LGBTQ South Florida

Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to host CMI’s annual LGBT tourism conference

Lexi Dee, president of the transgender Southern Comfort conference held Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 in Fort Lauderdale.
Lexi Dee, president of the transgender Southern Comfort conference held Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 in Fort Lauderdale. Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Community Marketing & Insights will hold its 16th annual LGBT Tourism Conference Wednesday through Friday at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.

“We have had a long-standing and successful partnership with CMI and are excited to once again host their LGBT Tourism Conference in Greater Fort Lauderdale,” Richard Gray, LGBTQ managing director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said in a news release. “Whether it’s the transgender community or the gay family travel market, Greater Fort Lauderdale is one of the most diverse and welcoming destinations in the country, and we look forward to bringing together experts in the field for this important and thought-provoking conference.”

The Fort Lauderdale CVB is currently focusing on the “T” in LGBT, Gray said in a video produced during the Southern Comfort conference for trans people and allies held Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 at Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston. Trans teen Jazz Jennings of Broward also appears in the video.

Here’s the complete CMI news release from the CVB:

Community Marketing & Insights’ (CMI) LGBT Tourism Conference will take place in Greater Fort Lauderdale from December 9-11, 2015. In its 16th year, the tourism industry’s premier marketing, sales, public relations and research forum on LGBT travel will be held at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.

More than 30 speakers will appear throughout the three-day conference which will include an overview of the LGBT tourism market, workshops and networking events, with new programs on internet marketing to the LGBT community, the latest LGBT tourism market statistics and successful marketing techniques.

“We have had a long-standing and successful partnership with CMI and are excited to once again host their LGBT Tourism Conference in Greater Fort Lauderdale,” said Richard Gray, LGBTQ Managing Director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Whether it’s the transgender community or the gay family travel market, Greater Fort Lauderdale is one of the most diverse and welcoming destinations in the country, and we look forward to bringing together experts in the field for this important and thought-provoking conference.”

“Community Marketing & Insights and the entire LGBT travel industry is excited to be returning to Greater Fort Lauderdale for our 16th annual conference. This is the third time the conference has been held in Fort Lauderdale, recognizing the region’s leadership and support for LGBT tourism,” said Thomas Roth, President of CMI.

As the only CVB in North America with a designated LGBTQ department, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau commissioned CMI to conduct a national LGBT family travel survey in late 2015, a first for a CVB in North America. While representing a smaller segment of the overall LGBTQ community, LGBT parents are a viable tourism segment for many destinations.

In another first, the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB commissioned a survey of transgender travelers in North America in 2014 with the goal of identifying the travel motivations, needs and priorities of the market. The survey provided insight as to how the CVB could communicate appropriately with transgender travelers and deliver a sensitive and authentic welcoming experience, including providing training to the local community.

Greater Fort Lauderdale also hosted the largest transgender conference in North America this year, the 25th Annual Southern Comfort Conference. It was the first time the conference took place in Florida, and Greater Fort Lauderdale will host the conference for the next three years.

A pioneer, Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomed 1.5 million LGBTQ visitors spending $1.5 billion in 2014 and is home to hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses, the most in the state, and the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country. It’s also home to one of the largest Pride Centers in the country, the world's first AIDS museum, the global headquarters of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, and the Stonewall Museum, one of the only permanent spaces in the U.S. devoted to exhibitions relating to LGBTQ history and culture.

For more information, visit www.sunny.org/lgbtq.

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