Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gay and Lesbian Travel a booming segment at ITB Berlin 2015

The Gay & Lesbian Travel Pavilion, the world’s largest platform for LGBT tourism, welcomes new exhibitors – discussion round at the ITB Berlin Convention on the prospects for LGBT social media campaigns – a cult event: the ITB TomOnTour Party on 4 March 2015

Gay and lesbian travel is one of the fastest-growing markets in the international travel industry. Ever since 2010 ITB Berlin has grouped all the relevant providers on an attractive combined display in order to focus attention on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender tourism (LGBT). The Gay & Lesbian Travel Pavilion in the centrally located entrance area in front of the Caribbean Hall 3.1b, now showcases the world’s largest range of LGBT tourism products at any trade fair.

Among this year’s exhibitors attending the Pink Pavilion for the first time are Mykonos Accommodation Center with gay-friendly hotels from Mykonos, the Stockholm Gay & Lesbian Network with EuroGames 2015, the Dorsett Hotel Group with hotels in Asia and the UK as well as the gay tour operator Zenith Travel from Ecuador and Servicewerk Berlin with partners from Belgium. A first time exhibitor is also the German Gay&Lesbian Travel Magazine BonVoyage. Key West, Florida Keys & Key West, Fort Lauderdale as well as Ontario with Toronto, are represented for the first time with their own LGBT stand at the world’s largest travel trade show. Wien Tourism together with the popular Vienna Gay Café and ITB LGBT partner TomOnTour/Diversity Tourism GmbH are long-standing exhibitors at the show. The stand of Vienna Tourism features a cube with a large photo of Conchita Wurst and questions about the Eurovision Song Contest which in 2015 will take place in Vienna. Those who get the right answers will be able to win prizes. Also taking part again are the Spartacus Gay Guide, Brazil with ABRAT and Embratur, Argentina Turismo LGBT, Diversity Consulting from Madrid, the Ella Festival from Majorca, Gay Gran Canaria and the IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association), together with World Rainbow Hotels, Gay Guide 365, Here Media, and co-exhibitors from Tel Aviv and Barcelona.

Following its successful launch last year, in 2015 the Gay & Lesbian Media Networking Brunch will be taking place on Wednesday, 4 March. From 11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. members of the media will be able to get together in an informal atmosphere with representatives of destinations and other tourism providers. Part of it will be the Ella Festival for Women, One & Only Hotels, Toronto and Ontario, Hotel GranVia Kyoto from Japan, Spartacus and TomOnTour and, for the first time, the city of Athens (the City of Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau), which is acting as the main sponsor of the event. Another regular highlight is the reception organised by the Spartacus Gay Guide at their stand on 5 March 2015, the Thursday of ITB. Among those taking part are IGLTA, the Berlin Aids relief organisation (Berliner Aids Hilfe) and Air Berlin. Also on Thursday, night-fly agents from MANEO (a Berlin Anti-Violence-Project) will invite trade visitors to stop in hall 12 where ITB LGBT Partner visitBerlin and the Pink Pillow initiative will host a reception from 4.30 to 6.00 p.m. On the same day, Chic Outlet Shopping® will invite all IGLTA members and interested exhibitors to a midday reception at their stand in hall 18, stand 125a. On the Saturday of ITB ’Queer Tango’, a legendary event and major attraction for the public, will be taking place at 3pm on the gay and lesbian stand of Argentina. Also on Saturday, the Greek island of Mykonos will regale visitors at a 4 o’clock reception with cheese and wine. Taking place on 4 March 2015 at the Park Inn on Alexanderplatz will be the ITB Party by TomOnTour, a cult event for partygoers. Admission is by invitation only. Visit Florida with the Florida Keys & Key West, St.Petersburg / Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale are the exclusive partner of the event. On Thursday night the party will go on with the Mate Travel Awards get-together which will take place at the Tube Station in Berlin Friedrichstraße. On Friday the community will be networking with the IGLTA for an evening reception at the Axel Hotel, hosted by Tourism Toronto and Ontario. Admission here is also by invitation only. The next morning, on ITB Saturday, visitBerlin and the pink pillow Berlin collection hotels will invite guests to meet for a LGBT ITB-Breakfast in Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt.

Gay and Lesbian Tourism Panel at the ITB Berlin Convention
At the ITB Berlin Convention the ITB Destination Days will be addressing once again the topic of gay and lesbian travel. On Friday, 6 March 2015, taking the gay and lesbian market as an example, international experts Richard Gray, managing director of LGBT Market, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau; Shiho Ikeuchi, director of Overseas Marketing Hotel Granvia Kyoto; Kristin Hansen, of the Ella Festival, Majorca, and Rika Jean-François, responsible for CSR and LGBT travel at ITB Berlin and member of the board of IGLTA, will be debating “the potential of social media to successfully influence niche markets.” Matt Skallerud of Pink Banana Media, Los Angeles, will be holding an introductory paper. Moderating the event will be Thomas Bömkes, managing director of Diversity Tourism GmbH and long-standing advisor in LGBT matters to ITB Berlin.

ITB Berlin’s commitment to cultural diversity is not confined to the dates of the show. Thus, on request the ITB Academy organises events at various destinations with information on global developments. The show has also committed to strategic partnerships regarding the development of the LGBT travel product with Wien Tourismus and visitBerlin. In the context of its social responsibilities the world’s largest travel trade show also sees itself in a pioneering role and promotes tolerance and the implementation of human rights. ITB Berlin is a member of the IGLTA and supports the IGLTA Foundation.

