbes, Jimmy Dee, Scott Tanner and Jake Kilby, with the hot percussion styles of Rob Morrish. If that’s not enough, you’ll also experience new vocal sensations Tarina and Donne, with the super diva styles of Kaye Gordon. Ande Kindryd will get you laughing and J Bear and the J Cubs and The Aussie Pole Boys will delight and excite.

We urge you to "spring" in to action and get your tickets online right now at these incredible special online ticket prices. Goto www.springfling.com.au - buy one for you and one for your friend. Then buy one for another friend. Secure your tickets online now to avoid disappointment at the door.


Website & tickets www.springfling.com.au

So Spring into action - get to Oxford Street, Sydney this Sunday 30th November.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gay Family Travel Alternatives

Taking our families to meet their families...


Canadian based OUT Adventures today announced 8 new Family trips which are dedicated to LGBT parents with children above the age of 6. Trips will operate in Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, South Africa, Spain and Italy with a maximum of 14 passengers per departure.

“We recognized that LGBT parents are very interested in introducing their children to new cultures around the world,” says Co-Founder Robert Sharp. Robert’s partner and Co-Founder Steven Larkin adds “As well, we really wanted to offer gay and lesbian parents affordable travel options outside of traditional resort or cruise packages.”

Trips are tailored to meet the needs of families with children and all trips will have a strong focus on responsible travel by using locally owned hotels, restaurants and also interaction with local communities, both LGBT and mainstream.

The company is also leading this niche market by operating in a manner that contributes to the well being of the planet – from using green power in the OUT Adventures head office to including carbon emission off-setting in the cost of approximately 15% of its trips in its first year and in all trips by 2010.

In order to provide the best itineraries at the most affordable prices, OUT Adventures has partnered with one of the world’s leading adventure tour operators, Intrepid Travel which will allow OUT to contract with a global network of destination management companies under the Intrepid brand.

Trips are available directly through the OUT Adventures website at www.out-adventures.com and through its affiliate www.rainbowtourism.com. For more information please contact the Rainbow Concierge, who is personally familiar with OUT Adventures' tours.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting Away: Good Gay Travel Books Make Great Gifts



Tis the season to give - or buy one of these for yourself!  


by Raphael Kadushin, editor, plus A-List gay authors
Both for under $40!

I suffer from wanderlust myself, so this collection of travel tales written by several authors with the same affliction is a must-have stocking stuffer. Guess I'll buy a few copies, one for me and the rest  for those friends who vicarously travel from their comfy armchair.  Some reviewers have given these books *****.  How can you go wrong with good travel writing that also contains GLBT matter?!  

Happy Reading, Rainbow Concierge
P.S.  It's easy to order here from Amazon or Lambda Rising bookstore.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grecian Odyssey - Mykonos, Santorini & Athens

Greek Gods. Greek Temples. Sizzling Beaches and Sunets. Gay Nightlife.

A Perfect Comfort Week in Greece.







DAY 1 Athens-Mykonos (flight)
Arrive at Athens airport. Upon your arrival you will be met by our host to receive your documentation. You will then be directed to your flight to Mykonos. Arrive in Mykonos and transfer to your hotel. Stay overnight in Mykonos.

DAY 2 Mykonos

A day at leisure to laze on one of the island’s endless sandy beaches, wander the winding streets of Mykonos town or take an optional excursion to Delos. In the evening, join the exciting and world famous night life that attracts visitors from all over the world. Stay overnight in Mykonos.

DAY 3 Mykonos

Free day in Mykonos. Stay overnight in Mykonos.

DAY 4 Mykonos

Free day in Mykonos. Wander up to the Windmills, enjoy a great meal in one of the many cafes lining the old port in town and coffee afterwards in Little Venice. Overnight in Mykonos.

DAY 5 Mykonos – Santorini (ferry)

Transfer to the port for your ferry to Santorini. Arrive in Santorini and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Santorini.

DAY 6 Santorini

All day free on this enchanting island to revel in the breathtaking views, sizzling black beaches and glorious sunsets. Stay overnight in Santorini.

DAY 7 Santorini

A day at leisure to discover the many villages of Santorini. Overnight in Santorini.

DAY 8 Santorini - Athens (flight) & departure

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Athens. Arrive at the airport ready for your departure flight. End of our services.

INCLUDED SERVICES

7 nights in 3 star hotel accommodation including breakfast (3 nights in Santorini, 4 nights in Mykonos).
All ferry tickets mentioned in the itinerary.
Domestic flight ticket from Santorini to Athens.
All transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
All local taxes.

2009 PRICES IN EURO (per person)

3 Star Accommodation

2009 Prices - Period
01/04 – 31/05 S: 1290 D: 875 T: 855
01/06 – 30/06 S: 1225 D: 960 T: 915
01/07 – 31/08 S: 1870 D: 1185 T: 1090
01/09 – 30/09 S: 1670 D: 1065 T: 1010
01/10 – 31/10 S: 1290 D: 875 T: 855


Central Hotel in Athens
Mill Houses in Santorini
Marios Hotel in Mykonos
Or Similar

Departs everyday from April to October based on ferry & flight availability. For availability outside this period or for first class and deluxe accommodation upgrades please contact us.

For more tour options click here.

