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goplaces0Travel expert Richard Gray knows the hottest new gay destinations. When planning your next vacation, why not think about going somewhere unusual? It’s time to expand your horizons and visit some unique international hot spots. “The global comfort zone has increased for the GLBT traveler,” said Richard Gray, founder of the Royal Palms and inductee in the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Hall of Fame. “We as GLBT travelers are exploring non-traditional counties and cities.”

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When planning your next vacation, why not think about going somewhere unusual? It’s time to expand your horizons and visit some unique international hot spots.

TThe global comfort zone has increased for the GLBT traveler,” said Richard Gray, founder of the Royal Palms and inductee in the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Hall of Fame. “We as GLBT travelers are exploring non-traditional counties and cities.”

Gray suggest going somewhere beyond the traditional gay-friendly travel destinations like Palm Springs, New York City and Provincetown.

Hotspots chatted up Gray and asked him his opinion on the newest, hottest, gay-friendly vacation spots. Read on to find out some interesting, yet safe, travel suggestions.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Gray said that Tel Aviv is a sizzling gay mecca.

“There’s lots to do and there’s diversity,” he explained.

Indeed, Tel Aviv is known for its nightlife, hot restaurant scene, boutiques, clubs and cafes. Their Gay Pride Festival takes place every year in June.

Cape Town, South Africa

Another surprising gay travel destination is Cape Town. The stylish area has a large gay nightlife scene and is home to several gay guest houses.

“Cape Town is definitely a new gay mecca,” Gray enthused.

Florianopolis, Brazil

Gray calls Florianapolis (which many Brazilians just call “Floripa”) a
“stunningly beautiful beach destination.”

“They have been tweaking their marketing to increase gay and lesbian tourism,” he said. Florianapolis is also where the International Gay Travel Association Conference will be in 2012.

Gran Canaria, Spain

Gray said that Gran Canaria draws everyone from Europe and is a bigger gay destination than Mykonos and bigger than Ibiza.

“There are vibrant, beautiful beaches and lots of destinations,” he said.

And the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Gran Canaria just celebrated its fifth year this past January.

Antwerp, Belgium

Gray was just in Antwerp this year for the International Gay Travel Association Conference. The city will host the 2013 Outgames.

“Belgium has always been very open,” said Gray. “I found Antwerp to be open-minded and almost everybody speaks English.”

He also mentioned that they have good food and a good scene.

Cartagena and Bogota, Colombia

“Colombia has become very gay friendly,” Gray said.  

Gray recommends checking out Cartagena and Bogota. Both are gay-friendly with great scenes. In facts, Bogota is home to the largest gay club in Colombia, called Theatron.

Helsinki, Finland

Gray said that Helsinki is definitely an emerging gay destination.

“It’s very gay friendly, and certainly different,” he said.

There is gorgeous architecture to check out and an exciting nightlife scene. It’s known as an extremely hip place with a great fashion scene.

“As gay travelers we are looking for something different,” Gray explained. “We look outside the box for travel.”

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