The International LGBTQ Travel Association (IGLTA) Convention comes to Atlanta next month, offering LGBTQ members of the travel industry worldwide opportunities for networking and education.
From September 8 through 11 at the Hotel Midtown (188 14th St), LGBTQ travel and tourism professionals will come together to network, share best practices for making travel safe and welcoming to the LGBTQ community, and take part in several incredible educational sessions and panels — like LGBT 101, Women in Business, and Beyond 2021: Trends for LGBTQ Travel.
“This year’s convention will have a strong emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” John Tanzella, the president and CEO of IGLTA, told Georgia Voice. “We often say that you can find LGBTQ conventions with flashier staging, but you won’t find one with more heart … The convention is a place where those entering the market can learn from global thought leaders in a friendly environment. And for those working in destinations that lack infrastructure or supportive laws for LGBTQ people, the convention is an opportunity to connect with like-minded people in a safe space and find inspiration to create change in their communities.”
The weekend kicks off with the buyer/seller marketplace from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 8 before the opening reception at the Georgia Aquarium on September 9. In conjunction with the convention, the weekend’s agenda includes Voyage 2021, a fundraising event benefiting the IGLTA Foundation, at the Delta Flight Museum on September 10.
“This year’s event at the Delta Flight Museum promises to be the most spectacular yet, with entertainment, open bar and hors d’oeuvres all set against a backdrop of exhibits that showcase the past, present and future of aviation,” Tanzella said.
100 percent of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the foundation, which empowers LGBTQ-welcoming travel businesses globally through leadership, research, and education. Initiatives include a fellowship program funding attendance for LGBTQ small business owners, young professionals, and students to attend the convention, a transgender advisory council, and a project developing LGBTQ tourism in India.
This global convention serves as an opportunity to highlight an important sector of travelers, according to Tanzella.
“We’ve seen in various surveys through the years, from IGLTA and others, that LGBTQ [people] are loyal and very resilient travelers, often leading the charge when travel resumes after a crisis, like 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, and now COVID-19,” he said. “73 percent of the respondents in our 2021 LGBTQ+ Post Covid Travel Survey said they planned to take their next major vacation before the end of 2021. It’s also worth noting that according to the U.S. Department of State, about 42 percent of U.S. citizens have passports, but 85 percent of our U.S. LGBTQ+ respondents are passport holders. We get out there!”
Registration for the convention is now open. To register and find the full agenda, visit igltaconvention.org. Buy tickets to Voyage 2021 at igltaconvention.org/convention/rsvp/voyage and view the full results of the 2021 LGBTQ+ Post Covid Travel Survey at iglta.org/research.