The IGLTA Foundation asserted itself this week as a force for creating dialogue between gay and mainstream travel professionals with the symposium “We’re Out, Are You In?”.
At the Feb. 5 event, the foundation united more than 80 key players from tourism businesses, media, government, and charitable organizations around the topic of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travel.
"LGBT tourism is much more than the infamous pink dollar. It also holds potential for improving the lives of LGBT persons around the world,” said IGLTA Foundation Executive Director Travis Ferland. “As travelers we can make a human connection, offer support, raise awareness, and help in the struggle for acceptance."
New York City’s Desmond Tutu Center set the stage for a keynote address on global tourism trends from Yolanda Perdomo, Director of the Affiliate Members Programme for the United Nations World Tourism Organization. This was followed by a discussion on LGBT destination marketing with participants representing the Czech Republic, NYC & Company, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
A media panel delved into the complicated issue of travel coverage as vacation fantasy versus its thornier realities for minority travelers; panelists came from Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, the Society of American Travel Writers, and Curve magazine.
"This event was the first step in our foundation's effort to build synergy between the travel industry, media, and the LGBT community and to explore the possibilities of working together,” Ferland says. “From the enthusiastic response to this symposium, we know we’re on the right path.”
Among the attendees were representatives from the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Center for Black Equality, Arcus Foundation, Greek National Tourism Organization, the U.S. Department of State, and Open Society Foundations.The IGLTA Foundation will host a volunteer event on May 4 as part of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s Annual Global Convention in Chicago, and will provide five scholarships to that conference for tourism students and businesses. For more information, please visit www.igltafoundation.org.