LGBT events not to miss!
(Photo above: On the red carpet at The Life Ball in Vienna)
Every year, there are key LGBT events that take place around the globe that celebrate diversity and provide a platform for education and community support. Here is my list of key LGBT happenings for 2017 that I have supported and/or attended over the years:
IGLTA Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, Fla.
The IGLTA Annual Global Convention will take place from May 4 to 6 in St. Petersburg. It is considered to be the world’s premier educational and networking event for LGBT tourism professionals. This year will mark the 34th edition of the conference connecting LGBTA travel and tourism suppliers and buyers globally. A significant component of the convention is the various educational workshops and networking receptions providing the opportunity to build and grow your LGBT business segment. (www.iglta.org/convention ; www.stpete.org)
Life Ball, Vienna
Undeniably one of the greatest shows on earth, which I have personally attended since 2011, this extravagant event will take place on June 10 at Vienna’s elegant City Hall or “Rathaus.” Dating to 1883 and built in a Neo-Gothic style on Rathausplatz along Vienna’s Ringstrasse, the Rathaus is transformed into a Moulin Rougesque entertainment complex adorned with opulent décor, VIP velvet lounges, and courtyard discotheques, making it a playground to dance and revel in until the wee hours of the morning. Since 1993, numerous celebrities have donned the stage to show their support with breathtaking live performances supporting HIV/AIDS initiatives globally. Extravagant costumes themed specifically for the event compliment the creative vision that is brought to life. To help with costume ideas, the Life Ball team have put together a guide for inspiration at www.stylebible.org . (www.lifeball.org ; www.wien.info)
Note: As Life Ball Ambassador for Canada, contact me for ticket information.
World Pride, Madrid
The Spanish capital will be the host city celebrating World Pride from June 23 to July 2 with events mainly taking place in the Chueca neighbourhood and surrounding area. A special designated area, “World Pride Park,” will host various vendors promoting local and international business as part of the Expo area and will also include a stage for entertainment and a family playground. World Pride festivities will also include open-air concerts, themed parties, streets fairs and the main event: pride parade! (www.madridorgullo.com/en/ ; www.spain.info/en_CA/)
Note: Most pride festivities in major cities are the same weekend as World Pride Madrid – plan ahead to book hotel rooms as availability can be limited.
(Armando Mendonça is a tourism entrepreneur, philanthropist supporting HIV/AIDS charities and LGBT travel expert. He can be reached at: [email protected] .)