To book and for more questions please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge

Gay Greece: 9 Days Around Athens, Santorini & Mykonos

Glorious Greece. Suave Santorini.It's been a while since I visited - way before the Olympics in 2004 - but the call is still strong to return and see what I missed long ago. Lesbos, Delos, Crete and oh so many more temples - like the ones in this affordable adventure. Santorini and Mykonos should be gay-ly explored, of course.


-Rainbow Dee




DAY 1 Athens arrival

Upon your arrival to Athens airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Stay overnight in Athens.

DAY 2 Athens

Free day in Athens. Stay overnight in Athens.

OPTIONAL EXCURSION – HALF DAY ATHENS SIGHTSEEING TOUR

Pick up from your hotel and depart for Temple of Olympian Zeus (visit). Proceed to Panathinaiko Stadium cradle of the first Olympic Games took place in 1896 (short stop). Pass by the Prime's Ministers residence, Ex Royal Palace, (guarded by colourful Evzones) Zappion (Conference and Exhibition Hall), National Garden, Hadrian's Arc, St. Paul's Church, Parliament, Tomb of the Unknown soldier, Schlieman's House (Nomismatic Museum), Catholic Cathedral, Academy, University, National Library, Old Parliament, Constitution Square ,Russian Orthodox Church, Acropolis (visit Propylaea, Temple of Athena Nike, Parthenon, Erechtheion and Museum of the Acropolis ). Transfer back to your hotel.

Price: 52 Euro per person.

DAY 3 Athens – Santorini (ferry)

Transfer to the port for the ferry to Santorini. Arrive in Santorini and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Santorini

DAY 4 Santorini

All day free on this enchanting island to revel in the breathtaking views, sizzling black beaches and glorious sunsets. Stay overnight in Santorini.

DAY 5 Santorini

A day at leisure to discover the many villages of Santorini. Overnight in Santorini.

DAY 6 SantoriniMykonos (ferry)

Transfer to the port for your ferry to Mykonos. Arrive in Mykonos and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Mykonos.

DAY 7 Mykonos

A day at leisure to laze on one of the island’s endless sandy beaches, wander the winding streets of Mykonos town or take an optional excursion to Delos. In the evening, join the exciting and world famous night life that attracts visitors from all over the world. Stay overnight in Mykonos.

DAY 8 Mykonos

Free day in Mykonos. Wander up to the Windmills, enjoy a great meal in one of the many cafes lining the old port in town and coffee afterwards in Little Venice. Overnight in Mykonos.

DAY 9 Mykonos - Athens (flight) & departure

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Athens. Arrive at the airport ready for your departure flight. End of our services.

INCLUDED SERVICES
8 nights in 3 star hotel accommodation including breakfast (2 nights in Athens, 3 nights in Santorini, 3 nights in Mykonos).
All ferry tickets mentioned in the itinerary (Santorini-Mykonos).
Domestic flight ticket from Mykonos to Athens.
All transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
All local taxes.

2009 PRICES IN EURO (per person)

3 Star Accommodation
2009 Prices - Period
01/04 – 31/05 S: 1490 D: 965 T: 905
01/06 – 30/06 S: 1635 D: 1030 T: 970
01/07 – 31/08 S: 1925 D: 1195 T: 1085
01/09 – 30/09 S: 1825 D: 1130 T: 1045
01/10 – 31/10 S: 1490 D: 965 T: 905


Central Hotel in Athens
Mill Houses in Santorini
Marios Hotel in Mykonos

Or Similar

Departs everyday from April to October based on ferry & flight availability. For availability outside this period or for first class and deluxe accommodation upgrades please contact us.


For more tour options click here.

To book and for more questions please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Manila Pride March - 6 December 2008

If you are in Manila on December 6th why not check out the Pride March. This is a local event organised by the local gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in Manila.


The Philippines is an interesting country to visit with some of the most beautiful beaches e.g. Boracay Beach and many islands to explore and the people are generally helpful and friendly.

The Philippines is a very friendly country for English speaking tourists - you will have no difficulty communicating with the local population. While there is always reported risks in travelling in the Philippines if one follows some basic precautions then you should have an enjoyable and inexpensive holiday.

Manila metropolitan area itself is a very congested (and polluted - which is why the sunsets are so fantastic) with modern high rises and shopping complexes and areas of poorer housing and redevelopment.Link

Manila Pride Website: www.manilapride2008.com and Facebook

If you need any travel assistance then please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oh Canada, Oh Gay Canada














Canada: 2008 Gay Country of the Year


  • In July 2005, became 4th country in the world to legalize same sex marriage.

  • Attitude: So and so is gay? So what?

  • Even the Yukon's 33k pop has a pride travel company!

  • Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver can all claim to have hosted the IGLTA convention (twice), the Gay Games (1990) and World Outgames (2011).
Vancouver: Australia aside, BC is on my top 5 list of places I have wanted to explore and enjoy like a local. Crisp mountain mornings, spectacular sunsets, best nude beach in world, and some pretty outstanding gardens, mountains and museums.

West Van: highest concentration of gays than anywhere.
East Van: where the women flock along Commercial Drive.
North Van: where the people with two homes live during nice months.

