31 Mar

ABTA reveals top LGBT honeymoon spots

ABTA advises on choosing a honeymoon destination

Following same sex marriage being legalised in England and Wales, ABTA – The Travel Association – has revealed some top honeymoon spots for LGBT couples. These include long established LGBT destinations such as Brighton, the Greek Islands, Miami and Sydney as well as newer favourites Puerto Vallarta and Tel Aviv. ABTA has also identified up and coming destinations such as Montpellier in France and Florianopolis in Brazil.

Brighton, UK Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Cape Town, South Africa San Francisco, USA
Greek Islands (Mykonos and Lesbos), Greece Sitges, Spain
Miami and the Florida Keys, USA Sydney, Australia
Phuket, Thailand Tel Aviv, Israel

Currently around 7,000 same sex couples enter into a civil partnership each year* and many are expected to get married, with the first ceremonies taking place over the weekend. Many of these couples will be starting married life with a honeymoon and ABTA is advising engaged couples and newlyweds to consider the following when they book:

  • Research your destination
    Whilst some destinations are openly LGBT-friendly, some may be less welcoming, and in others there may be serious safety issues to consider. Consider this when choosing where to go, and also research what is deemed appropriate behaviour to avoid getting on the wrong side of local laws or customs. Countries that recognise same sex unions are a good choice but there are also many countries that are very gay friendly even if legislation is not explicit.  Always check the Foreign Office advice before you travel.
  • Let your travel providers know it’s your honeymoon
    Tell people it’s your honeymoon or consider a honeymoon package, as you may be able eligible for romantic extras. Remember that to qualify for offers, some companies may ask to see documentation – a wedding certificate for example.
  • Go with a reputable provider
    Wherever you’re going, your honeymoon is incredibly important so choose a reputable holiday company with a good track record that is a member of ABTA.

ABTA spoke to some couples getting married about their honeymoon plans:

Emma Powell and Sarah Keith have been together for nine years and got married in Brighton on 29 March.

Emma explained:  “We were amongst the first lesbian couples to get married after the legislation changed and we’re really thrilled to have gotten married in Brighton – which is so central to gay culture in the UK and which is a wonderful seaside city. We’ll be spending a mini moon there as we’re soon to relocate to New York. Our plan is to take a honeymoon after we’re settled in the US, possibly over the border in Canada or in California. We’ve also enjoyed travelling together in Thailand which we found very gay friendly.

How LGBT friendly a destination is, is important to us; we’ve generally enjoyed great experiences abroad but we like to know more about the approach in different destinations– small things like having to insist that we want a double and not a twin room really affect the feel of a holiday and knowing which destinations are the most progressive and welcoming is really useful. Luckily there are many beautiful and welcoming spots to explore and we’re really looking forward to doing lots of travelling as a married couple.”

Peter McGraith and David Cabrezza were amongst the first gay couples to get married in England and tied the knot in Islington just after the legislation changed at 00.01hrs on 29 March.

Writer and activist Peter McGraith commented: “David and I will be taking some time to relax in London after our wedding and may look to plan a belated honeymoon abroad. In many destinations, being on holiday or being on honeymoon as a gay couple will be trouble free. But, there are certain places and certain situations that LGBT couples and newlyweds should be aware of when they are travelling, from the point of view of safety as well to ensure that they enjoy the best possible experience. The destinations highlighted by ABTA are good choices for LGBT newlyweds and holidaymakers. We would urge all couples to do their research and where possible to consider using hotels that advertise to LGBT people and that have clear policies of supporting LGBT staff.”

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said:

“A honeymoon is a traditional way to start married life so we recommend couples research their options thoroughly: talk to a travel professional, who will be able to offer advice about destinations and experiences; check travel advice with ABTA and the Foreign Office and always book with a reputable company. There are some fantastic locations to choose from to inspire all newlyweds to get the most out of their honeymoon plans.”

John Tanzella, CEO, IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) said:

“It is encouraging to see LGBT marriage and honeymoons on the rise globally. As LGBT rights increase around the world, we'll see more and more destinations embracing this sizable market. However, when you're planning that dream trip it's still important to work with travel professionals who understand the needs of gay travellers as individuals and aren't just treating them as a 'niche' to target.”

For more advice and destination inspiration visit abta.com.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender foreign travel advice

* http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob2/civil-partnership-statistics--united-kingdom/2012/sty-trends-in-civil-partnerships.html