With the stroke of a pen, or, rather, with the stroke of a bunch of ballot votes in favour of legalizing gay marriage, Ireland has suddenly jumped into the thick of the worldwide travel conversation. Not only does the country look good by most of the world’s standards in terms of embracing different cultures, it stands to benefit greatly from a tourism standpoint.
I don’t know how large the LGBT tourism business is worldwide, but if guesstimates are right that 10 per cent of the world counts itself as gay or transgendered or what have you, then it’s big. Very big.
Which is probably why Yahoo the other day put together a list of places around the world that are great for gay marriages. Ireland tops the list, of course. But you’ll also find great places such as Hawaii, South Africa, New Zealand, Tahiti and, to my surprise, Argentina.
Canada didn’t make the list. We used to, back when not so many folks were as progressive as we are. But now gay marriage is legal in countries around the world and in a sizable 37 U.S. states, so it’s not that unusual.
Still, the Yahoo list is a good one that’s filled with great destinations. Here are some of my thoughts on a few of them.
I fell in love with Ireland on a trip a few years back. The people, the scenery, the music; even the food was way better than I expected. I’d wager that Ashford Castle would be a hugely popular spot for weddings in Ireland, with a lovely lakeside setting and those romantic turrets and gardens and all. Ditto for Adare Manor in Limerick and Soulis Lough Eske in Donegal.
I’ve been a huge fan of Hawaii since my first visit as a 12-year-old. It’s got lingering, golden sunsets, snow-white and black-sand beaches, mist-shrouded jungle mountains and sensational resorts such as the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island, Princeville and Poipu on Kauai and the secluded, super-romantic Travaasa Hana on Maui; one of my favourite hotels on the planet.
I also love New Zealand, where you can find everything from fjords and towering, snow-clad mountains to perfect beaches and sensational wine. I’d think Waiheke Island, near Auckland, would be a terrific spot for a honeymoon. Ditto for Tahiti, where they invented overwater bungalows. You’ll find some of the best ones at the Four Seasons Bora Bora, one of the most beautiful resorts in the world.
For now, though, the gay marriage spotlight is on Ireland. And good for them.