Friday, December 8, 2023

Six Rainbow Traveller-Friendly Destinations You Simply Must Visit

Member of the LGBTQIA+ community? Want to be assured of a safe stay as a rainbow traveller? Here’s our pick of the six most welcoming destinations and where to stay!

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Travelling as a member of the rainbow community can be more complicated than you think – more than half (56%) of rainbow travellers have cancelled a trip in the past year after seeing a destination not supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. Heart-breakingly,’s latest travel research reveals that four in five (85%) of Kiwi LGBTQIA+ travellers report they must consider their personal safety and well-being when picking a holiday destination. So if you are a member of the rainbow community or a fierce ally, here’s six LGBTQIA+ friendly destinations, based on recommendations from travellers around the world.

In addition to these destinations all actively celebrating diversity, the properties featured are all Travel Proud certified by, its  free inclusive hospitality training and part of its ongoing commitment to providing truly welcoming stays for everyone.

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking and mountainous scenery. New Zealand has long supported and openly welcomes all members of the community, being the first country in the Oceania region to legalise same-sex marriage. Queenstown is famously home to Winter Pride, an annual celebration held every year in Queenstown. The festival is known for its fabulous activities both on and off the snowy mountains, for skiers and party goers alike.

Where to stay: The Holiday Inn Express & Suites boasts breathtaking views of the crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain Range. The hotel is just a five minute walk from the city centre filled with shopping and entertainment to explore. Enjoy a night in and relax in the sauna and heated dry room, venture to the hotel’s fire pit located at the centre of the alfresco terrace for some local craft beer and or Central Otago wines – and as someone who’s stayed there, I can report it simply can’t be beaten in Queenstown for value!

Nice, France

Nice is a flourishing LGBTQIA+ inclusive destination with year-round sunshine and a welcoming atmosphere. France legalised same-sex marriage in 2013 and hosts LGBTQIA+ events throughout the year. The annual Lou Queernaval was the first LGBTQIA+ carnival in France, now hosting over 15,000 international visitors every year. Outside of the festivities, visitors seeking some downtime with a loved one can book a French Riviera Romantic Tour and stroll around Parc de la Colline du Château, home to lush gardens, fountains and sculptures and with the best views over Nice’s red-tiled rooftops. 

Where to stay: Close to the pebble shores amongst the action of the old town is the bright Le Château apartment. Boasting views overlooking the azure sea, this peaceful oasis has a secluded roof terrace where guests can soak up the sunrise to kickstart the day. The accommodating hosts are on hand to recommend local LGBTQIA+ friendly shops and restaurants, while the apartment itself is stylish and includes a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious walk-in shower.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

In 2019, the first Chiang Mai Pride was held with a series of educational seminars, parades and performances to mark the occasion. More recently, Thailand passed the Civil Partnership Bill which offers same-sex couples legal recognition. Travellers to Chiang Mai can start their exploration of the city at the lively and popular Kalare Night Bazaar with its delicious street food, string of shops and live music. A short walk away is an inclusive LGBTQIA+ nightclub Ram Bar which comes alive with top cabaret performances. For the 44% of LGBTQ+ travellers who want to experience tasty cuisine on vacation, they can book a Half-day Cooking Class and bring home the best tips of authentic Thai cooking.

Where to stay: Pastell Oldtown Chiang Mai is located on a tranquil road in the heart of the old town, just a short walk from the Kalare Night Bazaar. Wooden interiors emulate traditional Thai décor, and rooms are light and airy with modern touches. Renowned for its friendly staff and exceptional service, guests can relax and recharge their batteries at this nurturing hotel that houses a pretty pool, verdant gardens and delicious Thai cuisine. Should guests want to leave, Buddhist temples and street food markets are all on the doorstep to explore.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is a popular holiday destination famed for its stunning beaches and is Mexico’s most relaxed and open LGBTQIA+ scene. Puerto Vallarta’s cobblestone old town is home to the ‘Zona Romantica,’ a legendary LGBTQIA+ friendly district where world-class seafood and cocktails await. For an unforgettable experience on the ocean, visitors can book a Luxury Cruise with Breakfast and Lunch, sailing the Bay of Bandera while enjoying water sports from paddleboarding to water tubing.

Where to stay: The Grand Miramar All Luxury Suites & Residences is located on the hills of the exclusive Conchas Chinas area, and just a short walk to Zonas Romantica and the beach. Draped in pink bougainvillaea flowers and with marble interiors, this stunning Travel Proud certified stay has all the class without the pretence and welcomes all guests with open arms. Lounge around in the infinity pool, hot tub or on the adults-only terrace – perfect for a romantic evening for two.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001. Amsterdam Pride transforms the city’s central canal into a parade route where boats are magically decorated into joyful floats every first weekend of August. The event is proudly sponsored by and the city will host World Pride in 2026 – one for LGBTQIA+ travellers and allies to remember. For the 74% who are more likely to seek out activities that are tailored to people identifying as LGBTQIA+, travellers can book a LGBT Highlights Tour to experience the best of Amsterdam’s nightlife. A local guide will take visitors to Reguliersdwarsstraat, the most colourful and inclusive LGBTQIA+ street of the city.

Where to stay: For an authentic experience, book the Rembrandt Square Boat located on the Amstel river, and an easy stroll to the bustling LGBTQIA+ bars in the surrounding neighbourhood. Featuring local artwork and tall patio doors that open onto a waterside terrace, this cosy houseboat has a charming host who celebrates all guests. What’s more, this unique accommodation is a Travel Sustainable property, as it runs on 100% renewable energy. 

San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

San Carlos de Bariloche is a magnet for skiers and snowboarders in winter and hikers in summer. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Argentina since 2010 and San Carlos de Bariloche is renowned for its wonderfully supportive LGBTQIA+ scene and businesses that embrace the communities. For the 34% of LGBTQIA+ travellers who want to spend time in nature on their next vacation, they can take to the scenic ski slopes, hike Mount Bella Vista, or kayak to secluded coves on the glacier-fed Lake Nahuel Huapi. With friendly locals and a flourishing LGBTQIA+ nightlife, Bariloche has big clubs for a fun time as well as hidden gems for a more secluded evening.

Where to stay: Perched on a hill, the eco-inspired Design Suites Bariloche offers panoramic views of the pristine Lake Nahuel Huapi from its floor-to-ceiling windows. The space is as cool as it is cosy with shag rugs, leather chairs and earthy hues, and guests can watch the sunrise over the treetops from the comfort of their room or private jacuzzi. Staff are sociable and provide great attention to detail to ensure guests have a red-carpet and relaxing stay. What’s more, this Travel Sustainable hotel provides activities organised by local guides and ample green space for those wanting to bask in nature, while just a short walk into town.

Research commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of 11,555 LGBTQ+ travellers from 27 countries, New Zealand (209). LGBTQ+ respondents self identified across demographics of sex, gender and sexual orientation. In order to participate in this survey, respondents also had to be planning a trip in the next 12 months. The survey was taken online and took place in March and April 2023.

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