5 LGBT winter travel picks for 2015

By on December 17, 2014 

WinterTravel2015

Winter travel can often be hectic with the potential for weather delays. But with so many great options awaiting, it’s worth taking the risk (and maybe buying some travel insurance). The upcoming season brings such fun opportunities as popping champagne in Sin City and cruising to Aussieland. Here our are 5 top picks.

Las Vegas

When it comes to amazing places for ringing in the New Year, Las Vegas is among the leaders. And this year, gay travelers from around the world can take part in Evolve Vegas NYE, a three-day over-the-top celebration, from Tuesday, Dec. 30, to Thursday, Jan. 1. The schedule of events includes exclusive performances of Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil and Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas, multiple parties and opportunities to tour Sin City’s many attractions. The main New Year’s Eve party is being held at Havana Nightclub, with the evening to include special appearances by Jujubee and Raven from RuPaul’s Drag Race, viewing of the Strip’s iconic fireworks show at midnight, and music by the Abbey Los Angeles resident DJ Casey Alva. The MGM Grand, which recently completed a $175 million renovation, is serving as the host hotel. For more information, visit lasvegas.com.

SEE WHO ELSE MADE THE LIST! 

“PUCKER UP for your chance to see Britney Spears on New Year’s Eve!”

NL Evolve Kiss Contest LargeWe’re asking people to #EvolveKISS the one you love or even SMOOCH your POOCH and KISS the competition goodbye!
There are many ways to enter! Upload to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram a kissing photo and tag #EvolveKISS!  You can also upload your photo directly to our Facebook and Website! http://bit.ly/KISSLV
Get creative and practice for the special KISS at midnight at Evolve Vegas, the first International Gay New Year’s Eve Celebration in Las Vegas!
Grand Prize Winner will receive 2 tickets to the New Year’s Eve performance to Britney Spears and tickets to all 3 Evolve Vegas parties taking place December 30th– January 2nd.  Second & third place photos receive American Express Giftcards!
Our main NYE Event: “EVOLUTION” will take place at the Havana Nightclub in The New Tropicana with special guests Jujubee & Raven from Ru Paul’s Drag Race.  Package and individual tickets on SALE now at www.EvolveVegasNYE.com

Reyes expanding Las Vegas’ gay tourism market

Sitting in her modest office at The Lakes, it occurs to Mya Reyes that her career path has led her to one of the boldest tourism initiatives the city has ever seen — a massive three-day New Year’s Eve celebration for gay men from 30 countries in mainstream resorts on the Strip.

Reyes’ new year’s event, called Evolve Vegas NYE, is 20 months in the planning and has been about all her four-person staff has worked on since the doors of the Las Vegas Gay Visitors Bureau opened in mid-2013.

“I feel that everything I’ve done in my life has brought me here, all the international travel I’ve done and the languages I have,” said Reyes, president of the bureau and founder of Evolve Vegas NYE. She is fluent in English, Spanish and French and speaks some Italian.

Reyes fully expects that the 700 Evolve packages will be sold for the inaugural event, which includes three days of shows, receptions, parties, dining experiences and shopping tours planned Dec. 30 through Jan. 1.

It’s being hosted at the MGM Grand and the highlight of the event will be a New Year’s Eve celebration at the Havana nightclub at the Tropicana.

Reyes has been a long-time advocate for gay tourism in Southern Nevada, so she didn’t need a sales pitch to convince her that the gay market is a lucrative one.

San Francisco-based Community Market Inc. has years of research explaining why the market is so robust: For gay men and women, the average household income is $81,500, about 80 percent higher than the average American household income.

About 40 percent of gay men have household incomes in excess of $100,000.

An estimated 83 percent of gay men and women have a passport compared with 34 percent of the adult U.S. population.

Gay men and women travel more widely than their mainstream counterparts, domestically and internationally, especially for leisure purposes.

Las Vegas is consistently one of the top markets for gay travel, usually No. 2 behind New York City.

Reyes has always known that the gay market has been and will be good for Las Vegas, but the difference maker for Evolve is the international component.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has made the attraction of international guests a priority. The organization that markets Las Vegas to the world and McCarran International Airport have recruited airlines to provide nonstop intercontinental flights to the city.

Reyes believes the combination is a can’t-miss opportunity.

Reyes got her first taste of the international scene while studying French at UNLV. She received a degree in 1978 and got an opportunity to study abroad in a program at Paris-Sorbonne University.

She loved it.

“When I was about to leave, on my last day in Paris, I saw a sign recruiting for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization,” she said. “I had heard that foreigners could work there relatively easily and that it wasn’t too hard to get a work card to be there.”

She ended up getting hired as a liaison between UNESCO and its member nations, and she worked directly with people from African countries.

When in Europe, she met her future husband, Bill Collins, a professional basketball player that had been drafted by the Boston Celtics and who opted to pursue a professional career in Italy. She spent her early career living in France, Spain and Italy.

She recalled once being transported to a hospital in a boat while living in Venice when she gave birth to one of her children.

