Global LGBTQ+ Tourism Industry Heads to ITB Berlin

LGBTQ Pavilion in 2023
LGBTQ Pavilion in 2023 - image courtesy of ITB
Avatar of Linda Hohnholz
Written by Linda Hohnholz

The LGBTQ+ Tourism Pavilion is set to welcome the global tourism community and will showcase LGBTQ+ tourism products from March 5-7 in Hall 4.1 at ITB Berlin.

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LGBTQ+ tourism experts and interested parties will be gathering for presentations, lectures, interviews with experts and panel discussions, insider meetings, events and press events, while ITB’s own LGBTQ+ Tourism Pavilion Stage and the ITB Berlin Convention will feature keynote speeches, interviews with experts and panel discussions. The TOMONTOUR Podcast Lounge is debuting in Hall 4.1, where during the show podcast recordings will take place with tourism experts and hotel managers featuring anecdotes from the day-to-day world of tourism. Afterwards, these will be available on all the usual streaming portals.

Big-name companies such as München Tourismus, IGLTA (International LGBTQ+ Travel Association), GNetwork Buenos Aires and TOMONTOUR are presenting a wide range of LGBTQ+ tourism products. This is the first time Choose Chicago and the LGBTQ+ Wedding Conference are taking part. This year’s official partners of the segment are Turisme Comunitat Valenciana, with Benidorm and Valencia – the latter is organizing the Gay Games 2026 – along with Vacaya, a US operator of cruises and LGBTQ+ resorts. Networking events and forward-looking lectures on the ITB segment’s own stage and at the ITB Berlin Convention round off events.

DAY ONE

March 5, day one, the LGBTQ+ Media Brunch will be held from 10 to 11.30 a.m. with media representatives and bloggers to network with exhibitors including Choose Chicago and GnetWork Buenos Aires.

This will be followed at 11.30 a.m. by the official opening of the LGBTQ+ Tourism Pavilion, in the presence of Minister of Tourism of Comunitat Valenciana Nuria Montes de Diego, other representatives of Valencia, and Randle Roper, CEO of the US cruise operator Vacaya.

At 1.30 p.m., A3M Global Monitoring will present its “Travel Risk Map 2024,” a map of the world classifying travel risks for the LGBTQ+ community.

At 2 p.m. a panel discussion will take place entitled “Understanding Gen Z travelers and their preferences in LGBTQ+ Tourism.” Among those taking part are Björn Bender, CEO and executive chairman, Rail Europe.

At 3 p.m., trade visitors can look forward to an interview session entitled “Challenges for Trans Individuals While Traveling Abroad” with Magda Stega (TED Talk speaker, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Consultant, mstega.com).

At 5 p.m., rounding off events on the Tuesday of ITB, the LGBTQ+ Networking Reception of TOMONTOUR will be taking place, the annual event featuring important actors from the global travel industry, which this year is again being sponsored by the IGLTA, Pink Pillow Berlin and Visit Brussels.

ITB Berlin Convention: Diversity & Inclusion Track

The Diversity & Inclusion Track at the ITB Berlin Convention on the Green Stage in Hall 3.1 promises fascinating discussions on topics including diversity at the workplace, the industry’ response to global turmoil, and the important issue of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the global travel industry.

Rohit Talwar, internationally acclaimed futurist and CEO of Fast Future, will officially open the track with a keynote speech entitled “Tomorrow’s World – Global forces, technology developments, and ideas shaping the future and the implications for tourism,” in which he will also talk about future challenges and opportunities for diversity and inclusion in tourism.

Trade visitors can look forward to a number of other fascinating sessions, including the panel discussion entitled “Resilience in LGBTQ+ Tourism – Changing Challenges in changing times” at 12.15 p.m., at which global experts will discuss useful ways of achieving a resilience strategy for promoting LGBTQ+ tourism.

DAY TWO

March 6, day 2, will begin with a partner presentation at 10.30 a.m. under the heading “Benidorm – an LGBTQ+ Community Welcoming Destination.” The presentation will also feature a segment on the Gay Games Valencia 2026 organized by Visit Valencia.

At 11 a.m., Mateo Asensio (promotion director, Turisme de Barcelona) and the organizers of the official Eurovision Song Party of the mega city on the Mediterranean will for the first time present the Catalonian capital Barcelona as an LGBTQ+ destination that offers everything.

This will be followed at 11.30 by a panel discussion entitled “Navigating Challenging Times For LGBTQ+ Travel” with LoAnn Halden (VP Communications, IGLTA), Santiago Corrada (president and CEO, Visit Tampa Bay), Aisha Shaibu-Lenoir (Moonlight Experiences) and Akshay Tyagi (The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group). Together with representatives of the host city, John Tanzella will present the IGLTA Convention Host City 2026.

Visitors can look forward to more topics in the afternoon. For the first time a representative of Taiwan’s China Airlines will be present, who at 1 p.m. will speak at an expert session. Randle cruises andaya will present the concept of his company, which specializes in LGBTQ+ cruises, and Choose Chicago will outline its new LGBTQ+ marketing campaign.

At 8.30 p.m. at the TWO Hotel Berlin by Axel, the now traditional IGLTA Member Networking Reception organized by ITB’s long-standing partner IGLTA will round off events on the Wednesday of ITB.

DAY THREE

March 7, day 3 of this year’s LGBTQ+ Business Summit, will begin with a light breakfast followed by the official opening at 10.30 a.m. One of the highlights will be the presentation of a study on the evolving landscape of LGBTQ+ inclusion at 10.45 p.m. held by Javier Leonor (HR Global Inclusion & Diversity, Accenture). This will be followed by a panel discussion on the topics of workplace inclusion and the corporate sales pitch, with representatives of SAP and Skoda among those present.

After a networking lunch at 1.45 p.m. Alfonso Pantisano (contact Queeres Berlin, Senate Administration Berlin) will give a lecture on Magnus Hirschfeld.

Following its debut last year, the popular ITB Diversity Gala, which is supporting the IGLTA Foundation with a silent auction, is taking place again at the Ritz Carlton Berlin at 7 p.m. During the event the presentations will take place of the ITB LGBTQ+ Tourism Pioneer Award and, for the first time, the ITB LGBTQ+ Destination Award. With the latter, ITB honors destinations, tourism organizations and personalities in LGBTQ+ tourism. The gala is sponsored by Experience Kissimmee, New York State, Marriott, Visit Brussels and TOMONTOUR.

ITB Berlin is a member of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) and supports the IGLTA Foundation, the philanthropic organization of IGLTA.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE:

  • by the official opening of the LGBTQ+ Tourism Pavilion, in the presence of Minister of Tourism of Comunitat Valenciana Nuria Montes de Diego, other representatives of Valencia, and Randle Roper, CEO of the US cruise operator Vacaya.
  • , Mateo Asensio (promotion director, Turisme de Barcelona) and the organizers of the official Eurovision Song Party of the mega city on the Mediterranean will for the first time present the Catalonian capital Barcelona as an LGBTQ+ destination that offers everything.
  • This year's official partners of the segment are Turisme Comunitat Valenciana, with Benidorm and Valencia – the latter is organizing the Gay Games 2026 – along with Vacaya, a US operator of cruises and LGBTQ+ resorts.

About the author

Avatar of Linda Hohnholz

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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