Rainbows on the horizonThe mainstreaming of gay...

Compiled by Jane Engle; From Associated Press

Rainbows on the horizon

The mainstreaming of gay men and lesbians, reflected in last year’s pro-gay court rulings and the popularity of TV shows such as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” is entering the travel world too. Among recent developments:

* Philadelphia has launched a $300,000 marketing campaign targeting the sector. Although other U.S. cities promote gay travel, this is one of the most public campaigns. On its website,, the Greater Philadelphia tourism corporation lists dozens of gay-friendly businesses and events and four themed itineraries, and offers a guide titled “The City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection).”

* Former talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell has formed, with two partners, R Family Vacations to organize family-friendly trips for gay men and lesbians. Although lesbian-focused Olivia Cruises & Resorts in Oakland and nonprofit groups have organized such trips, R Family Vacations claims to be the first private company exclusively devoted to this market. Its first venture will be a cruise, July 11 to 18, from New York to the Caribbean aboard the Norwegian Dawn. Prices begin at $999 per person, double occupancy. (866) 732-6822,


* SeaDream Yacht Club, a 2-year-old luxury cruise line, is aiming two weeklong cruises, departing Oct. 16 in the Mediterranean and Dec. 12 in the Caribbean, at the “gay community and friends.” The line’s Internet site,, labels these “group sailings” without explanation. “In a public setting, that was the appropriate way to present it,” said Robert Lepisto, senior vice president of marketing. Prices start at $2,299 per person, double occupancy. Although gay groups have long chartered ships, it is rare for a cruise line itself to organize gay cruises.





St. Paul, Minn.

Organizers of the three-week St. Paul Winter Carnival, opening Jan. 22, plan to revive a tradition dating to the mid-1800s: a palace of ice. The practice ended in 1992.

The castle, built from ice carved from Lake Phalen, will be several stories high.


From Associated Press



parks to


raise fees

Campers who make reservations at California state parks for July 1 or later are being hit with fee increases. The new rates, which also will affect other park users, were designed to help offset budget deficits.

Family camping, now $8 to $13 per night, will cost $11 to $25 starting July 1; group camping, now $12 to $270, will increase to $14 to $450. Day use, now $3 to $5, will be $4 to $14. Hearst Castle tours, now $7 to $12, will cost $12 to $25 ($30 for evening tours). Visit

-- Compiled by


Jane Engle