28 FEB 2018: The 35th Annual International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Global Convention will be held at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, May 9 to 12. This is the second time the organization has held their event in Toronto, the previous one being in 2009, and the sixth time in Canada - the others being Vancouver (1989/2004) and Montreal (1998/2007). It's a trade event for anyone in the tourism industry who wants to learn more about LGBT tourism and connect with industry leaders around the world.

The T.L.C. Networking Programme helps participants better target their networking efforts by completing a short questionnaire about their primary goals for attending, which will then be used to connect them with other like-minded participants.

Keynote Speaker

UN Human Rights Officer, Fabrice Houdart, from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York, will be the Keynote Speaker.

Houdart works on the Free & Equal campaign, an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for LGBT equality. He also leads the UN global Standards of Conduct for Business, that addresses LGBT discrimination.

"In his role with the UN, Fabrice calls upon companies worldwide to stand up against discrimination in the workplace and respect the human rights of LGBTI employees, customers and community members," said John Tanzella IGLTA President/CEO. "This aligns perfectly with IGLTA's membership of global tourism businesses, which are committed to providing a welcoming experience for all travellers."

"Voyage" Fundraising Event Open to All

There will also be a special fundraising event on May 11th that is open to the public, that supports the development of LGBT tourism globally, and honours those helping to make the world more welcoming. "Voyage" will be held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, and includes a silent auction, cocktails, a networking dinner, and the IGLTA Honors, celebrating those who have improved the global landscape of LGBT tourism.

"The Voyage reception will signify a milestone in the visibility and efforts of the Foundation to support LGBT tourism through education and research and the development of the next generation of industry leaders," said IGLTAF Board Chair Gary Murakami.

"The term 'Voyage' represents the journey and movement for LGBT tourism and complements the passion and mission of the Foundation." IGLTA convention registration is not required to attend.

Tickets and information can be found here: www.iglta.org/convention/rsvp/voyage.

Toronto's Rainbow Railroad to Receive IGLTA's Pathfinder Award

The international organization headquartered in Toronto will be honoured on May 11th at the "Voyage" fundraiser as the recipient of IGLTA's Pathfinder Award. Rainbow Railroad is a volunteer-focused charitable organization that assists LGBT people seeking safe haven from state-enabled violence, persecution and the threat of death where homosexuality is criminalized.

Since it was founded in 2006, the organization has enabled nearly 500 LGBT people to reach safe destinations - most recently, 57 LGBT individuals living in Chechnya, 31 of whom have now arrived in Canada. The Pathfinder Award, part of the annual IGLTA Honors, is given to an individual, business, or organization that has made significant positive impact on their destination, demonstrating the highest standard of warmth and hospitality to the LGBT community.

"We are proud to recognize Rainbow Railroad as this year's recipient of the Pathfinder Award," said Murakami.

"Given the current unstable global climate and relative uncertainties in some countries and cultures, organizations like Rainbow Railroad are even more essential to lead us forward in our fight for equality and the ability for people around the world to live authentically without fear of persecution or harassment."

Rainbow Railroad executive director Kimahli Powell, commented, "On behalf of everyone at Rainbow Railroad, and especially the individuals and families we usher to safety every year, I am grateful to accept this award."

About IGLTA & The IGLTA Foundation

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association is the leading member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism and a proud Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. IGLTA's Annual Global Convention is the premier educational and networking event for the LGBT tourism industry, and includes an appointment-driven buyer/supplier marketplace with hosted buyer program, a networking session with global media outlets, and a round-table for small business owners. The educational programming focuses on the latest LGBT travel trends and marketing strategies, as well as issues impacting tourism businesses. All general session content will be presented in Spanish, as well as English.

The IGLTA Foundation supports the mission of IGLTA and its membership with a focus on education, research and developing future leaders in LGBT tourism. IGLTA membership includes LGBT and LGBT-friendly accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events and travel media in more than 75 countries.

For more information: www.iglta.org and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.




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