- Özgür Töre
The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association has confirmed that it will bring its 38th Annual Global Convention to Milan in 2022.
The convention, the premier educational and networking event for LGBTQ+ tourism, was originally scheduled to take place in Milan 6-9 May of this year, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a long and successful partnership with Italy and the City of Milan, and IGLTA’s board of directors is committed to honoring their winning convention bid and keeping them in place as one of our prestigious host cities,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella. “We’ll take great pride in promoting Milan, Italy’s most LGBTQ+ welcoming city, over the next two years and sharing the destination with global travel professionals in 2022.”
IGLTA’s plans for Milan have been in the works for two years in collaboration with ENIT (Italian National Tourist Board), the City of Milan, AITGL (the Italian Gay & Lesbian Tourism Association) and the travel company Sonders & Beach. The stakeholders held numerous virtual meetings to discuss options, recently finalizing plans to postpone the event to 2022, but to keep it in Milan.
“I think there is a great desire to start again," said Maria Elena Rossi, Marketing and Promotion Director of ENIT. "Our new approach to tourism is based on quality, on experiences between the city and the surrounding area. In 2022, IGLTA attendees will discover an even more innovative product, thanks to this opportunity. And ENIT will continue to invest in this and other events, as part of our ongoing strategic marketing."
Roberta Guaineri, Counselor for Tourism for the City of Milan, added: "We will begin the planning and promotion again with the same strength as in 2019, because we need to emphasize the positive. Milan is not only a safe city, but also a city where the quality of the offer and welcome is high, an inclusive city open to all international guests.”
Since 1983, IGLTA's annual convention has been on the must-attend list for travel brands interested in the LGBTQ+ market. The event provides significant visibility for the host city with LGBTQ+ tourism professionals from all over the world, including travel advisors, tour operators, influencers, and representatives from hotels and destinations. The event has not been held in Europe since 2014 in Madrid.
In addition to showcasing LGBTQ+ tourism opportunities in Italy, the convention represents an extraordinary opportunity for Milan and Italy to demonstrate their openness and support of LGBTQ+ travelers, said IGLTA Ambassador for Italy Alessio Virgili, who runs Sonders & Beach as well as serving as president of AITGL. Virgili spearheaded the successful bid to bring the IGLTA Annual Global Convention to Milan.
“It has taken great teamwork during this period, because the planning of an event of this magnitude is long-term, and involves many partners and processes,” Virgili said. “I am still confident that IGLTA’s convention in Milan will be the largest ever held outside the United States.”
IGLTA’s next Annual Global Convention was already scheduled prior to the Milan postponement and will take place in Atlanta, 5-8 May, 2021. For more information, please visit igltaconvention.org.