By Joey Amato
The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association will present IGLTA Honors to Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York; and the ITB LGBT+ Travel Pavilion during its Annual Global Convention, 24-27 April at the New York Hilton Midtown. The awards are a collaborative effort between the boards of IGLTA and its philanthropic Foundation.
“Each year, the IGLTA Honors celebrate those who have shown a tireless commitment to create a more welcoming world for LGBTQ+ travelers,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella. “The recipients of these awards have truly heightened LGBTQ+ visibility on the global stage.”
Houdart will receive the Pioneer Award, given to an individual, business, or organization whose innovative spirit and actions have led the way in moving LGBTQ+ travel forward. IGLTA will recognize his work on Free & Equal, an unprecedented United Nations campaign for LGBTQ+ equality. Houdart also co-authored and leads a project on global LGBTI standards of conduct for business, which has been rolled out globally since September 2017. To date 233 of the largest companies in the world—including numerous companies in the tourism sector—have expressed support for the initiative.
“I am honoured to receive the 2019 Pioneer Award,” Houdart said. “Tourism has a unique role to play in the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality because increasingly it exposes communities worldwide to LGBTQ+ travelers but also because its economic footprint makes it a voice for inclusion that cannot be ignored. In that regard, the IGLTA Foundation is uniquely placed to contribute to much-needed social change globally.”
The ITB LGBT+ Travel Pavilion will receive the Vanguard Award, given to an individual, business or organization that enhances connections within the tourism community and elevates the visibility of LGBTQ+ travel worldwide. A success story since 2010, the Pavilion serves as a beacon for welcoming tourism businesses within the world’s largest tourism event.
“ITB is totally stunned to hear that we will receive such a prestigious recognition for our ongoing efforts to make LGBT+ travel accepted worldwide!” said Rika Jean-François, Commissioner ITB Corporate Social Responsibility, ITB Berlin. “A few community pioneers had already exhibited in some ITB corners, but we established gay and lesbian tourism as an official and proud segment together with our partners Thomas Bömkes and Tom Dedek of Diversity Tourism.”
“Today, we have reached a point where we have created one of the most diverse and buzzing LGBT+ Travel Pavilions at a travel trade show with exhibitors and panelists from all around the world,” said Thomas Bömkes,” LGBT Consultant ITB Berlin and Managing Director, Diversity Tourism GmbH.
“This award will give us the power to keep on going to make our vision come true that LGBT+ individuals shall never be discriminated against anywhere on this globe and shall enjoy travelling as anybody else—to places where the residents also enjoy a respected life,” Jean-François added.
IGLTA previously announced that George Neary, former Associate Vice President of Cultural Tourism for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, would receive the Hanns Ebensten Hall of Fame Award for his longtime dedication to LGBTQ+ welcoming travel.
The IGLTA Honors are presented with support from Visit Philadelphia. For more information about IGLTA’s 36th Annual Global Convention, please visit iglta.org/convention or email email@example.com.
The 36th Annual IGLTA Global Convention would not be possible without the generous support of our convention sponsors. Presenting Level – NYC & Company, Delta Air Lines, Disney Destinations©, Italian National Tourist Board; Official Level – AIG Travel, Inc., Airbnb, Guam Visitors Bureau, Malta Tourism Authority, Visit Philadelphia®; Conference Level – VisitDallas, Q.Digital, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Visit West Hollywood.