There are two guaranteed ways to transform people: time and travel. When IGLTA was created back in 1983, the world’s progressive possibilities—especially where LGBTQ+ communities were concerned—seemed limited. Then 36 years passed, and here we are in 2019, enjoying incredible progress, but still battling to overcome obstacles and struggles around the world.
In this transformative four-decade time period, IGLTA’s mission of advancing LGBTQ+ travel globally has positively influenced the travel industry’s evolution. Our association collaborates with welcoming tourism businesses operating in more than 80 countries and partners with influential travel associations across Europe, the Pacific-Asia region, Africa, North America and Latin America. Consistently, we see that businesses that support travel for all are rewarded with consumer loyalty. Equality and success go hand in hand.
Like everyone, LGBTQ+ travelers prioritize safety. But we also deserve the freedom to move through the world, and many of us will boldly visit a destination, even if it seems less welcoming. Through IGLTA, travelers can research tourism businesses in more conservative nations, such as Uganda and Sri Lanka (pictured above), and discover tour operators, accommodations, and other hospitality companies eager to help diverse clientele enjoy their regions. When LGBTQ+ travelers engage local experts, it can help to change the dialogue around the destination.
That means with every LGBTQ+ friendly business, our global community grows stronger. With every individual traveler, the world grows a little more understanding, more tolerant and more welcoming. The mutual benefits even extend to local communities as they adapt to changing markets and progressive travelers.
IGLTA is a dedicated global connector. On the digital side, we’re proud to offer a robust online community. We have active social media channels and e-newsletters filled with LGBTQ+ news. Plus our travel chatbot helps IGLTA.org visitors plan trips.
In the real world, one of our most fun and effective means to success is the IGLTA Annual Global Convention. This year the convention is headed to New York City for the very first time. It’s happening 24-27 April 2019, shortly before the city marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising with WorldPride in June. The convention is educational and exciting—and perhaps more importantly, it’s a unique forum to connect with other LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, media, tourism bureaus and leading travel brands. (Register by January 15th for early bird discounted rates.)
With time and travel come fresh perspectives. We hope you’ll find both in 2019 and in the years to come, and that the transformative power of travel continues to inspire you.
We can’t wait for what wonders lie ahead.
Featured Image from: Foozoo Travel