Gay cruise and vacation purveyor Atlantis
Events has acquired RSVP Vacations, its longtime main competitor in
the fast-growing LGBT, or lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender, travel
Officials at West
Hollywood, Calif.-based Atlantis Events said the company plans to
maintain RSVP Vacations -- which, founded in 1985, is credited with
originating the modern all-gay cruise concept -- as a distinct
brand. RSVP, which will maintain its separate headquarters in
Minneapolis, will be headed by new president Charlie Rounds, a
former co-owner of the company.
"The two companies
are stronger together than they are apart, and taken together
demonstrate the strength and vitality of the gay travel market,"
said Rich Campbell, CEO of Atlantis Events.
entire cruise ships and al-inclusive resorts for the use of its
LGBT clientele. This year, the company hosted some 20,000 clients
on 11 "events," meaning chartered cruises or packaged resort
meanwhile, has seen both its offerings and market share dwindle.
While destinations offered in 2007 included the Caribbean, the
Mediterranean, central Europe and even an all-gay transatlantic
crossing on Cunard's Queen Mary 2, the company's trip roster for
2008 consists of just three sailings, to Barbados, the western
Caribbean and Tahiti. However, Atlantis officials said RSVP will
roll out more new product in "the very near future."
RSVP had been
acquired just last year for a reported $10 million by San
Francisco-based media firm PlanetOut Inc., publisher of Web site Gay.com and LGBT
magazines the Advocate, Out and The OutTraveler.
For his part,
Rounds in a statement described the acquisition as "a great
opportunity for RSVP to truly differentiate our vacations from
Atlantis vacations and to better serve our very distinct
While both firms
offered similar cruise and vacation product, in gay travel circles
Atlantis has often been thought to appeal to a more upscale, single
and "party-oriented" all-gay-male demographic. RSVP, meanwhile --
tagged with a stodgier image that PlanetOut was working hard to
update -- was held to attract a greater number of older, partnered
and/or more diverse vacationers.
contact Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to email@example.com.