2010 Winter Olympics aside, the Whistler-Blackcomb peaks mountain and the village are no more special than Colorado or the Adirondack National Park (which has twice hosted the winter games). Nevertheless, Whistler is Canada's #1 rated winter resort, and the skiing and snowboarding are olympic quality.With luck, Canada will be #1 Gay Country again when it hosts the 2011 World OUTgames. I first competed in the Gay Games in Vancouver in Celebration '90 as young racquetballer. In the OUTgames, I'll be eligible for the senior division of the Eco Challenge and the senior golf championships:>)


*** Canadians who are members of IGLTA who can help you find your way to the Yukon & Beyond, to the Winter Pride Festival, and to those other olympics in 2010 include:


G&L Booking Portals

GayVan
Rainbow Tourism.com

G&L Event Planners

Gay Whistler/Alpenglow Productions

G&L Tour Operators

OUT Adventures
Yukon Pride Adventures

G&L Info Portals

Girlports
BQueer

Monday, October 27, 2008

USA New Entry Requirements

If you are travelling to the USA on 12 January 2009 or after you will need a Electronic Travel Authorization if you normally apply for entry under the USA Visa Waiver Program.


You will need to apply at least 72 hours before you travel for this authorisation to the USA (or even transit through the US) - without it you won't be able to board you plane.

For more details check the Department Homeland Security website -


The good news is the authorization will last for 2 years (or till your passport expires).  You will still need to complete entry documentation on arrival in the USA.

(Photo courtesy of freefoto.com)


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Les Alebrijes Festival - 6 to 9 November 2008


Les Alebrijes is a brand new enterprise focused on lesbian art & tourism in Mexico. 

On November 6th- Les Alebrijes -  the 1st Lesbian Arts Festival in Mexico is happening in  Puerto Vallarta.

Visitors will enjoy painting, sculpture, music and more from important Mexican artists. 

If you happen to be heading to Mexico this year then check out more details on their website - www.lesalebrijes.com

If you need travel assistance please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Australia and New Zealand have never been cheaper


With the dramatic drop in the Australian and New Zealand dollar a trip down under hasn't been as cheap for a long time.

So how many dollars can you get for your trip downunder.

On current rates:

USD 1000 and you will have over NZD 1600 or AUD 1500

CAD 1000 and you will have over NZD 1300 or AUD  1200

EUR 1000 and you will have over NZD 2100 or AUD  1900

GBP 1000 and you will have over NZD 2700 or AUD  2400

And remember all the prices shown on the Rainbow Tourism site for Australia and New Zealand include all taxes and are displayed in AUD or NZD. 

Tips and gratuties are not expected in Australia and New Zealand and as a rule of thumb should only be given for excellent service. 

So this means when you see a price on Rainbow Tourism you don't need to add any local taxes (unless explicity stated) or add any service fee or gratuties to the price.

Money tips  - some useful links



Friday, October 24, 2008

Bloggers Welcome - All Stories welcome

We are always looking at ways to expand our blog and provide interesting travel tips and stories.


If you have an great travel tip or story then feel free to drop us an email.

If you want to be a regular (or irregular) blogger on one of our three travel blogs (we are adding more themed ones in the future) then contact us and we can set you up. 


The Sydney Outfielders Gay & Lesbian Softball - 8 November


If you are Sydney on the 8th November join the Sydney Outfielders in Randwick for a night of bowling.

A fund-raising event to send Sydney Outfielders men's and women's teams to the World Outgames in Copenhagen, Denmark in August 2009.

Cost: $23.50 per person includes 2 games plus shoes
Parking: Free customer parking in Randwick Plaza (Coles)
Where: AMF Bowling Centre in Randwick, 130 Belmore Road
When: Saturday 8 November 2008
Time: 8pm-10pm

Join us and bring your friends! Reserve your spot(s) with a team member of the Outfielders. Places are limited.

Services and Facilities
26 Bowling Lanes Café seating for 50 people Fully licensed bar Amusement machines and pool tables

50% of the proceeds of the cost go to the Sydney Outfielders. The money is used to assist in subsidising team member’s costs to participate in the World Outgames in Copenhagen in August 2009.

Contact Sydney Outfielder for more information.

And if you can't make it don't forget to buy some raffle tickets in their great raffle.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Adventure Travel for Lesbian & Gay Explorers Comes of Age ...

...with green tours and global destinations.

GOA (Great Outdoor Adventures from San Francisco) and Ms. Adventures (Colorado whitewater rafting trips) are two of the earliest adventure tour operators who pioneered that niche within IGTA - back in the 80s.

By the time the organization added the L word in the 90s, several more adventure tour operators sprung up on both sides of the equator.

Today, 25 years after our fledgling gay tourism industry began, a new wave of adventure trips are being created by fresh new gay and lesbian owned companies. Many of them paid their dues working for some of the leading adventure companies, and have now ventured out on their own.

One such success story is OUT Adventures, based in Canada. Intrepid Travel may not be a household word to you, but it is in Australia, New Zealand and now Canada. Intrepid Canada is run by the cofounder of OUT Adventures, and Intrepid NZ just announced its lesbian and gay tour division.




















Intrepid Dee




On a personal note, these new RainbowTourism.com affiliates make me want to revive my Ms. Adventures company and become a Tour Ambassador for these truly exciting eco trips!

