The gay community is known for shelling out on vacations—about $70 billion a year alone. What can I say? We like things fancy and trendy when we travel, from luxury hotels and complicated, colorful cocktails, to buzzing restaurants and of-the-moment rent boys. This is also no surprise to CVBs (Convention and Visitors Bureaus), who actually woo the DINK set (Double Income, No Kids) with gay-friendly packages and promotions promising, well, a gay ol’ time. Generally, gays are also known to revisit favored destinations again and again. So it’s endearing to hear that Nepal wants a bite of our pillow, not because they see dollar signs, but because they sincerely like gay people! Okay, sure — they too know about the “pink dollar,” and could use the economic boost, but the Nepalese can at least present a compelling case for how you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
The country of Nepal has a plan to attract about 200,000 LGBT members in 2011, mostly steered by the Blue Diamond Society, an organization that represents sexual minorities in Nepal. This endeavor was perhaps triggered by the fact most of their gay tourism comes from India and China, two in-the-closet countries the LGBT community can eagerly – and easily – escape from in Nepal. When homosexuality became legal in Nepal after 2007, gays living there continued to take great leaps into the public domain. There’s now an openly gay member of Nepal’s parliament, the country is starting to allow same-sex marriages, and capital Kathmandu had their first gay pride parade last year. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nepal becomes home to the next big circuit party. Never would I have imagined that a developing country could play the gay card so well.