Media Contact: LoAnn Halden
LGBTQ+ tourism thought leaders convened in Atlanta for a ‘family reunion’ built around business networking, education and inclusivity
ATLANTA (16 September 2021)—The 37th IGLTA Global Convention was a resounding success, with more than 400 LGBTQ+ and allied travel professionals representing 27 countries coming together in Atlanta for a Buyer/Supplier Marketplace, several days of education, inspiration and networking, and the IGLTA Foundation fundraiser, Voyage.
Proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test were required for admission to all IGLTA convention events, and the result was an extremely welcome return to some degree of normalcy for the attendees, who shared with one another their inspiring stories of professional endurance, as well as their bold ideas for innovation, safety and inclusion within the LGBTQ+ tourism sector.
“We always say the IGLTA global network feels like family, because the business connections become so personal over the years,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella. “But this reunion was truly special after 18 months apart. You could feel the passion for LGBTQ+ tourism in every session, and it energized every business meeting on site. We’re so proud to lead the way in the rebuilding of our industry.”
Among the many highlights:
- The opening party at the Georgia Aquarium, where the guests socialized as whale sharks, rays and sea turtles glided behind them in a 6.3 million-gallon (23.8 million-liter) tank.
- The IGLTA Foundation Think Tank at King & Spalding that united leaders from all sectors of the tourism industry and LGBTQ+ organizations; the discussion focused on the intersection of LGBTQ+ tourism with overall equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and how to come back as a stronger, more welcoming industry. A session report is forthcoming.
- Main stage content at the host hotel that ranged from discussions of DEI strategies and future LGBTQ+ travel trends to a meaningful conversation about transgender and nonbinary inclusion in hospitality. Also featured: a Google talk on the importance of inclusive marketing; Asia LGBTQ+ data from Community Marketing & Insights; and a look at the needs of LGBTQ+ refugees through the lens of Safe Place International. Pamela Stewart, President, West Operations for the North America Operating Unit, The Coca-Cola Company, wowed everyone with her Women in Business talk, "Finding the Power Within.”
- The Pinnacle Award went to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Selected by the Chair of the IGLTA board of directors, the Pinnacle Award is given to an individual, business or organization that has truly made a heroic journey in advancing LGBTQ+ travel worldwide. A special Chair's Award also was presented to posthumously honor Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, a travel industry leader whose support of LGBTQ+ rights led the travel community toward a more inclusive world. The IGLTA Honors are presented with the generous support of Visit Philadelphia.
- Voyage, the IGLTA Foundation Fundraiser, had its most successful year to date. The event, presented by Discover Puerto Rico and hosted by Delta Air Lines, the Atlanta CVB and the Atlanta Airport District CVB, unfolded against a backdrop of aviation history at the Delta Flight Museum, drew more than 200 attendees and raised over US$70,000 for IGLTA Foundation initiatives.
For photos from the convention, please visit @IGLTABusiness on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org with specific requests, and be sure to mark your calendars for 26-29 October, 2022 for the IGLTA’s 38th Global Convention in Milan! Igltaconvention.org
The 37th Annual IGLTA Global Convention would not have been possible without the generous support of our convention sponsors. Presenting Level – Atlanta CVB; ATL Airport District CVB; Delta Air Lines; Discover Puerto Rico; Italian National Tourist Board; Tourist Board of Spain - Turespaña. Official Level – FocusPoint International (CAP Plan); Georgia Aquarium; Malta Tourism Authority; Simpleview; Treadright Foundation; Visit Lauderdale; Visit Philadelphia®; West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board. Conference Level – AIG Travel; Away; Belmond; The Florida Keys & Key West; Kentucky Tourism; Los Angeles Tourism; Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau; Pandora; Uplift; VisitBritain; Visit St. Pete/Clearwater; Wheels Up. Breakout Session Sponsors – Q.Digital; The Godfrey Hotel. Community Partners – Atlanta Black Pride Weekend; Community Marketing & Insights; Flytographer; Mantra Communications; OUTCOAST; Out Georgia; Pink Media.
About IGLTA & the IGLTA Foundation
The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association is the global leader in advancing LGBTQ+ travel and a proud Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. IGLTA’s mission is to provide information and resources for LGBTQ+ travelers and expand LGBTQ+ tourism globally by demonstrating its significant social and economic impact. IGLTA membership includes LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ welcoming accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events and travel media in 80 countries. The philanthropic IGLTA Foundation empowers LGBTQ+ welcoming travel businesses globally through leadership, research and education. For more information: iglta.org, igltaconvention.org or iglta.org/foundation and follow us on Facebook @IGLTA, @IGLTABusiness or @IGLTAFoundation, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @iglta.