This is the continued critique of an article in the New York Times, "The 31 Places to Go in 2010", which was published January 10, 2010.
Colombia: Please, Colombian kidnappings and violent drug wars are so '90s. In truth, although the world's third-largest Spanish-speaking country (trailing just Spain and Mexico) still has a thriving illicit cocaine biz, this South American country that borders Panama and has coastline on both the Pacific and Caribbean has become relatively safe in recent years. Bogota has the thriving gay scene that you'd expect of a city with 7.3 million inhabitants, the colonial Caribbean resort city of Cartagena is developing an increasing GLBT following, and Medillin - the city most associated with Colombia's drug wars - is enjoying a notable renaissance. If I had to pick one country in Latin America on the verge of developing into a serious gay vacation spot, Colombia would be it (with Panama not too far behind) - one promising development is that the government granted full legal rights to gay couples in 2009. Vamos Colombia offers personalized GLBT tours of the country, and Guia Gay Colombia is an excellent Spanish-language gay guide to the country. For specifics on the gay scene in Bogota, try this article in Passport Magazine.
Kitzbuhel: The luxurious Austrian ski town of Kitzbuhel has no gay scene to speak of, although it's just over the Alps from Saalbach, which is host of EuroSki Pride; and 175 km from Solden, which also hosts a GLBT ski event. Still, as fashionable Austrian ski getaways go, this cloud-capped village is pretty dazzling. The New York Times article cites Kitzbuhel's emergence into a stellar dining destination - it has several Michelin-star restaurants, plus a slew of over-the-top hotels and spa resorts. Just bring your own date. There are no GLBT resources on the area, but Tourism Kitzbuhel is a handy spot for scoring general travel advice.
Norway: Another of the less-than-revelatory destinations included among the Times 31 Places, Norway is among the most progressive and gay-friendly nations in the world - same-sex marriage became legal in 2009, and capital Oslo and hip university city Bergen both have thriving gay scenes. The Visit Norway GLBT travel page as well as a well-written article in Passport Magazine on Norway gay travel are helpful places to begin planning a trip among this Scandinavian nation's cosmopolitan cities and majestic fjords. Also check out the NightTours Olso Gay Guide and Visit Oslo official GLBT page for more specifics on the capital, and the gay page of the Bergen Guide for the 411 on that city.
Gargano: The Times included this small peninsular region at roughly the top of Italy's heel, where it juts into the Adriatic Sea, as a less-crowded, more affordable, and largely undeveloped alternative to Amalfi and Cinque Terre. Indeed, Gargano's seaside towns of Peschici and Vieste have zero gay scene - but this does look like a happily scenic and solitary spot for a Mediterranean getaway. Italy is quite gay-welcoming for an almost entirely (as in roughly 90%) Catholic nation. Although no gay resources exist on Gargano, you'll find a nice online chapter on it and the nearby Tremiti Islands in Frommer's Italy.
Kuala Lumpur: Although sophisticated and vibrant, with a storied contemporary skyline and a fabulous food scene, Kuala Lampur is nonetheless capital of an officially Muslim country that continues to uphold British colonial laws criminalizing homosexuality. Malaysian tourism reps have told me off the record that gays and lesbians won't encounter hostile attitudes in big cities, especially in Kuala Lampur, which has plenty of high-end Western hotels and a pretty decent variety of gay bars. But officially, this is one part of the world that isn't actively courting GLBT business, and compared with Bangkok, Hong Kong, and even Shanghai, this modern city ranks well behind as a gay destination. Utopia Asia has a fine Gay Guide to Kuala Lumpur, and you'll find an accurate snapshot of Malaysian gay life at GlobalGayz.com
Nepal: Well, this one caught my eye - in fact, it partly inspired me to write this commentary on the New York Times 31 Places. The last entry on the Times list, Nepal was cited specifically as a gay destination for 2010. This by-all-accounts breathtakingly beautiful country in the Himalayas is roughly the size of North Carolina (but with three times the population). As the Times article notes, Nepal provided GLBT citizens equal rights in 2008, and "a tourist agency in Katmandu is promoting gay tourism." I wouldn't call Nepal the next Puerto Vallarta or Mykonos, but this otherwise rather conservative Hindu nation does appear to be a safe, friendly, and tolerant place to plan a vacation with a same-sex partner of a group of gay friends. The Utopia Asia Nepal Gay Guide lists plenty of resources and gay-friendly businesses, and you'll find more details on gay society in Nepal at GlobalGayz.com