--DownUnder Dee & Rainbow Tourism Concierge
(formerly Ms. Adventure)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gold Coast - 30 kms of beach and more


This week I visited the Gold Coast, Australia to explore the opportunities for gay and lesbian visitors.

With a short two day visit and a presentation it didn't leave much time to explore the kms of beaches and the wonderful restaurants and cafes but it did give a taste of what is a wonderful holiday destination.

Staying at the Ultra Broadbeach self service apartments I had access to all the facilities you could want - swimming pool, gym, cinema, tennis court and more - with Broadbeach just across the road and a wide choice of cafes a short 5 minute walk away. 

I also explored a number of Dreamtime Resorts self serviced apartments:
  • Reflection Two - at the southern end of the Gold Coast
  • The Chancellor Executive Apartments at Varsity Lakes
  • Pacific Views Resort on Main Beach
All offer a different experience but all offer modern, well furnished apartments located in walking distance of wonderful food and restaurants.

The final stop was at the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove. A very private location with a small village beside the hotel offers the traveller very affordable full service luxury. From the moment you enter the grounds of the hotel you are treated to a very Hyatt experience mixed with a warm Queensland attitude.

Finally I have to mention Red Back Rentals who have a great range of luxury, vintage and convertible cars available. 

The other great news about the Gold Coast is that getting there is so easy and affordable with great airfares from Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand. 

The other good news all the accommodation is reasonably priced and the only high season is school holidays and in winter you will find the temperatures still very mild.

So if you are looking for a great holiday with your friends, partner and/or children then why not consider the Gold Coast.

While we add all these new options to our site please do contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge for a great holiday experience.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sea to Sky in Style

Vancouver is Gay-Fabulous!


I don't know where to begin - and it's not like this is my first time to Vancouver, Whistler and Vancouver Island. There is just so much to say - and others have described it so well that I'm going to paraphrase...

  • From crisp mountain mornings to spectacular seaside sunsests, Canada is all about variety.
  • The key to this great country (where gays and lesbians can legally marry) is to tap into its diversity.
  • No matter if you're a ZipTrek thrill seeker, massage/spa/yoga hedonist or an avid photographer, you're not likely to be disappointed.
No tourists wanted. Come to explore and Travel Gay Canada.

This (frequent) visitor's choice is British Columbia and the host cities of the 2010 Winter Olympics -
Vancouver and Whistler.

I was on my way here for a travel conference and expo when I met the sales rep for Four Seasons Resort at Whistler in my NYC travel agency. I accepted his offer to check out Canada's only AAA Five Diamond Resort in a New York minute! An Olympics buff, I wanted to see for myself where the events will be taking place and buy some souvenirs with the Olympic emblem and Whistler logo. TH\he Four Seasons is nestled beneath the legendary Blackcomb Mountain (loved by elite skiers the world over). The peak was covered with fresh white-sugar powder upon arrival for a picture postcard photo opp.

Dean Nelson, Mr. Whistler, gave me a personal tour of the village which is host to the annual Gay Ski Week which Dean's company produces.

Together, we joined other international bloggers on a VIP tour of the Four Seasons, led by their savvy PR manager, Elena, who I learned spent sometime in Melbourne Australia at the same time I was living downunder. I was glad she encouraged me to book a relaxing treatment in the spa the night before; great relaxation room with a view of the heated outdoor pool and hot tub.

After my hearty breakfast, I was ready for the tour of the resort's beautiful grounds and interior ambience - with a deetour to the golf course across the street. (My night before dinner at the award-winning bistro - where breakfast was also served - was incredible and lived-up to its reputation.)

Whistler Mountain and Whistler Village (which reminded me of my hometown Aspen) combines the pleasures of a winter wonderland with superb golf and wilderness activities in the warmer months. If you haven't been, don't wait till 2010!

Right now, the olympic venues and village are 2.5 hours from YVR International Airport - but the highway is being reworked to save an hour. The construction will be done well before 2010, so local skiers can get up to the slopes quicker for practice before qualifying for the games.

My recommendation if you're going between Whistler and Vancouver or the airport is to use Perimeter Whistler Express for an easy, comfortable ride in a clean private coach. Alternatively, the Whislter Mountaineer rail trip for $185 is worth it if you want to ride for 3 hours in an observatgory car for the sea to sky views like no where else! Of course, if you own your own floatplane or have a private helicopter, you can get there that way too. Rocky Mountain High!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Which city in Australia would you most like to visit?

 Expedia Poll Results 
Map of Australia Western Australia Northern Territory South Australia Queensland New South Wales Victoria Tasmania
  • Sydney 52%
  • Melbourne 31%
  • Perth 11%
  • Hobart 6%
  •           

    All backwards, says this former Tasmanian!  Next trip down under, I'm headed to Perth.  
    Map of New Zealand
    If they had asked the same question about New Zealand?
    • Auckland ?
    • ChristChurch?

    I'm most fond of the North Island, other than the finer wines and Maori jewellery and Porstige being from the South Island!

    Air New Zealand has just the ticket for Canadians wanting to travel downunder.  
    See their new marketing message about travelling the world exactly the way you are...at www.airnewzealand/gayandlesbian.

    Wherever you decide to travel in Australia or New Zealand, you can make your bookings online fast and easy at Rainbow Tourism's one-stop, secure booking engine with the same rates as if you went direct to the gay owned and gay welcoming suppliers.  



