According to his bio on his wordpress blog Ed Salvato is editor in chief of ManAboutWorld, the world’s first gay travel magazine built for iPad. He’s also a recognized industry leader and noted global gay travel expert.
He’s hosting the New York Times Travel Show 2012 Seminar on LGBT travel again this year, January 19 & 20 at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. Ed (ES) agreed to give a preview of the seminar for this interview.
What is the focus of your talk?
(ES) I’m the moderator. I’ve been collaborating with the NYT Travel show for several years, getting representation for the LGBT travel scene. Basically, I gather a great group of gay and lesbian travel experts and we sit around a table and talk. This year we’ll have Merryn Johns, Curve Magazine; Jerry Portwood, OUT and OUT Traveler; Mike Luongo, author of Frommer's Buenos Aires and freelance travel writer; and Joe Pedro, Passport Magazine We’ll bounce ideas off one another as we examine travel from an LGBT perspective.
Here’s a chance to show the readers why the NYT Travel Show engages your services every year. Your answers will help LGBT singles and couples choose the best vacation spot.
What’s the best clothing optional destination?
(ES) One of my personal favorites is Island House Key West Island House sets the bar for all-male gay guesthouses. It is luxurious, with awesome amenities and a frisky atmosphere by the pool, lubricated by a bar that never closes. This resort attracts guests with a wide spectrum of ages and degrees of “outness.”
Which are the best cruise lines?
(ES) Best straight cruise line is Cunard's (Queen Mary 2 Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria) It’s super high end; very gay friendly; I took the QM2 from NYC to London, met a bunch of great gay people and had the time of my life. It was fabulous. For gay cruise operators, Atlantis Events and RSVP, (same parent company) offer big and medium size cruises. Then there’s Brand G, a new gay tour and cruise charter company promoting European barge cruises and the like (smaller 'cruises') and also Concierge Travel, a small travel agency that branched into occasional gay cruises and tours, is great!
Which are the best ports to visit?
(ES) European ports like Barcelona, Ibiza and Mykonos are terrific since there are usually gay parties going on when Atlantis schedules stops here. Likewise Sydney for Atlantis's Mardi Gras cruise which arrives at Mardi Gras! In the US: Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and LA are great ports since there are so many fun things to do pre- and/or post-cruise.
What are the best all inclusive destinations? Do you have any good tips on how to book them?
(ES) I'd go with Atlantis and RSVP for all inclusives since they are guaranteed to be gay. For women go with Discover Sweet or Olivia. For a mainstream all-inclusive, I'd go with a gay travel agency like SF based Now Voyager since they'll know which straight ones are gay friendly.
Is this the year for “give back” vacations - meaning instruction, expertise, physical labor?
(ES) Certainly for a small segment of the travel population, not just LGBT, it always is. But, there will always be those harried 50 week a year workers who only want to relax on their 2 week vacation. After that gay couple got arrested in that tiny Christian Caribbean port for having sex on the veranda of their cruise ship, I think responsible travel will be everyone’s focus. It’s more of a thoughtful, aware of local conditions, you’re a representative of the first world in a third world country kind of thing, than being a cocktail drinking observer of their situations.
What was your most rewarding trip?
(ES) A few years ago I was part of a group of journalists invited to Africa to one of those small townships where they have nothing. At first I was appalled that it would be like visiting a zoo or something, but the people there really wanted us to come. They liked that we were interested. We visited the AIDS clinic and saw how just the littlest assistance could be such an important help to them.
I like the giving back aspect of your ManAboutWorld website.
(ES) In our magazine and on our website there are occasional links to purchase travel-related products and services from which ManAboutWorld earns a commission. We split that revenue 50/50 with the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission to support their work advancing Human Rights for Everyone. Everywhere.
Is Manaboutworld ever going to be available in other than an iPad format?
(ES) I can’t say just when, but eventually all mobile platforms will be included. Coming next may be Android, maybe then Microsoft – who knows? People subscribe to our magazine, that’s our business plan, but we have offsite articles – like to the Huffington Post – with content and links back to the magazine. It gets our name out there, along with some valuable information, without giving it all away. ManAboutWorld is a great publication. You should subscribe!