Wanting to be a stay-at-home mother, she published a parenting magazine for 12 years and eventually moved back to Las Vegas.

But one thing Reyes continued to do in her last years abroad was to keep in touch with her international contacts. It was a move that would prove invaluable to her future.

Back in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts was completing a merger with Mirage Resorts International, and the new company announced its commitment to diversity.

When then-CEO Terry Lanni announced the program, Reyes was hired as director of supplier diversity. It turned out to be a golden opportunity to get in on the ground floor of MGM’s award-winning diversity program and work with Lanni.

“It was primarily about ethnic diversity and women and really didn’t encompass anything for the LGBT market,” she said.

But that came later.

She left MGM and went to work for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority as it began exploring the prospect of marketing directly to the gay market.

“I had talked with the LVCVA about being a part of that and decided that I wanted to become better educated about the market,” she said.

As a part of the agency, she became active in the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, serving two terms on its board of directors. With members in 83 countries, Reyes was able to re-establish international contacts and make new ones.

“It was a great opportunity to expose our destination to various markets all over the world,” she said. “And, as it turned out, they were all really great people, and not only were we business partners but great personal friends.”

When Reyes retired from the LVCVA, she knew she wanted to continue to work in the industry, so she formed the Gay Visitors Bureau and went to work developing Evolve.

She hired Donovan Kaneshiro as creative strategies manager, Matt Engh as creative design manager and Fabrice Tasendo to assist with global outreach.

The bureau has travel agency contacts in 30 countries, including 500 American Express agencies in Mexico, and the Evolve website is available in Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese as well as English.

The inaugural Evolve will include a reception with performers from Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” as a preview to the show. Following the show will be an opening reception at the Strip’s first gay nightclub, Liaison, at Bally’s.

The second day offers an assortment of Southern Nevada day trips and shopping excursions and the final day includes a performance by Frank Marino followed by the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Havana club.

Packages also include an optional two-day trip to West Hollywood, Calif.

Reyes said the side trip is particularly important for international visitors who like to expand their itineraries when making a trip to the United States.

Marino, whose Strip Divas are presenting their 25,000th show this year, is excited about performing for an all-gay audience.

“This will be the first time in my 30-year Las Vegas career that I will be performing for an all-gay audience,” Marino said. “Finally, I can do pop-culture jokes that everyone will get.”

History Made in Las Vegas – First International Gay New Year’s Eve Celebration!

Press ReleaseGuests from Six Continents Celebrate on the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas, recently voted Favorite American Destination by OutTraveler Magazine, is the host city for an exciting new event, Evolve Vegas NYE (New Year’s Eve).  #EvolveVegas is a 3-day gay New Year’s Eve experience that will bring men from more than 30 countries, on six continents, to the city that provides non-stop fun, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Hosted at the world famous, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Evolve Vegas NYE takes place December 30, 2014 – January 1, 2015 and offers shows, receptions, parties, dining, shopping, tours and more.  And for those who want to continue the fun, a weekend in West Hollywood, California, one of the hottest gay meccas in the U.S., takes place January 2-4, 2015.

“I am so excited, as this will be the first time in my 30 year Las Vegas career that I will be performing for an all gay audience.  Finally, I can do pop-culture jokes that everyone will get!  This night is going to be one Big Party!” says Frank Marino headliner of the Divas Las Vegas. Celebrating the 25,000th show this year, Frank Marino’s Divas is one of the most spectacular production shows in the city, and is just one of the many events included in the Evolve Vegas NYE experience.

The event will kick off with a private VIP reception, featuring Zumanity performers and champagne, followed by the sensual Cirque du Soleil performance that offers a seductive twist on reality.  Zumanity makes the provocative playful and the forbidden electrifying and allows you to leave all inhibitions at the door and let loose as this adult-themed production takes you on a sexy thrill ride full of sensational acrobatics and naughty fun.

After the show, guests will party at the official opening reception at Liaison Nightclub at Bally’s Hotel & Casino.  With unrivaled décor, a top-tier sound system and impeccable service, Liaison, the first gay nightclub in a Las Vegas Strip resort, offers guests an elegant experience with hot entertainment and DJs spinning until the wee hours of the morning.

Day Two is a free day to shop, explore the city or experience the beautiful landscapes of Southern Nevada including the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Red Rock, Valley of Fire, even Mt. Charleston which features snow skiing….yes snow in Las Vegas!

New Year’s Eve will kick off with another VIP party, before opening up to the main celebration at the Havana Nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip.  This event will also welcome local gays, as well as hot DJs, exciting entertainment, special guests, seductive dancers, complimentary cocktails and a private VIP fireworks-viewing from the patio of the club.

If that’s not enough, Day Three offers the Mob Museum in Old Vegas, The High Roller at the Linq, the VooDoo Zipline at The Rio, or Madame Tussauds at The Venetian. There are many more to choose from and the activity of choice is included in the package.  That evening a historical first is taking place with the private showing of Divas Las Vegas, only available to Evolve Vegas NYE guests. This energetic show starring Las Vegas’ longest running headliner, Frank Marino, features an all-star cast of superstar female impersonators who not only recreate, but almost uncannily duplicate the likenesses of stars ranging from Liza Minnelli to Britney Spears.  After the show, the festivities will continue at Share Nightclub, a gay ultra lounge with a hip nightclub downstairs and a private Ultra Lounge and bar on the second floor.

