Get ready to break out the espadrilles -- during its recent annual meeting, InterPride tapped Madrid as the host of the 2017 WorldPride festival. More than 80 delegations from cities worldwide gathered in Boston to discuss which international hot spot would leave with the nomination. By unanimous decision, the Spanish capital beat out contender heavyweights like Berlin and Sydney, which were cut during the first round of selections.
Despite the almost palpable magnetism these cities have when it comes to gay travelers, it's no surprise that Madrid took home the gold. From redefining marriage in 2005 to hosting Europride in 2007, Madrid has come out in a big way these past few years, transforming from just another obligatory stop on the typical European tour into a queer Iberian Shangri-la. If that weren't enough, the city's proposal had a diverse set of supporters, from LGBT business guilds to the Madrid City Council's Visitors and Convention Bureau.
"Our bid had the support of the MV&CB and all political groups represented on the City Council," said Ignacio Fernández, the bureau's CEO. "Madrid's election means a vote of confidence for the ability of our city's hotel and leisure infrastructure to hold such an important worldwide event."
Despite that "vote of confidence," some travelers might still be holding their collective breaths. The disappointment of this year's WorldPride in London has left a sour taste in many mouths. But hesitation like that is nothing that a few sangria-filled nights and the smell of good tapas can't fix. So even as you make plans for the 2014 WorldPride in Toronto, keep your sights set on 2017. The sweet promise of a welcoming city, a rich culture and a well-deserved siesta (or two) is just over the horizon.
-- By Michael Lambert
For a guide on how to spend your next long weekend in Madrid, click here.