              

    Saturday, October 11, 2008

    TasPride Festival 2008 - 1 to 16 November 2008

    TasPride is happening in the first two weeks of November.


    If you haven't been to Tasmania but always wanted to then head to Hobart this November and join with the locals at TasPride.

    November 1 sees the start of TasPride with a Halloween Party and ends on November 16th with TasPride Festival Family Picnic Day

    Check out more details on the TasPride wesbite.

    If you need accommodation, tours or other travel assistance check out the Rainbow Tourism Tasmania places page or feel free to contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Caribbean Islands - Where do you recommend?

    This week we had the following inquiry:
    My BF and I are thinking about going to the Caribbean on vacation soon. Can you advise me what is that best island to visit as far as being gay friendly and having the most nightlife and beautiful beaches catering to Gays?
    About.com has some suggestions where they suggest the five most gay friendly islands.

    • St Barts
    • St. Martin/St. Maarten
    • Puerto Rico
    • U.S. Virgin Islands 
    • Curacao
    If you look at the IGLTA website those sites with the most IGLTA members from these five are from top to bottom:


  • Curacao
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands 
  • St. Martin/St. Maarten
  • St Barts

  • We would love our readers thoughts on this topic so please feel free to answer the questions below using our comment section. 

    • What is your  favourite Caribbean Island?
    • The best gay night life
    • The best gay beaches
    • The best island for lesbians
    • The best island for Rainbow Families

    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    Air New Zealand - Great Service Wins Out

    The 2008 Conde Nast Travellers Awards has rated Air New Zealand as the top airline flying between Australia and New Zealand to North America in both the Long Haul Leisure and the Business class award sections. (Air New Zealand comes in at number 6 across the whole world).

    This doesn't surprise me as my Sydney to New Zealand flights with Air New Zealand have all been a pleasure due to the good customer service and the passion of the staff.

    In addition in August I travelled to San Francisco with Air New Zealand and was pleasantly surprised with the experience.

    Unlike North American airlines, Air New Zealand has followed the Asia route of travel and increased services for all travellers.

    The flight from Auckland to San Francisco gave me the opportunity to try out their new entertainment system which allows you to watch movies of your choice or listen to music and more from the moment you are seated on the plane right to you reach the gate at the other end. This service is currently only on their long haul flights but is been introduced progressively on the Trans Tasman service. 

    Flying in Pacific Economy the quality of food and general level of service was excellent on both the three hour flight from Sydney to Auckland and on the twelve hour flight from Auckland to San Francisco. 

    Been a New Zealander living in Australia it was great to be able to catch up on some New Zealand TV shows on the in flight entertainment system but there was plenty to choose from no matter what you were interested and of course there is always the games. 

    Oh the best bit about the TV screens is that rather than making announcements and interrupting the entertainment system they simply put a text message on the top of the screen to let you know such things as what the meal selection was, etc. 

    Basically the only announcements were the one at the beginning when they welcomed you aboard, followed by the safety message then the announcement when we landed. This is something other airlines could emulate.

    In-Flight Concierge

    When I originally heard that Air New Zealand had introduced an in flight concierge on their long haul flights I had thought what would they do. However on the return flight from San Francisco I talked with the concierge and found out how they can assist.

    Some of the key things they can do is assist with queries about your destination, custom clearance information, connection information and much more. One crucial thing they do is if for any reason the flight is delayed they will assist you with your connections to make sure you get where you are going. You will find the concierge very knowledge and they are available to all passengers no matter whether you are flying economy, premium economy or business class.

    Premium Economy

    There is nothing nicer than handling your passport over at check in and been told you have been upgraded. This happened to me on the return flight from San Francisco so I had the opportunity to experience Air New Zealand Premium Economy.

    Been used to flying economy - the reality when you are a small tourism company - it is always a pleasure to be upgraded.

    The biggest difference is the additional leg room on the seats and the ability to recline 50% more than economy seats. This certainly allows you to sleep comfortably.

    The other major difference is that the food and beverage service is the same as business class. While the economy food and beverage service is excellent the additional service in Premium Economy will make your mouth water.

    Air New Zealand Staff

    The airline staff are the best reason to fly Air New Zealand. They are a real asset to the airline and their relaxed and friendly manner mean that you feel like a welcome guest aboard the plane. It is amazing the difference this makes to how you feel about the airline.

    Feedback
     
    Air New Zealand is also proactively seeking feedback on flights. Talking with the crew on the flight it was clear that if there was an issue on the flight if they could fix it they would otherwise they would note it and it would be fixed as quickly as possible. The other place to provide feedback is the AirNZMyVoice.co.nz website.
     
    Rainbow Tourism Recommendation

    So for your next trip to New Zealand or Australia I would strongly recommend flying with Air New Zealand. You may also want to consider flying Premium Economy - you can actually decide to fly one way Economy and the other way Premium Economy if you budget doesn't stretch to both ways.

    Air New Zealand are also offering some great flight deals from North America at the moment so why not check out the Air New Zealand website, book your flights, then book your accommodation on the Rainbow Tourism Website. If you want a real treat then why not let Rainbow Tourism book your whole trip and for a real taste of New Zealand try one of our new Local and Landscape packages.

