The gathering attracted dozens of buyers, suppliers and tourism insiders from around the globe for three days of networking and education. A variety of trending topics were at the forefront, according to John Tanzella, president and CEO, IGLTA. “Crisis management, as it pertains to the tourism industry, is a leading topic, which encompasses everything from global terrorism to anti-LGBTQ laws,” he said, adding that the new U.S. administration’s impact on inbound tourism is also a hot topic for IGLTA members.
This year’s event attracted big-name speakers from the travel industry, including Roger Dow, president and CEO, U.S. Travel Association, and George Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort. Tourism officials from Guam to Monaco were also present, and a buyer/supplier marketplace provided an opportunity for attendees to make new contacts. The host hotel was The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, and the gala opening night reception took place at The Dalí Museum and the Mahaffey Theater.
The convention also gave St. Petersburg/Clearwater a chance to show off its gay-friendly vibe, with outings to enjoy local nightlife, shopping and dining, as well as information about the annual St. Pete Pride Fest, an LGBTQ pride event that takes place in June. Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, the destination’s tourism organization, maintains a robust LGBTQ travel section on its website.
The annual event was also a time to reflect on the organization’s evolution in the 21st century. “IGLTA has expanded its reach on all fronts: We have members in more countries and in more unexpected destinations,” said Tanzella. “Our scope has moved beyond the original business-to-business model to include consumer outreach. We also have greatly increased our engagement with mainstream brands and organizations and have created the IGLTA Foundation to do more for our members while simultaneously giving back to the LGBT community worldwide.”
Tanzella said IGLTA members have changed the way they approach the LGBTQ market in recent years. “There has been a move away from one-size-fits-all marketing to recognizing the great diversity in tastes and traveler types within our LGBTQ community,” he explained. “Rather than just ‘gay travel,’ we see companies doing LGBTQ tourism outreach that focuses on luxury, weddings, families, adventure, millennials or the transgender market, to name just a few.”
As harmful to the environment as air travel is, some airports are taking measures to become more environmentally conscious. One example is Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where an adjacent solar farm powers certain airport operations.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.