CONTINUE THE PARTY IN WEHO

For those who would like to extend their stay, a limited number of tickets are available for a weekend in West Hollywood, California.  Transportation will be provided on luxury motor coaches for the short 4-hour ride through the Mojave Desert, and luxury accommodations have been booked at the Sofitel Hotel at Beverly Hills, a stunning property offering elegant European accommodations and dramatic décor.  On Friday night, guests will have the opportunity to sample all of West Hollywood’s gay nightlife and festivities with special offers for Evolve Vegas NYE participants.

Shop along Rodeo Drive, visit the Santa Monica Pier, experience the West Hollywood scene or relax in your room on Saturday afternoon and enjoy a blowout party at the Here Lounge at night.  After a tasty brunch on the patio of the Sofitel, guests will head back to Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon for one last fling, or fly home from Los Angeles and start the New Year pumped up from an amazing week on the West Coast of the USA!

According to Evolve Vegas NYE President and CEO Mya Reyes, “Evolve Vegas NYE has been very carefully designed to provide a unique experience for our guests from the USA, as well as those coming in from Amsterdam to Australia and everywhere in between.  There has never been a New Year’s Eve event like Evolve Vegas NYE in North America, and we are excited to bring this first-of-its-kind experience to Las Vegas.”  Reyes has spent more than 14 years marketing to the LGBT consumer, is one of only 13 gay travel specialists in the U.S. and speaks to marketing and tourism entities around the world on developing an effective marketing campaign to address and serve the needs of gay consumers.

Evolve Vegas NYE packages are inclusive of hotel, land transportation and all events.  Remaining availability is limited, book your package by visiting http://www.EvolveEvgasNYE.com, which is available in seven languages.  You may also contact Evolve Vegas NYE at donovan@evolvevegasnye.com for more information.

PHOTOS – http://bit.ly/PressReleasePhotos

Contact:  Mya Reyes
Telephone:  702.763.7363 x700
Cellular: 702.334.1516
Email: mya@lasvegasgvb.com

Earn Commission with Evolve Vegas NYE – 3-Day International Gay New Year’s Eve Celebration!

GayCities Rectangle

Las Vegas was recently voted Favorite American City to Visit by OutTraveler Magazine and this year there’s even more reason to spend time in the City That REALLY Never Sleeps!  Evolve Vegas NYE is more than a party, it’s an EXPERIENCE and guests are attending from more than 30 countries on 6 continents.  The host hotel is the luxurious MGM Grand and events take place throughout the city.  Travel agents from Amsterdam to Australia are booking Standard and VIP commissionable packages, and the event promises not to disappoint.

Shows, receptions, tours, parties, excursions, dining and shopping are just a few of the many activities planned for this exciting event and packages are all inclusive of all activities, land transportation and hotel stay including complimentary breakfast.

The Las Vegas event is followed by an optional weekend excursion to West Hollywood, California where the fun continues.  Accommodations are at the European-style Sofitel Hotel at Beverly Hills and events include a Bar Crawl on Santa Monica Blvd., leisure time at Santa Monica Beach, shopping on Rodeo Drive, and a Hollywood tour including a stop at the world-famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  The last evening features a closing party at the Here Lounge where entertainment and fun people will take you into the wee hours of the morning.

Visit http://www.evolvevegasnye.com for more information.  If you are a travel agent or tour operator interested in selling Evolve Vegas NYE packages, please contact donovan@evolvevegasnye.com.

To view the Evolve Vegas NYE press release click here.

Win a Gay New Year’s Celebration in LAS VEGAS!

Evolve, Vegas, NYE, New Year's Eve, Gay GayVegas, MGM

The Grand Prize

  • 2 roundtrip flights to Las Vegas w/limousine transportation airport-hotel-airport
  • 3 night hotel stay at The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino w/VIP Check-In
  • 2 Evolve VIP Packages to include:
    • Collector’s welcome gift & Evolve Swag Bag
    • Daily complimentary breakfast at MGM Grand Buffet
    • 2 VIP Receptions
    • VIP seating at Zumanity and Divas Las Vegas Private Show or Jubilee Las Vegas Show
    • VIP seating and bar access at the NYE Main Party
    • Complimentary cocktails at receptions, parties and shows
    • Admission to all events:
      • Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil
      • Kick Off Opening Party at Liaison – Las Vegas’ Newest Gay Nightclub
      • Shop & Play at Fashion Show Mall Las Vegas
      • New Year’s Eve Party with Champagne Toast and Fireworks at The Havana Nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip
      • Slot Tournament at the MGM Grand
      • Divas Las Vegas Private Show or Jubilee Las Vegas Show
      • Official After Party at SHARE Gay Nightclub

CLICK HERE TO ENTER HERE