    If you need any more assistance please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

    North American Marketing Begins in Canada

    Greetings from one of the gayest cities in North America, the lovely and exciting Vancouver, BC.
    Over the years, I have visited the city for Federation of Gay Games and IGLTA events. Now I'm here for the Annual G&L World Travel Expo and trade marketing seminar put on by Community Marketing, Inc.

    I have also been here on holiday with women friends and was pleased to learn through CMI research that Vancouver is the #1 destitnation for North American lesbians. I hope to spot a few of them out and about over the next two weeks, as I make my way up to Whistler Mountain. Not only do I want to check out Winter Pride (Whistler Gay Ski Week's new name), but also the Four Seasons which is already geared up for the Winter Olympics in 2010 with their primo location at the foot of the ski runs.

    Friday, October 03, 2008

    Sydney - New Years Eve - Book Your Accommodation now

    Sydney on New Year's Eve is always a great place to be with fireworks on the harbour and lots of partying.

    The bad news is Sydney accommodation is always booked out. With less than three months to go now is the time to book your accommodation.

    Most of gay owned and Rainbow Tourism Accredited properties are booked out but you can book some of the following Sydney hotels.


    If you need any assistance or can't find what you are looking for please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Get your tickets for Sleaze Ball this weekend

    This weekend is the annual Sleaze Ball in Sydney.


    Mardi Gras has advised tickets are selling fast so don't miss out buy your ticket now. 

    So grab your ticket now and if you need accommodation then check out the Rainbow Tourism site for details.

    Rainbow Tourism Turns 4; Opens office in NA

    In the beginning, www.rainbowtourism.com was focused on a single region – the South Pacific – and on delivering products for a niche audience – gay and lesbian visitors to Australia and New Zealand.

    Today, the range of global tourism products offered on the gateway portal stretches from Toronto to Timbuktu! And the company has opened an office in North America to assist operators with reaching the gay and lesbian traveler with online marketing techniques. Peacock Tourism Marketing, a division of Rainbow Tourism International, now has a presence in both New York and Vancouver.

    Since the launch in 2004, every operator listed on the site has gay or lesbian owners or has been certified as “gay friendly” under a monitored Rainbow Tourism Accreditation program (RTA).

    No other online booking service has as many genuine gay and gay welcoming accommodation and tour operators.

    Visitors can book lodging to limousines through the user-friendly and secure online booking system. Accommodation ranges from budget to luxury in cities and rural tourism regions, and tours include rail, cruise, adventure and wine trips.

    Although RainbowTourism.com is not an online travel agency, overseas travelers can also book RainbowTourism properties and tours via their travel agent at the time of booking airfares.

    Reservations can also be made via affiliated website like GayVan and BQueer in Canada, Q Guide and The Pink Guide in Australia, and agencies in USA like Kennedy Travel and LifeJourneysVacations.

    Although Rainbow Tourism has just turned 4, the company directors have more than 25 years experience in gay and lesbian travel industry and previously owned and operated various websites dedicated to gay and lesbian tourism.

    1. For operators, high site visits and international exposure to gay and lesbian travelers are the main benefits. Rainbow Tourism’s North American division, called Peacock Tourism Marketing, helps operators with online marketing and representation services.

    2. For visitors, the site is a centralized shop for booking a colourful collection of Rainbow Places, Rainbow Events and Rainbow Tours

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    Tourism Central Australia Award Winner

    From Phil Walcott at the Rainbow Connection, Alice Springs

    Just wanted to let you know how honoured & delighted I was to be presented with the Industry Achiever Award at the annual Tourism Central Australia awards night here in Alice Springs on Friday night. TRC was nominated in one category and I was nominated in two. Being nominated in three categories was a huge honour in itself. That the award was presented by Jeff Huyben (GM Voyages Alice Springs Resort - a long-term GALTA member and proud supporter of the local gay & lesbian communities) was a tremendous added bonus. Thanks, Jeff.
     
    Being somewhat overwhelmed by this honour, I forgot to mention in my acceptance the huge influence that the teams from Tourism NT, Territory Discoveries and Tourism Central Australia play. All three 'tiers of tourism' are filled with some tremendously talented & gifted professionals dedicated to bringing the 'experience' of Central Australia to our national and global visitors. The passion with which they undertake their roles is remarkable and they need to be recognised as industry achievers in their own right. My sincere thanks to all of you that contribute so significantly to the development and maintenance of the tourism industry in the NT. That the gay and lesbian tourism markets are recognised & encouraged so well in this jurisdiction is a significant achievement. The continuing growth of the GALTA presence & membership in the NT demonstrates the success of your support.
     
    My congratulations to the other winners on the night ( Young Achiever - Jayde Scheidegger - Aurora Alice Springs, New Tourism Innovation - Alice Springs Desert Park Nocturnal Tour, Primary Tourism Operator - Glen Helen Resort, Communitry Festivals & Events - Tattersalls Finke Desert Race and the coveted Barry Bcholtz Award for Excellence so deservedly won by Brendan Heenan - MacDonnell Range Holiday Park) as well as the other nominees in all categories. Together, we all bring a special influence to our part of the world. It is such an honour & privilege to be part of that.
     Congratulations Phil from Mark & Dee at Rainbow Tourism. 

