International trade show to take place in New York on April 6

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NEW YORK -- A limited amount of exhibit space remains available for the eighth International Gay & Lesbian World Travel Expo.

Set for April 6 at the Metropolitan Pavilion here, the free one-day event (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) will feature local, regional and national gay travel suppliers.

Thomas Roth of Travel Alternatives Group (TAG) said he is expecting a turnout of as many as 2,000 visitors, comprised of travel agents and consumers.

"Last year we had 100 exhibitors, from small, gay-friendly bed-and-breakfast properties to tourist offices and airlines," Roth said.

"The number of expo visitors was 1,500. We expect to top that this year."

He stressed that one of the main points of exhibiting at the trade show is for suppliers to meet travel agents interested in offering gay and lesbian destinations to their clients.

"Likewise, travel agents can expect to gain more of an insight into the gay and lesbian market segment.

"Consumer guests also will have a learning experience by meeting gay and gay-friendly tour operators and travel agents as well as being able to ask questions that will educate them on making choices about where to invest their vacation dollars," Roth said.

As part of Expo 2000, Roth will be the moderator of a marketing workshop being held between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Loews Hotel.

"Agents will learn from this six-member panel and be made aware of the appropriate marketing tools to [sell travel to] their local gay community," Roth said.

Among those expected to be on the workshop panel are Charlie Conard, president of Our Tribe Marketing, which specializes in direct-mail marketing; Gina Gatta of Damron, a publisher of gay and lesbian travel guides, who will speak about the difference between gay travel and lesbian travel, and Matt Skallerud, president of www.Gaywired.com, who will speak on how to reach prospective gay clients via the Internet. The workshop is $15 per person, and Roth urges attendees to preregister.

According to Roth, who is also president of San Francisco-based Community Marketing Inc., which is the organizer of Expo 2000, travel trade shows are the norm in "mainstream" travel marketing, with specialty shows covering destinations such as Europe or Latin America or options such as cruises or safaris.

"But no expo had targeted the often more-savvy gay and lesbian traveler, a booming market segment in an otherwise flat industry.

"The International Gay & Lesbian World Travel Expo was designed to fill that need, and the outstanding success of our first seven years indicates the market was waiting," he added.

The event is sponsored by TAG, American Airlines, Carnival Cruise Line, Lufthansa, Tourism Quebec, Our World magazine, Damron, Gaywired.com, Curve, Columbia FunMaps, Genre, QTMagazine.com, Gaytravelnews.com and Travel Weekly.

TAG annually holds two trade shows, one in New York and the other in San Francisco.

This year's San Francisco session will be in October. The date was not available at press time.

For exhibit information, call (800) GAYEXPO or (415) 437-3800.

Web: www.mark8ing.com

E-mail: [email protected]

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