The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) will hold its 36th annual Global Convention in New York in 2019, the group announced last month in conjunction with NYC & Company, the city's marketing organization.
It will be New York's first time serving as host of the educational and networking event, which was held this spring in Cape Town, South Africa.
Organizers said timing was a major factor in the selection of New York: 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, seen as a turning point in the LGBT rights movement. (In June 1969, police raided Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn, a bar frequented by the gay community at a time when homosexual activity was illegal; that, in turn, ignited a series of protests that escalated into violence.) The Stonewall anniversary also prompted the organizers of international LGBT event WorldPride to tap New York as its host city for 2019.
Adding to that, timing of the announcement itself came a week after the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area was designated the Stonewall National Monument, the first national monument to gay rights in the U.S.
Fred Dixon Photo Credit: Julienne Schaer
According to Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, when the organization made its bid for the IGLTA convention, "We knew that there was an opportunity to align several big ideas -- that it would be a great opportunity to bring them to New York, it would be great for them to be in New York at that time. So it was a real win-win."
John Tanzella, IGLTA president and CEO, echoed that sentiment. "If you're ever going to do a convention in New York,  would be a great year to do it," he said.
Negotiations are underway with potential sponsors and host properties, and although planning for pre- and post-fam trips hasn't begun, organizers said that fams will be designed to convey the breadth and depth of tourism offerings throughout the city.
"In New York City there's plenty to offer people who want to stay beyond our conference, so we work on group discounts to attractions and events to give people the ability to experience the destination," Tanzella said.
"The one thing about the LGBT market in New York is that they act like almost every other traveler; the market is really open across all five boroughs," Dixon said. "So arts, culture, entertainment, nightlife, dining, shopping, theater -- we're going to be attempting to showcase all of those aspects of New York to them while they're here."
Next year's IGLTA Global Convention will be held in St. Petersburg, Fla., while Toronto is the host for 2018.
Visit www.nycgo.com and www.iglta.org.