‘Pure glee and joy’: Exotic vacations are back, and LGBTQ+ travelers are leading the way

The murky green water off the coast of Provincetown is cool, but so is the rest of the popular destination for the LGBTQ+ community. Rainbow flags wave in the pleasant ocean breeze as guests frequent quaint bars and restaurants and soak up the rays off the tranquil Massachusetts coast.

The Ptown Summer jamboree, which commenced June 14 and concluded June 20, was the first big event for Provincetown since the pandemic started.

Patrick Gunn, CEO of Vacaya Vacations, which handles LGBTQ+ travel, returned Monday from Provincetown. “It was an extremely successful trip,” Gunn said. “I have to tell you that travel and vacations are back.

“We took over three hotels in Ptown and took advantage of everything it has to offer. They had just lifted many of the COVID-19 restrictions. With proof of vaccinations, we got to attend the tea dances (outdoor dance parties). Watching people dance again brought out pure glee and joy.”

LGBTQ+ travel was booming before the pandemic, and Gunn believes that it will take off again. “It makes sense since most in the LGBTQ+ community don’t have children,” Gunn said. “Children are a big expense. So, there is more disposable money to spend on vacation for those who don’t have children. And everyone is anxious to go away somewhere nice right now.”

Provincetown, which is on the northern tip of idyllic Cape Cod, is a wonderful summer destination with whale watching, lazy days at the beach and even a ferry ride to Boston.

The next Pride jamboree courtesy of Vacaya is Sept. 3 in Iceland. “They have the lowest COVID-19 rate on the planet per capita,” Gunn said. “That’s going to be a blast. The Pride events will be amazing.”

Vacaya is also assembling a trip to Mexico just outside Cancun the week of Oct. 30. Not a bad idea since the autumn chill might be upon the Pacific Northwest. However, the beaches will remain warm off the Gulf of Mexico just as hurricane season ends.

“The Mexican government is so pro tourism, so they have made it easy, safe and palatable to travel to their country,” Gunn said. Vacaya’s take is that it’s a travel-savvy companion who helps set up an ideal vacation.

“We do a lot of leg work,” Gunn said. “We totally know what will happen during a trip. We plan for contingencies, and we know the day to day. For instance, during our Provincetown trip, we worked with the business guild of Ptown and obtained discounts for our guests. We have tips and suggestions.”

Gunn said he believes that now is the time for the LGBTQ+ community to step out. “It’s been too long that we’ve been stuck inside just waiting for the moment,” Gunn said. “Now that moment is here, our community has always been about not letting things stop us.

“With a pandemic, we’re finally going out in the safest possible way. With what we experienced in Provincetown, I know we’re back in a big way, and that’s going to continue in Iceland and Mexico. I’m ecstatic we’re back for us, our clients and the world.”

For more information, go to Vacaya at myvacaya.com.

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