The Shmooze

Tel Aviv and Beirut Compete For Gay Tourism

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Tel Aviv, 2007. Wiki Commons

Israel and Lebanon are at it again. But there’s no heavy artillery in this battle — unless you count giant sums spent by tourism boards in Tel Aviv and Beirut in a furious competition for gay tourists. With both cities “boasting a trendy nightlife, warm climate and carefree attitude,” reports the Jerusalem Post, efforts to lure “pink dollars” are ramping up.

Earlier this year, the Forward reported on Tel Aviv’s ascent as a gay destination; in April, a pair of U.S. gay tour operators even made headlines with dueling, ultra-luxe packages for gay travelers. There’s also a new, official Facebook page, Tel Aviv Gay Vibe, that touts the White City as “a dashing piece of gay heaven.”

Beirut, however, earned the moniker “Provincetown of the Middle East” in a 2009 Travel story in the New York Times. And according to the Post, industry powerhouse the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association held its first symposium in the city a few weeks ago. The owner of the gay travel agency LebTour also tells the Post his company now escorts 500 gay tourists around Lebanon every year.

Tel Aviv, however, has one killer benefit that Beirut lacks. As the Post notes, the Israeli city “has the advantage of being in a country where the laws are favorable and homosexuality is widely accepted. In Lebanon, homosexuality is officially illegal, even if the law is seldom enforced.” As a Human Rights Watch researcher tells the Post about Lebanon, “We’re not talking about an actively homophobic state. They’re not going out and just arresting gay men.” Maybe that should become Beirut’s new slogan.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: New York Times, Provincetown Of The Middle East, Gay Tourism, Jerusalem Post, Beirut, Tel Aviv

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.