Fort Lauderdale, FL —
The 29th Annual Global Convention of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association in Florianopolis, Brazil (12-14 April) is touted as the gay tourism industry's premier networking and educational event, which this year also stands to honor individuals and companies that have helped to make the world more inviting to LGBT travelers.
These annual awards are selected by the IGLTA board of directors from the association's membership of tourism businesses in 89 countries. "The board of IGLTA is so very pleased to recognize these honorees from around the world," said IGLTA Chair Tanya Churchmuch. "Each and every one of them has played an important role in promoting LGBT travel in the most extraordinary of ways, from pioneering LGBT family travel to highlighting the plight of gays and lesbians in the Middle East to spearheading LGBT media in Brazil. It's an honor to recognize each of them for the work they are doing every day."
The Hanns Ebensten Hall of Fame Award: Gregg Kaminsky, R Family Vacations, for his innovation in developing a successful tourism product for LGBT families
The Chair Award: Javier Blanco, Director, UNWTO Affiliate Members, for bringing LGBT travel to the forefront of discussion among the United Nations World Tourism Organization membership
Community (based in the IGLTA convention host city/country): Andre Fischer, MiX Brasil, for his longstanding contributions to building queer visibility in Brazil through media
Pioneer: Russell Lord of Tel Aviv-based Kenes Tours, for more than 20 years of LGBT travel consulting in the Middle East
Travel Writer: Michael Luongo, for his years of quality travel journalism, gay and straight, with a focus on the Middle East and Latin America.
Founded in 1983 with 25 members, the mission of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association is to create value for LGBT travelers and expand LGBT tourism globally by demonstrating its significant social and economic impact. The association represents LGBT and LGBT-friendly accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, and events, as well as the LGBT travel consumers they wish to serve.
[Source: Press Release]