John Tanzella / Tuesday, July 03, 2018 / Categories: Business Blog From the CEO: Connecting Cultures, Globally Business can be very personal. In fact, personal connections are often the most effective way to grow a business. Through face-to-face meetings, casual conversations, and good timing, lasting ties can be made—and at IGLTA, we’re proud to serve as a conduit that links our members. Together, IGLTA’s members share a common interest to broaden tourism for queer travelers, which provides a kind of personal-connection jumpstart that often fuels business success. In just one recent example, I visited Japan for a series of LGBTQ+ seminars and meetings for tourism industry professionals. While there, I enjoyed a lovely evening with friends Shintaro Koizumi and Hiromi Thetreau of Out Asia Travel, an active IGLTA member company. Over the course of dinner, I mentioned an upcoming visit to Brazil. Shintaro told me that, coincidentally, Out Asia was considering expanding its business to serve Latin America. Photo credit: Rachel Stevenson/OUTCOAST Photography It seemed logical, considering the many ties between Japan and Brazil, and the significant Japanese population in cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. (As an added bonus, Brazil also is home to IGLTA’s largest membership base outside the United States.) So we decided to make it a group trip to Brazil, where I connected the Out Asia team to Clovis Casemiro, IGLTA’s membership coordinator for Brazil. During the visit, the collaborators met with local chambers of commerce and tourism offices, and a new network was established between several businesses with common goals in Japan, Brazil, and other countries. This story underscores IGLTA real-world function as a social hub for its members, especially those who rely on referrals, introductions, and other personal connections to cultivate their clientele. Equally exciting is seeing how IGLTA’s expanding global reach can foster opportunities for members and partners to connect, learn, and grow. Though our association is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we pride ourselves on facilitating relationships among members who are based in over 80 countries and conduct business in more than 100. Photo credit: Rachel Stevenson/OUTCOAST Photography At our Annual Global Convention, for example, we host the Buyer/Supplier Marketplace where brief appointments lead to lasting joint ventures between tour operators, hotels, travel agencies, CVBs, event planners and other tourism professionals around the world. Through the Marketplace and other forums—both casual and facilitated—IGLTA has introduced members in many countries: Israel and Canada, Italy and Mexico, South Africa and Austria, the United States and Malta, the UK and Slovenia, to name just a few. Together they’re strengthening international travel for all LGBTQ+ travelers. Many of our business members concentrate services in their home countries, and we agree that’s a terrific place to start. But just as our association works to broaden LGBTQ+ travel overall, we serve our members best by inspiring them to think globally. To join our next Buyer/Supplier Marketplace, held during our 24-27 April 2019 Annual Global Convention in New York City, visit our convention website, iglta.org/convention. Qualified buyers receive complimentary convention registration and 5 nights in the host hotel, the New York Hilton Midtown. The buyer application will be live on the website soon! Previous Article IGLTA connects with members in Brazil Next Article How to Get Featured in IGLTA's New LGBTQ+ Travel Chatbot Print 1298 Tags: LGBT Travel Lesbian Gay IGLTA Please login or register to post comments.