    If you always wanted to visit Alice Spring then check out the Northern Territory page for details and if you need any assistance please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Hamilton Pride Week from 27 September

    The annual Halmiton Pride week commences tomorrow with the launch at Shine Nightclub


    This includes the showing of the film - Through Rainbow Coloured Glasses

    There are a lot more events in the week - something for everyone so check out the Hamilton Pride Website

    If you are a local then make sure you get along. 

    Hamilton for the visitor is less than two hours from Auckland, or just over a couple of hours from Rotorua.

    If you need accommodation, travel or assistance then check out the Hamilton page on Rainbow Tourism or contact the Concierge.



    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    Feast Festival - 15 to 30th November 2008

    Feast is Adelaide's annual lesbian and gay festival and occurs every November.


    Feast has a number of events including it's annual Picnic in the Park, theatre and parties.

    The feast annual programme will be out later this month.



    Saturday, September 06, 2008

    Perth Pride: Fairday 28th September


    Fairday is always the ideal start to Pride Month, with our entire community coming together to celebrate our Pride in a relaxed and festive setting that enables businesses, community groups and government agencies to interact through stalls, events and ongoing entertainment.

    Live bands, cabaret singers and dancers keep the crowds entertained throughout the day. Families can picnic on the lawn beneath the shade of the Russell Square trees.

    When: Sunday, 28th September, 2008 11am until 6:30pm 
    Where: Russell Square, Northbridge - The Home Of Pride 

    How Much: 
    $10 General
    $5 Concession Holders & Pride Members
    FREE Under 18

    Facilities:  Food and Drinks will be on sale. A bar will be available. Toilets are on-site.
    What to Bring: Picnic Blankets, Umbrellas, Cushions, Sunscreen. (No BYO Alcohol).

    More details on the Perth Pride Website if you need travel assistance or accommodation check out Rainbow Tourism's Perth page or contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Womenfest Key West September 2008


    From the 2nd to 7th September women will be flocking to the WomenFest in Key West.

    With a wide range of events women from Florida, USA and around the world will enjoy a week of music, dance, conversations and friendships.

    For more details check out the WomenFest website.

    If you need any travel assistance please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Air New Zealand - Lower Airfares

    Airfares have been increasing with the price of fuel so it was great news to read the following:

    Trans-Tasman fares to be slashed by up to 50 per cent


    It is all good news for travel between Australia and New Zealand with Air New Zealand dropping their airfares. You can be sure other airlines will follow.

    So now is a great time for those living in Australia and New Zealand to take the 3 hour trip across the ditch and explore each other's countries.

    Rainbow Tourism has all of Australia and New Zealand covered and we suggest you check out the various destinations -

    Outside the major centres why not check out

    Napier - the Art Deco city - and the great Hawkes Bay Wineries.
    Nelson - great beaches, great outdoor regions but also a lot of local artisans.
    Hunter Valley - Explore the wineries
    Sunshine Coast - Beaches but amazing hinterland

    Do you have any favourite Australia or New Zealand destinations - let us know by leaving a comment below.

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Sydney Outfielders off to Out Games


    Sydney Outfielders are off to the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen

    Rainbow Tourism is really excited to offer sponsorship to Sydney Outfielders and has offered two great travel prizes within Australia.

    Sydney Outfielders is running a raffle with these prizes.

    Help support Sydney Outfielders
    to compete in..

    Copenhagen at the World Outgames 2009

    Ticket Prices - $5 each or 3 for $10 - Contact Sydney Outfielders for tickets.

    1st Prize: 7 nights accommodation at your choice of 7 properties in Tropical North..
    Queensland
    including return airfares for two to Cairns..
    (Maximum value $3000 and valid for 12 months).. donated by Rainbow Tourism

    2nd Prize: Accommodation for two people for 2 nights at Twin Trees Country Cottages..
    in the Hunter Valley, 3 day sports car hire and a fuel voucher..
    (Maximum value $1000 and valid for 12 months).. donated by Rainbow Tourism

    3rd Prize: Jet cruiser tour of Sydney Harbour for 4 people..
    (Value $200 and valid for 6 months)..

    Ticket Prices - $5 each or 3 for $10 - Contact Rob - outfielderssoftball@yahoo.com - 0410 538 364

    Rainbow Tourism is committed to providing support to the gay and lesbian community and welcomes approaches for sponsorship. While we are not always able to assist we will always look at what we can do.

    Finally if you are travelling to Copenhagen feel free to contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge for assistance.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Spring Fling Dance Party - Cairns - 29 August 2008

    Party & Play in Paradise

    Come and get springalicious

    Friday 29 August 2008

    Spring Fling 2008 - Cairns

    SPRING FLING DANCE PARTY

    Spring Fling has had a spring clean and
    we’re coming to a city near you!

    Be the first to experience
    Spring Fling fever in Cairns

    All welcome – Guys, Girls, Couples, Singles

    Check out our new website and events

    BOOK NOW! Do Not Miss Out -

    www.springfling.com.au

    Need any help with accommodation please contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008

    Air New Zealand - Gay & Lesbian Travel

    Air New Zealand have launched a gay and lesbian travel page.

    Air New Zealand are members of IGLTA and join a growing number of airlines who have a specific gay and lesbian travel page.

