Thursday, October 29, 2009

GLBT Survey In Latin America

By Roy Heale

At a news conference today in Buenos Aires it was announced that the first LGBT market research in Latin America will be expanded substantially beyond the original plans. It will now include Brazil, Uruguay,Chile and Argentina.

It was announced today that the first market research on the gay and lesbian community in Latin America will investigate the habits and lifestyles of more LGBT people than originally considered.

It had previously been announced that the Market Study Gay 2010 Out Now + GNETWORK360 would survey gays and lesbians living in Argentine territory.

Today at a press conference held at the Axel Hotel Buenos Aires, the organizers of the study revealed that there will be a far greater scope for this new LGBT market study. It will now include gays and lesbians in Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay in addition to Argentina residents.

Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now, indicated the decision to expand research on this scale was logical.
"Out Now works in countries around the world," said Johnson. "When we looked at the region of Latin America it became obvious that there was a strong need for information to be provided through studies of this kind. Now we confirm that this need is equally important in Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile as it is in Argentina.”

It was also announced by Johnson that the gay and lesbian marketing agency will open its first office in the region---Out Now Latin America---which will be based in Buenos Aires.

"We are delighted that Pablo De Luca and Gustavo Noguera---the creators of GNETWORK360, the organization's most successful business networking for the GLBT community---join us as consultants for Out Now Latin America,” Johnson said." Both De Luca and Noguera, are intelligent, professional, dedicated, and committed to Out Now. This will surely prove to be really beneficial for the more than 12 million gays and lesbians living in the region in which we are starting to work.”

Out Now was founded in 1992 in Australia and works in markets around the world with many corporate clients including IBM, Toyota, Volvo, Hilton, KLM, Lufthansa, VisitSweden, German National Tourist Board, Barclays Bank and Citibank. The future services of Out Now Latin America will include research, strategic consulting, advertising, public relations, and staff training.

GNETWORK360 is a business to business event held annually for three days in Buenos Aires. According to Noguera "More than 650 people gather each year to share information, workshops, presentations and discussion panels plus learn about new business opportunities within the LGBT market segment.

De Luca stated, "Out Now and GNETWORK360 share the conviction that a better understanding of gays and lesbians helps businesses and other organizations to a greater awareness of the issues that concern our community assisting to create products and services in order to meet or resolve these issues in the most effective way to improve the lives of our community. "

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The Way To Go!

By Roy Heale
Travelling throughout Argentina is a pleasant experience on the luxury double-decker motor coaches. On a recent journey from Buenos Aires to Mendoza----approximately 1000kms---I chose to ride the coach instead of flying. I wanted to enjoy some of the Argentine countryside as I made my first trip outside the city of Buenos Aires. Plus the fact that it cost less than $40 made it a very attractive mode of transportation.

The coach terminal at Retiro in Buenos Aires is conveniently located and the arrival in Mendoza was in the heart of the city and just a short walk to my accommodations. Departure was exactly on time at 7AM and it was a beautiful sunny day. Perfect conditions to enjoy the scenery.

Surprisingly the coach was almost full at the beginning of the journey and along the route as we left some passengers behind in the smaller towns it seemed that an equal number boarded the coach to begin their trip. Although the stops along the way occurred almost every hour these were only brief interruptions, welcomed by many as an opportunity to stretch their legs for a few minutes. The extended break for lunch was just about half way through the journey at a restaurant with an extensive menu yet quicker than normal service.

Although it was a sixteen hour sojourn the scenery made it seem far shorter. I finally understood how the Argentine apppetite for beef is easily satisfied when I spied the large cattle herds feasting on the pampas grass. Stopping at so many small towns also gave me a better insight as to how the rural communities have grown and developed into thriving communities.

All in all it was a pleasant and educational journey with no stress. For the ride home I am going to try the overnight luxury sleeping berths and first class service with a meal and wine---on a coach!

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nip N'Tuck Vacations in Buenos Aires

