Gay travel agents from around world to gather
About 60 travel professionals from around the world are expected to be in Dallas by next Wednesday to participate in the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association’s annual February Symposium, association officials said.
The association holds two symposiums and one convention each year, according to John Tanzella, executive director.
The symposiums are intended to provide an opportunity to discover destinations appealing to the lesbian and gay traveler, according to information on the association’s website. The meetings offer opportunities to network, meet members from other parts of the world and attend educational seminars, Tanzella said.
The Dallas event will include a consumer trade show that is open to the public and a tour of the city for participants.
The North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau worked together get the association to hold its event in Dallas, seeing it as part of continuing efforts by both groups to promote Dallas to GLBT travelers worldwide, according to Leo Cusimano, chamber president.
“One of the main ideas of the symposium is to showcase the host city,” said Cusimano, who is advertising manager for Dallas Voice.
“One of the main priorities of the chamber is to increase our community’s visibility nationally and bring visitors, conventions and commerce to the area.”
The meeting this weekend has different goals from those of a press tour for travel writers in the GLBT media organized for April, Cusimano said.
“The press tour in April is for travel writers. This symposium is for the actual service providers, the people who book the hotels and make arrangements for people who want to come here,” Cusimano said. “There is about $65 billion spent each year by the GLBT community on travel, and both these groups are important in bringing some of that money to Dallas.”
The symposium also fits into the convention and visitors bureau’s campaign, launched last year, to market the city as a GLBT travel destination.
Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the bureau, pointed to the number of GLBT meetings, sporting events, pageants and business events for which the city has been host as evidence of Dallas’ commitment to GLBT tourism.
“Diversity is part of what makes Dallas a great city,” Johnson said.
“With the sixth largest gay population in the U.S., a world-class gay men’s chorus, multiple theater companies, the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, countless charity events and nightly events, Dallas offers GLBT travelers a friendly environment with wide-ranging venues and unique entertainment options,” he said.
For more information about the ILGTA February Symposium, visit www.iglta.org.
For more information about the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau’s “Live large. Think big” campaign to promote tourism, visit www.visitdallas.com or www.glbtdallas.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 17, 2006.