    If travelling to New Zealand then you may want to consider Air New Zealand for your flight. You will find links to them and other airlines for the region on Rainbow Tourism's airline page.

    Sunday, August 03, 2008

    Reservation Choices On and Offline

    Overall, only a small proportion of domestic or foreign travelers used the services of a travel agent in the last 12 months: 18% of total adult travelers and 13% of travelers in the gay/lesbian group.


    A notable proportion of GLBT travelers (35%) visited online travel websites or used their time online to obtain information or make travel reservations compared to the mainstream (30%) who used online services.

    Whichever type of traveler you are – do it yourself, book online or use an IGLTA travel agent – the good news is that there are more gay and lesbian tours and accommodations than ever before – wherever on the gay globle you’re going.


    Lesbian nomads Kate and Dee, who claim Colorado as home, are typical of travelers who use gay and lesbian online resources to plan, select and book their next destination or dee-tour.

    Our North | Central | South American Travel & Tour Partners include:

    Kennedy Travel, New York & London

    Happy Vacations, San Francisco & South Pacific

    Colours Destinations, Costa Rica & Key West

    BA Gay Travel Buenos Aires, Brazil

    Thanks for visiting RainbowTourism.com and patronizing our affiliates or booking tours their on our easy, secure service.

    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    Asia and drugs

    If you are travelling to Asia a recent blog on Brave New Traveler is worth a read:

    5 Ways Travelers Can Avoid Being Caught With Drugs

    What a lot of travellers don't realise is that the penalties for the possession of drugs in most Asian countries is extremely high for even minimal quantities and the death penalty exists in a lot of Asian countries for drug trafficking. Strict penalties also apply to most countries - though penalties aren't as severe - but countries such as New Zealand and Australian routinely screen all luggage due to strict quarantine restrictions so the odds of been caught are high.

    The recent arrest of Peter Lloyd in Singapore highlights the predicament you could find yourself in for even using small amounts of drugs in countries such as Singapore.

    If you are travelling with any medication - take quantities that you need for your trip and a copy of your pescription. If you are on HIV medication be aware of those countries that deny entry to HIV+ travellers including the USA. (Though this is hopefully going to change shortly). If you have any concerns about any medication check with the customs website for the countries you are visiting including countries you are travelling through.




    Dancing Around the World


    My long-time tour guide friend Susan just returned from a too-fast reunion trip to OZ, and upon her return she found this video that reminds us all that travel should be fun and not to forget mingling with locals for memorable experiences.

    The star of this vignette is shown in both Australia, New Zealand and many other ports of call that are on my list. How about your travel to do list?

    PS I captured this stunning sunset in a remote jungle in Costa Rica while staying at Las Aguas Jungle Lodge.
    It is known for its 5 waterfalls on the property, which make it well worth the off-the-beaten path trip. I haven't seen a sunset as spectacular and long-lasting since 1975 on the equator off Colombia!

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Sunshine Coast Pride Fair - 19 October 2008


    The Queensland Association for Healthy Communities will be hosting the first Sunshine Coast Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Fair on Sunday 19th October at Millwell Road Community Centre, Maroochydore.

    The aim of the Pride Fair is to bring the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and their friends and family together in a fun and supportive environment to celebrate the community’s diversity. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of local gay friendly health services, performers and businesses and to allow the LGBT community to gain access to information on health, sexuality and support services.

    More details will be online shortly at www.gaysunshinecoast.com.au

    For great accommodation check out the Sunshine Coast region and feel free to contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge for assistance.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Spring Fling Gayway - Cairns - New Packages

    SPRING FLING ANNOUNCES NEW 2-NIGHT 3-DAY PACKAGE

    PARTY & PLAY IN TROPICAL PARADISE


    The organisers of the first Spring Fling, have announced a new shortened package to cater for those guests who were unable to attend for the full 3-Night program.

    Announcing the new offer, Tim Fifield from OnQ said “We were hearing from some guests to say they would benefit from a shorter package based on their business commitments, so we have released a new 2-Night deal in conjunction with the great 3-Night full package.”

    Starting from just $1299, the new 2-Night, 3-Day package includes all the great benefits of the full 3-Night package with full details on the website and on line registration.

    Stressing the need to book sooner rather than later, the organisers confirmed that places at this first Spring Fling are limited. “Both Virgin and Jetstar have some amazing airfare prices to Cairns from all major cities, depending on when you’re travelling, so now is the time to book before they sell out.” Said Tim.

    The first Spring Fling will be held at the 5-Star Shangri La The Marina Cairns from Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 August (2-Night Package, Friday to Sunday). Couples, friends and singles are welcome at this exclusive 3 Night Gayaway boasting spectacular events, entertainment and activities.

    Entertainers include: DJ Buck Naked, DJ Sandi Hotrod, Percussionist Rob Morrish, Courtney Act Australia’s Most Glamorous Diva, Chanel Cole & Spook and Diva Katrina Barry.

    We have plenty of secrets up our sleeve, including great Celeb guests, surprises, prizes and gifts. It will be a special weekend that allows our guests to party and play in a tropical paradise and establishes the reputation for Spring Fling events now and in the future.” said Fifield.

    Info: All details and registration link are available on the website – www.springfling.com.au

    For travel and other assistance contact the Rainbow Tourism Concierge.