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Travel News

Fort Lauderdale to host gay travel convention

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The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) will hold its 2011 convention in Fort Lauderdale, bringing 1,200 attendees for four nights, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visito

The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) will hold its 2011 convention in Fort Lauderdale, bringing 1,200 attendees for four nights, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau said.

The city won out over Philadelphia and Chicago as part of a competitive bidding process, the CVB said.

The IGLTA is based in Fort Lauderdale, which hosted the group’s first convention in 2002. A gala dinner is tentatively being planned at the Broward County Convention Center.

Selection of Fort Lauderdale indicates the city has overcome some controversial remarks about gays by Mayor Jim Naugle, who is being term-limited out of office.

In a press release, Broward County Vice Mayor Ken Keechl, who the bureau described as the highest-ranking elected, openly gay official in Florida, said: “Our county, with vibrant ‘gayborhoods’ including Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors, has been a top-rated destination within the gay and lesbian community for more than a decade, and I know that it will be a place that IGLTA attendees will want to return to time and time again.”

Wilton Manors, a city of about 14,000 just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale, has one of the nation’s highest ratios of same-sex couples. A gay gentrification during the past decade has enlivened the city’s downtown, which has seen the construction of several large condominium projects and the current construction of the 145-unit mixed use Gables Wilton Park project.

The bureau said its presentation to IGLTA leaders was themed “Lauderdale Unleashed,” signifying the city’s emergence as a global gay and lesbian destination.

The convention will include educational workshops, city tours and a consumer trade show.

Details about the conference will be on the IGLTA’s Web site.