The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender tourism market is rapidly expanding, with a global worth estimated at more than $200 billion dollars annually.


What is important to the travellers in this segment is to feel safe and welcome in their chosen destinations – and with its supportive legislation, South Africa is perfectly poised to increase its share of LGBT visitors. Cape Town was selected as the host city for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s 33rd Annual Global Convention, Spectrum 2016. This will be the first time this educational and networking event has travelled to the African continent.


The tourism businesses that attend the convention, held from April 14-16 at the iconic Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, will share in this remarkable piece of history and have an opportunity to expand their global reach. “We’re very proud to be chosen as the host city for this world-class tourism conference,” said Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase Cape Town as a diverse and LGBT-welcoming destination. We also believe our local businesses will benefit from the global LGBT education and networking opportunities presented by IGLTA.”


Keynote speakers include:

Derek Hanekom, South African Minister of Tourism

• Ndumie Funda, South African LGBT activist, Luleki Sizwe

• Mario Hardy, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)

Yolanda Perdomo, Director of United Nations World Tourism Organization Affiliate Members Programme (UNWTO)

David Scowsill, President/CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)


On opening day, the Chair of the IGLTA board of directors will present a special award to former Archbishop Desmond Tutu in co-operation with the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Each year, the association honours individuals and businesses that have helped make the world a better place for LGBT people. Often the LGBT news that comes from Africa is related to hate crimes and homophobia.



The IGLTA Annual Global Convention celebrated the business of equality, said IGLTA President/CEO, John Tanzella. “Companies that are welcoming to everyone reap big benefits in reputation as well as from a financial standpoint.We’re excited to unite the world’s tourism leaders with the business community of South Africa to share knowledge, contacts and strategies for long-term success in the LGBT market,” he said.


The three-day event features educational sessions that focus on global data, quality business practices, social media strategies, brand development, and ways for newcomers to get started in the LGBT market. A CEO panel with representatives from New York, Washington D.C. and South Africa will examine the ways a destination can work with its hospitality partners to increase LGBT revenue. Registration includes networking lunches at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel and evening receptions.


IGLTA’s Annual Global Convention also incorporates a Buyer/Supplier Marketplace, the only appointment-driven global LGBT event of its kind. Travel agents and outbound tour operators will meet with suppliers in a series of timed sessions on April 14. Buyers can apply through the IGLTA convention website to receive a free marketplace registration, which then includes all additional conference programming. African-based suppliers qualify for special discounted fees. In addition, the conference features a media networking session with LGBT media outlets, freelancers and bloggers from the Americas and Europe so that businesses can pitch stories about their services and products

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