Long-time Copenhagen-based travel agent and tour operator
Peer Kjaer has launched Pink Viking Tours, a gay and lesbian tour company
selling packaged trips to ultra-tolerant Scandinavia.
The company opened in the spring and started selling its initial packages in
"We want to bring North Americans to Denmark and to
places that they can be gay and lesbian without standing out," says the
44-year-old Kjaer, whose company selects hotels near gay and lesbian hot spots.
"One of the things we are talking a lot about is doing honeymoons to Scandinavia, because [homosexuals] can get married over
Pink Viking Tours (www.pinkviking.net) offers packages to Stockholm,
and Helsinki, and also does customized trips to
such Nordic and Baltic cities as Reykjavik,
Faeroe Islands, St. Petersburg and Tallinn (Estonia).
Packages include private car or van transfers, 24-hour public transportation
and museum passes, guided three-hour city tours, breakfast, a "superior
dinner" and a welcome package.
Kjaer is a veteran of the tour business, having sold
wholesale Scandinavian packages internationally for 20 years. This is his first
stab at gay travel. "I saw a business opportunity; that's my reason. I
think it's fun. It's something very different than what I usually do."
The hook for the North American gay market, he says, is Scandinavia's reputation as an open and tolerant society.
(Denmark was the first country to legalize civil unions and, according to Pink
Viking, is home to the first gay and lesbian organization, LBL, est. 1948.)
"Over here in Scandinavia, we are a very
open society," says Kjaer. The company is planning three LGBT Baltic Sea
cruises for 2007. One will depart from Bergen, Norway, the other two from Copenhagen.
Pink Viking Tours is a member of the International Gay &
Lesbian Travel Association, having joined in April 2006.