Trey Ratcliff

Thailand has long been one of my favourite travel destinations.
There is something special about the place, and there is much to recommend a visit to Thailand.

From its sandy beaches, to its beautiful tribal cultures in the mountains to the north,
Thailand is a unique country to visit.

Now comes travel market news that in 2008, the gay travel market segment is one that
will be a key focus for the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

That makes a great deal of sense.

Thailand has long been of interest to travel markets from many different target groups.

It has also been a destination that has a long cultural history of respect for gay and lesbian people.

Straight or gay — the distinction isn’t made in Thailand as it is in the U.S. In this largely Buddhist country,
sex and sexuality come without the guilt and other baggage that accompany them here. Many Thais engage in
sex with both men and women, without worrying about how to label themselves.

Thailand does have a gay culture, but much of it has been created by westerners. As a visitor, looking for nightlife, for gay sex, or for gay friends, this is largely the culture you’ll most readily find. Here you’ll meet outgoing and friendly Asian men who are interested in meeting westerners.

This can give the impression that most Thai men who we’d think of as gay are looking for westerners.
That’s not the case. But those you meet will often be interested in meeting Americans.

Thai culture does not place a premium on youth in the way that western societies do. If you’re over 35, you probably
feel over the hill in the U.S. You can still be quite desirable in Thailand. This comes as a pleasant surprise to
middle-aged and older gay Americans!

Until quite recently, the visible, public gay establishments in Thailand were virtually all commercial: bars,
go-go clubs, saunas, and massage parlors. These still account for the majority of gay spots, and you won’t
really have seen gay Thailand until you visit a go-go boy bar. But the largest cities now have a few discos, bars, or coffeehouses that lend themselves to non-commercial encounters, as well. The largest cities have gay karaoke
bars and other establishments just for local gays. The best way to find them is to ask some locals.

Tourism Authority of Thailand has recognized the immense potential
of the lesbian and gay travel market and look forward to watching their market progress as 2008

For help with targeting the gay travel market most effectively, and for information on
gay travel tourism expert advice, contact Out Now. Also see the Gay Thailand site.