First, we're not talking about sexual tourism, which is linked to prostitution and illegal practices in most countries according to all dictionaries definitions. And while its raison d’etre is certainly related to sex, “tourisme libertine” or “naughty journeys” is a way of traveling that's finding a lucrative niche in the tourism industry
By Cecilia Rodriguez from Forbes
"Neither classical tourism nor sex tourism linked to prostitution, libertine tourism could be defined as the sector that is interested in libertinage, that is to say the joyful pleasure of the body,” Wikipedia reports. “Libertines and swingers who practice group sexuality, free and not paid, can frequent tourist establishments reserved for them through travel agencies specialized in these tourist services.”
Cruises, trains, palaces, villas, chalets, hotels, B&Bs and even campsites are among the growing choice of establishments specializing in licentiousness. They include programs for long stays, weekends or just “an evening of escape,” as described by one travel agency in the sector.
“The naughty journey is finding a place in tourism," explains the French daily Le Monde in a lengthy article recently published in its Economy section, where it calculates that “the rogue trips in full swing amount to nearly $20 billion a year globally.”
At that scale, it's clear people are ready to pay dearly in their search for pleasure. Swingers and aficionados of foam parties, group sex, latex parties, exhibitionism and other sexual practices reportedly pay large sums for the pleasure of mixing sexual adventures and tourist explorations in many corners of the globe.
The libertine journey is an up-and-coming niche launching a growing number of tourist agencies dedicated to fulfilling the need for lodging and programs where “the couple or the individuals can give free rein to their craziest cravings,” as featured by one of those agencies. “Free thinkers, hedonists, libertines ... All these lovers of life are attracted more and more by this type of tourism and the sector is in full expansion. Faced with this growing demand, we hope to contribute.”
One new website devoted to libertine activities is popping up every week in Europe, George Salmasso, commercial director of the principal real estate agency in Cap d’Agde, told Le Monde. Cap d'Agde is a beautiful port city in southern France and a naturist village known as the mecca of libertinage and called by many the “Disneyland for adults." In 2015, Cap d’Agde recorded €100 million in tourism revenue.
The growth of the industry is linked directly to the high prices that can be charged for the pleasure packed touristic programs. "Frolic traveling" can be expensive and, apparently, affluent customers do not shrink from any price in the quest to satisfy their desires.
For the pleasures available in September on the Cruise Désir, on the Royal Caribbean’s ship, the Azamara Quest, passengers paid from €3,000 to €10,000 per person. The ship departed from Venice for an eight-day tour of the Adriatic sea with 345 couples on board and a program cruising along the Croatian and Slovenian coasts featuring “the sensuality of erotic games and provocative-themed soirees with hot shows.”
In their promotional ads for next year, the tour offers “couples-only, adult vacation experience, clothing-optional, in a luxurious and secure environment, where passengers will receive top-quality service and visit paradise sites.”
The intriguing trips are not only by sea. A naughty version of the Orient Express is among the upcoming offers by the new French libertine travel agency Swingsy. “Called the Swingsy Express, this sex train will have stops in major European cities including Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona, where the passengers can participate in evening-themed programs and shows organized by libertine clubs in partnership with the site,” the organizers told Le Monde.
On its website, they clarify that to participate in their tourist trips “finesse and elegance of behavior should take precedence over our instincts.”
There are almost 500 swingers and libertines clubs in France alone, many in the center of Paris, and they are becoming so fashionable that the weekly L’Express published an article mapping their locations. Also the newspaper The Local published its own list of “the ‘crème-de-la-crème’ hotspots for couples seeking their sexual thrills.”