Gay Milan is preparing to welcome the 38th IGLTA Convention on LGBTQ+ tourism for the first time in Italy from October 26 to 28, 2022 at UNAHOTELS Expo Fiera.
Tour operators from all over the world will arrive to Milan and engage in networking events, training sessions, marketplaces and roundtables to learn from each other, understand the media landscape, and connect with the LGBTQ+ community through tourism.
Tourism has shown strong growth throughout Italy, on the rise each year (until the 2020 pandemic), and it has developed an annual income of 2.7 billion Euros. For 2022, in Milan alone, the host city, projections forecast an estimated income of at least 1.5 million Euros.
The 38th global convention on LGBTQ+ tourism is organized by IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association) and has as partnerships with the Municipality of Milan, ENIT, the Sonders and Beach Italy, Srl Group, and AITGL, the Italian Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association.
The path to bring the convention to Gay Milan started in 2016, when Alessio Virgili, the President of AITGL, the CEO of the Sonders and Beach Group, who has served as the Italian ambassador to IGLTA for more than 10 years, and who currently is President of the IGLTA 2022 Promotion Committee, asked the Municipality of Milan to nominate Milan as a host city, with the help from the American Consulate in Italy.
In 2018, IGLTA announced that Gay Milan had won the contest, thus beating cities of the caliber of Madrid, Paris and Brussels.
Initially, Gay Milan was supposed to be lit in the colors of the rainbow flag from May 6 to 9, 2020, to commemorate the convention, but due to the disruption from Covid-19, the IGLTA Convention was postponed to 2022.
Gay Milan in October: the purpose and objectives of the IGLTA Convention
The IGLTA Convention, held in gay Milan next October, is the largest networking and training event in the world dedicated to LGBTQ+ tourism.
IGLTA, International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association was founded in 1983 in Florida. Today it boasts more than 7,000 members from 80 different countries. The members are a mix of destinations, hotels, airlines, tour operators, travel advisors and cruises. By joining IGLTA, each member declares themselves to be completely welcoming and inclusive towards the LGBTQ+ traveler. By doing so, they show their real commitment to fight for a world where everyone can be free to be themselves. They do so through various operations both internal and external to their company reality.
Thanks to its Convention, now in its 38th edition coming up in Milan, IGLTA gives the opportunity to all the members who participate to develop connections with the leaders of the tourism industry. In 2019, 700 delegates from 49 different countries gathered at the most recent IGLTA convention in New York. Members build connections to grow their business by participating in the hospitality buyer and supplier marketplace and to learn the best practices for the LGBTQ+ market through training and networking events to reach the gay target in an increasingly professional way.
For Gay Milan, the event represents a unique opportunity to grow even more in terms of LGBTQ+ tourism. An event which Roberta Guaineri, the former Councilor for tourism of the Municipality of Milan, said, “It is important from the point of view of business and human rights, to promote hospitality without discrimination.”
In addition to representing a milestone for Italy itself, the convention is an opportunity to demonstrate how the beautiful country of Italy is an optimal destination for the international LGBTQ + traveler.
“It will be an important moment to promote the uniqueness of our country, a networking project in which private and public interests have been able to make an important contribution to the community”, said Alessio Virgili.
Several steps have already been taken in this direction. First, the creation of the Diversity & Inclusion Protocol in 2021 by the Sonders and Beach Group in collaboration with AITGL. This was the first Italian initiative dedicated to the enhancement of diversity and social inclusion in tourism in favor of the global LGBTQ + community, which encompassed hotel chains, institutions, local hospitality bodies and tour operators.
The UNA Group and ENIT were among the first to join. Daniele Mereu, Country Manager of the UNA Group declared: “The UNA Group has welcomed the creation of the Diversity & Inclusion protocol and confirms its drive to undergo the process with the aim of obtaining the ‘Queervadis-Approved’ label. This activity is part of the path we built together since the UNAHOTELS Expo Fiera Milano was chosen as the headquarters of the 38th IGLTA World Convention; the world event that in October 2022 will turn the spotlight of the entire world on the city of Milan.”
What to do in Gay Milan between October 26 and 28, 2022?
For those participating in the 38th IGLTA Convention in gay Milan from October 26 to 28, 2022, a rich schedule of evening events is planned. First, the opening ceremony at the Castello Sforzesco, a local Italian-made dinner with open bar live music. All guests, after arriving by bus from UNAHOTELS Expo Fiera, will be able to participate in a private tour in small groups where they will admire Michelangelo’s Pietà Rondanini. Next up is Voyage, the charity evening organized by the IGLTA Foundation, which includes a buffet dinner, open bar, and entertainment. Participants will need to purchase a ticket to attend, the proceeds of which will then be donated to charity. Finally, the convention will end with a closing reception organized by the city, at a special venue that’s to be announced.
For all the others, many scheduled events. An all-rainbow “fuori salone” that will make gay Milan even more inclusive to the global LGBTQ+ community.
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Quiiky Magazine is the premier Italian lifestyle and travel portal dedicated to LGBTQ+ travelers, featuring articles on Italian destinations, cuisines, wines, art, history and culture.