Travel Gay Canada (TGC), Canada’s LGBT Tourism Industry Association, hosted its first Annual Canadian LGBT Tourism Conference in Toronto on Friday, November 5th, 2010, at the InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel. Tourism industry professionals from across North America, and even as far away as Australia, gathered for a day-long conference to examine who the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) travel market is, what they look for when travelling, and how to successfully reach them.
The North American LGBT travel market is estimated to be worth more than $70 billion. Canada is recognized as one of the most progressive and inviting countries in the world, and it is a choice destination for LGBT travellers, but as more and more countries across the globe enter the market and start welcoming LGBT tourists, Canada must continue to actively reach out and promote itself to remain competitive.
Leading authorities on the LGBT market presented on topics such as creating cost effective marketing strategies, using the power of online and traditional media, LGBT project development, and more. Speakers included such experts as Charles Lapointe, President and CEO, Tourisme Montreal; Beth Mairs, Founder, Wild Women Expeditions; Thomas Roth, President, Community Marketing Inc.; Patrick O’Reilly, Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Museum for Human Rights; and Tanya Churchmuch, Founder of Girlports.com.
The Conference kicked off with a joint welcome reception with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), which was recently approved for admission to the U.N. World Tourism Organization, a first for an LGBT organization. The Conference’s final session focused on the importance of LGBT sporting events and tying in the LGBT community to large-scale mainstream events. Speakers in this session included Elaine Chick who was recently the Program Manager with the Cultural Olympiad at the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Games; Greg Larocque, Director, International Federations, Gay & Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA); and Dean Nelson, CEO, Community & Media Relations, Alpenglow Productions.
“Travel Gay Canada’s (TGC) first conference was a landmark event, which was characterized by confidence and knowledge that the LGBT travel market continues to be an important market in the Canadian tourism industry,” said TGC President, Darrell Schuurman. “Delegates were provided with unique insights into how to reach and connect with the LGBT market from leading authorities in the sector.”