By Roy Heale

Recently the spiraling health care costs and long hospital waiting lists in many western countries have encouraged the global development of medical outsourcing. One of the major beneficiaries of this outsourcing is Buenos Aires, Argentina where cosmetic surgery and hospital costs have long been identified as lower priced but with a high standard of medical practitioners. In fact the low cost of treatments here will usually offset the cost of a vacation in the Paris of South America---as Buenos Aires is affectionately known. Little wonder that the gay and lesbian community has caught on to this wonderful way to enjoy a rejuvenating holiday and return home with a refreshed new look.
Medical tourism is expected to be a $40 billion per year industry by 2010 and Buenos Aires will be one of the major beneficiaries of this spending. According to Christopher Henson of RefreshMed---a gay-owned concierge service specializing in medical tourism---the popularity of Buenos Aires is growing constantly as the place to visit and receive a cosmetic treatment while enjoying the city but spending the same amount of money as a medical procedure at home. This is especially true today as the current economic climate is providing even lower costs for airline tickets and accommodations while the rejuvinating procedures have remained consistently priced.
Everything from state-of-the-art liposuction to Lasik eye surgery, facelifts, dental veneers and teeth whitening, or simple botox treatments are available in Buenos Aires. A company like RefreshMed provides a complete service from arranging accommodations, airport transfers, excursions, and of course the medical consultations and treatments with certified professionals. In fact it is important to consult a local established company to ensure that all surgeons meet high standards and qualifications recognized globally. Also, the local contact needs to be fluently bilingual as Spanish is a pre-requisite to navigating your way around the city and medical processes. It is also important to understand the process, how long the treatments will take, and the recuperation periods in order to plan a vacation of the right duration in ensuring a return home with that perfect new-look.
The dazzling city of Buenos Aires is recognized as one of South America's gay meccas and a any vacation here will be memorable. The sizzling nightlife in gay bars and clubs, gourmet dining, and of course Tango, are just a part of what this city has to offer the LGBT tourist. The architecture, parks and boulevards, crafts and antique markets, and much more offer complete day and night entertainment for any gay vacation. And just imagine going home refreshed, renewed, and relaxed plus looking like a whole new person!
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Calgary Airport Improvement?

By Roy Heale
If you have ever had the unpleasant experience of departing from the International Terminal at Calgary's alleged “International” Airport then you are certainly aware of the dismal services at this location. With food selections limited to Harvey burgers and Tim Hortons donuts or sandwiches, you are guaranteed to depart from Calgary feeling hungry. And chances are you will be served nothing but peanuts or pretzels on your flight! The services also include Starbucks for coffee plus pastries, and a few newstands or souvenir shops, but don't expect everything to be open if you have a 6AM departure of your flight.
This is probably the most unpleasant experience of any airport International departures area that I have ever encountered anywhere in the world! That includes small airports on tropical islands and so-called third world countries. Calgary is probably number one on any list of “worst international airport facilities” that might exist. It is so bad that none of the major airlines which depart from this terminal even offer their best clients a traditional executive lounge for their use.
But now there is a glimmer of hope for passengers heading to the USA since Servisair Lounges opened their new Rocky Mountain Lounge located just after the security screening area. This new executive lounge facility allows you to relax before you fly. It offers comfortable seating, complimentary beers, wines, spirits, beverages, and snacks, with restrooms, televisions, flight information, reading materials, business facilities including telephone and internet. There is no better way to spend your time before the flight but space is very limited to just under 100 guests at any time. However, they do accept advance reservations and they open at 4:30AM to accommodate those early flights to the United States.
If you are an American Express Platinum or Priority Pass cardholder the admission is free. For those just looking for a one-time pass it is $20 before 9AM and $25 from 9AM to closing at 7PM. The extensive snack buffet---with healthy choices---is worth the price of admission by itself. This has to be the best bargain available for travelers passing through this ugly experience in the U.S. Concourse C departures terminal. Thank goodness for a private initiative and perhaps it will inspire the Calgary Airport Authority to take another look at the lack of services which they provide to International travelers.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gay Gaucho Experience

By Roy Heale
Anyone who has visited Buenos Aires knows that the nightlife is diverse and entertaining for both straight and gay tourists. But many people are not aware of the party scene for a gay Gaucho---the name given to Argentine cowboys---which exists in the nearby countryside. Local gay guide Gustavo from the 2Portenios will help you experience this unique culture in a tour that you will probably never forget!
Gaucho Night happens at ZONA X, a must see road-house nightclub an hour and a half outside of Buenos Aires, where anything and everything entertaining does happen.
The 2 Portenios can host a group via chauffer driven passenger shuttle on a midnight champagne excursion to ZONA X. You will find yourself transported to a colorful club that has for the last eight years been the best kept secret around Buenos Aires. The unreserved gauchos, transvestites, farm-hands, laborers, elders, gay and gay-for-a-day boys and girls, are more than happy to receive you into a party like no other---where you can abandon your inhibitions and experience this unique lifestyle.
With music including disco, electronic, 80’s, Latin, or salsa on a club-lit dance floor, where there are plenty of hot gauchos for the occasional slow dances at the end of the night. The crowd at ZONA X are friendly local people that have made their own style of party and revelry. Enjoy the night's alternative edge, enormous beers served in liter bottles for a couple of bucks, an outdoor patio, plus a dark backroom and bushes with tools greasier than any you’ll find on the farm at home. Wear what you dare and do pretty much anything you want, as the staff are having as much fun as the crowd. Pole dancing is a participatory event and everyone joins in!
This will prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime side-trip on any visit to Buenos Aires. You will find an unexpected place in your heart for this unforgettable round-trip night excursion into the Argentine Twilight Zone. Chances are you will return for more in the future!
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