About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention
ITB Berlin 2015 will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, 4 to 8 March. From Wednesday to Friday ITB Berlin is open to trade visitors only. Parallel with the show the ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held from Wednesday, 4 to Saturday, 7 March 2015. More details are available at www.itb-convention.com. ITB Berlin is the global travel industry’s leading trade show. In 2014 a total of 10,147 companies and organisations from 189 countries exhibited their products and services to 174,000 visitors, who included 114,000 trade visitors.

About ITB Berlin's commitment to diversity and LGBT travel:

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gaycation Magazine Appoints New Executive Editor

Gaycation Magazine, the premier LGBTQ travel magazine (www.gaycationmagazine.com), announced this week that Aaron Drake has signed on as the publication’s new Executive Editor. Drake comes with prior experience in LGBT travel media, as a contributor for Amtrak Ride With Pride, Man About World, Out Traveler and Connextions Magazine, and also as former editor of Frontiers Magazine in Los Angeles. He joins the Gaycation staff as the company begins its expansion, with the recent acquisition of The Word (www.theword.com), a LGBT newspaper based in Indianapolis, and Rainbow Tourism (www.rainbowtourism.com), a LGBT travel website based in Sydney, Australia.

Aaron joins Gaycation as Executive Editor to manage the magazine publishing process and assign content that emboldens the magazine’s mission of sharing real travel experiences and practical travel advice with readers. Aaron says, “I am excited to join Gaycation Magazine and get the word out about many of the remarkable LGBT destinations across the globe, both well-traveled and off-the-beaten-path. Gaycation has a strong, growing reader base and I very much look forward to connecting with them about their adventures. I am equally as excited to be working with the excellent team of DJ Doran and his partner Joe Morales in making this happen.”

DJ Doran, publisher and editor-in-chief of Gaycation says, “I extend a warm welcome to Aaron as he joins our growing Gaycation family. I know that Aaron’s broad experience in gay travel media will only enhance our team, and I am looking forward to witnessing his passion for travel reflected within the pages of the magazine.”

Before his role at Frontiers, Aaron Drake also contributed to The Advocate, Gay Cities, Columbus, Ohio-based Outlook Monthly and as an Editorial Assistant at Out in America Cities Network.

Drake has a B.A. in Mass Communication & Social Issues from The Ohio State University. He and his husband currently live in Los Angeles, but will be relocating to St. Petersburg, Florida, later this spring.


About Gaycation Magazine
Gaycation Magazine (www.gaycationmagazine.com) is a distinctive voice in LGBTQ travel, inspiring travelers to immerse themselves in authentic experiences that create a deep connection between readers, destinations and local culture. Our content is created by professional travel writers and personal travel experiences submitted by readers. Gaycation Magazine works with top brands, hotels and destinations to provide inspiration and advice that expertly serves the discerning traveler.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Gaycation Magazine Acquires RainbowTourism.com

Gaycation Magazine, the premier LGBTQ travel magazine (www.gaycationmagazine.com), shows it is serious about becoming a global LGBTQ travel and news powerhouse with the acquisition this week of Sydney, Australia-based Rainbow Tourism (www.rainbowtourism.com). This marks the company’s second acquisition in 2015, having taken over the Indianapolis-based LGBT newspaper The Word just a week ago. The acquisitions will create a combined social media footprint of 75,000 Facebook Likes, 20,000 Twitter followers and 10,000 Pinterest and Google+ followers, with projected page views on all three websites exceeding 500,000 monthly visitors under the Gaycation brand.

Founded in 2005, Rainbow Tourism grew from a few individual regional websites covering the South Pacific and Southeast Asia into a global umbrella site. Over the past decade it has amassed thousands of pages of original content highlighting experiences and events for gay and lesbian travelers.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Rainbow Tourism has earned its reputation for exceptional travel content. “It has been a labor of love by a team of gay travelers about the places we know and places we go for work and play,” says Mark Proffit, director and technical editor. He adds, “Early on we adopted a motto and lived by it: ‘Go gay. Stay gay. Play gay.’”

 “We are thrilled that Gaycation Magazine and Rainbow Tourism embrace the same passion for delivering original and relevant travel content for our community. This latest addition substantiates our sheer determination to expand through strategic acquisitions that focus on the LGBT market,” says DJ Doran, Gaycation Magazine publisher.

“As part of the Gaycation family, Rainbow Tourism will jointly work towards growing both brands and delivering value to our readers and partners,” says Dee Farrell, director and editor at Rainbow Tourism. “Rainbow Tourism and its blog, www.gaytravel.in, will continue to report on current gay travel news and useful resources for our readers and social media friends.” (Farrell is an IGLTA Pioneer Award Recipient and was a charter member and director at the organization’s inception in 1983. www.iglta.org)

“We were drawn to Rainbow Tourism because of their quality content, exceptional social media reach and impeccable reputation within the worldwide gay travel community. We are delighted to welcome them into the Gaycation Magazine family,” says Doran.

About Gaycation Magazine:
Gaycation Magazine (www.gaycationmagazine.com) is a distinctive voice in LGBTQ travel, inspiring travelers to immerse themselves in authentic experiences that create a deep connection between readers, destinations and local culture. Our content is created by professional travel writers and personal travel experiences submitted by readers. Gaycation Magazine works with top brands, hotels and destinations to provide inspiration and advice that expertly serves the discerning traveler.

About Rainbow Tourism
The Rainbow Tourism (www.rainbowtourism.com) team members are gay travel industry pioneers, journalists and global travelers hailing from North America, South America and the South Pacific. “We write about what we know, not just where we live, providing on-target stories and photos for fellow globetrotters.”