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Armando Mendonca

Lifestyle & Diversity Columnist

A graduate with honours in travel and tourism and with over 30 years experience, Armando has held senior positions towards the latter part of his career with some of Canada’s leading tour operators. In 2009, he launched the LGBT division and acted as director representing Massachusetts at one of Canada’s leading destination management companies. In 2014, Armando decided to branch out on his own and launched AMPM (Armando Mendonca Project Management) and now supports various initiatives and acts as a consultant and representative on behalf of notable domestic and international travel organizations.
Throughout his career in the travel industry he has supported various LGBT events, attended the IGLTA Conference and launched Pride Travel Marketplace in Toronto for several years. He has also been invited by many universities and colleges to speak about diversity and the LGBT market to the hospitality students. In addition, he has worked with all the key LGBT media outlets in Canada including, IN Magazine, OUT TV and was a regular radio correspondent for 103.9 Proud FM.
Writing has been a passion of mine and the search to find a platform to share my voice came to fruition in 2016 with Canadian Travel Press with a monthly column dedicated to LGBT tourism.
Countries visited : USA (New York, Vermont, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida, Louisiana, California, Nevada), Mexico ( Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Playa del Carman, Acapulco) Central America ( Costa Rica, Panama) South America ( Colombia, Peru, Ecuador/Galapagos, Brazil, Argentina) South Pacific ( Fiji — twice ) , Europe ( England, Portugal/Azores, Spain, France/Monaco, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Norway) Caribbean ( Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Barbados) and Hong Kong. Canada – extensively.
Best Travel Memory: I feel so incredibly grateful as there are many great memories but if I had to narrow it down to the best — give me a call ( happy face )
Favorite part of the job: Searching for that story angle and nuance that will inspire the reader.
Bucket List: The list is long, however, shout out to Australia.

A little Q&A with IGLTA’s John Tanzella

My first IGLTA Conference was in 1989 in Vancouver during my tenure at Canadian Holidays. It was at a time when LGBT discrimination was palpable, and the pink dollar had no value. But how times have changed as the IGLTA Conference prepares to celebrate its 35 years at its upcoming conference in Toronto – May 9 to May 12, 2018… Read >>

The 25th anniversary of the greatest show on earth!

On May 21, 2011, my visit to Vienna, this particular time, did not prepare me for what was the greatest show on earth known as, Life Ball, an annual event taking place this year on June the second, 2018 supporting HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention since 1993. The organizer and co-founder, Gery Keszler, had the vision and passion to create a spectacular platform to reach the LGBT community and its allies during a time of denial and ignorance… Read >>

Madrid embraces a world of diversity

As the city prepared for the influx of tourists to celebrate World Pride (June 23 to July 2), I managed to find refuge compliments of Monograms, a Globus family of brands independent travel your way division. Their preferred property in Madrid is H10 Puerta de Alcalá, a boutique hotel centrally located in the upscale Salamanca neighbourhood… Read >>

Madrid ignites your senses!

My return to Madrid this past fall was a foodies’ dream and the art scene was just as delightful, as the journey began at check-in at the NH Collection Colon Madrid located in the upscale Salamanca neighbourhood in the heart of all things fine… Read >>

A Big ‘Thank You’ from Berlin and Vienna

Air Canada, Visit Berlin and Vienna Tourist Board recently hosted a reception at Le Saloon Bistro off Ste. Catherine Street in the heart of Montreal’s “Le Village.” Eric Lauzon, Air Canada, shared current news focusing on the seasonal service to Berlin, Germany, and inaugural launch this past summer offering convenient connections from Toronto making it Air Canada’s 44th European route… Read >>

Canada among the leading LGBT global destinations

It’s no surprise that Canada has been ranked as one of the most favourable destinations to visit and live among the global LGBT community.
The highly reputable and LGBT advocate on global gay and lesbian issues, “The Economist Magazine,” recently published and reported the top 10 most liveable cities… Read >>

Zurich is a city for all!

Arriving in Zurich after a short inter-Europe flight, I was pleasantly surprised that a 15-minute train ride was all it took to reach the city centre.
Upon check-in at my hotel, guide Yvonne Rimle awaited to escort me on a full day of sightseeing; but before I share my first day in the Swiss city, let me give a shout-out to the Ambassador à L’Opera Hotel… Read >>

Majestic Innsbruck!

The majestic mountainous backdrop of Innsbruck (pictured above, photo courtesy INNSBRUCK TOURIMUS), capital of Tirol, left me speechless as my train slowly approached the main railway station. Just across the street from the station is the historic and conveniently located Grand Hotel Europa – my home for the next four days. Last year, this property signed on as one of the JSH Hotels Collections’ newest additions under their JLUX umbrella offering breathtaking views of the Tyrolean Alps… Read >>

A preferred choice

I fell in love with boutique hotels during my tenure at G Adventures over 10 years ago, when I spent some time in Peru, particularly in Cusco – also spelled as “Cuzco.”
I was pleasantly surprised that the flag of Cusco is the rainbow colours which are globally recognized as the LGBT flag for equality and diversity … Read >>

A diverse scene with endless options

Having been across the pond many times over the years for business (WTM circa mid-nineties and as recently as last year) and pleasure, there is always something new to discover in a city so rich in diversity. I recently visited London and stayed at the Radisson Blu Edwardian located on Mercer Street in the Seven Dials area near Covent Gardens… Read >>

LGBT events not to miss!

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… Read >>

LGBT visitors keen on Hamburg scene

Hamburg’s trendy LGBT village, St. George, couldn’t be much more accessible, located a mere 10-minute walk from the German city’s central train station.
The vibrant area, and its primary thoroughfare – Lange Reihe – is filled with boutiques, outdoor patio restaurants, cafés, and a variety of shops, along with the requisite nightclubs and bars… Read >>

LGBT visitors keen on Cologne scene
Germany city takes pride in all-inclusiveness

Travelling through Central Europe’s breathtaking countryside is best accomplished by train and a great way to arrive in Cologne, one of Germany’s oldest cities.
The main railway station is centrally located next to Köln Dome, or Cologne Cathedral, notable for its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Germany’s largest cathedral, built in gothic and neo-gothic style, dates to 1248 and a climb to the top (for a nominal fee) to take in the spectacular view is worth every step.. Read >>

Giving back a key pillar of LGBT market

Since my days at Treasure Tours/Canadian Holidays, I can recall supporting the Canadian Foundation for Aids Research (CANFAR) in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s when there was very little education on the impact that HIV/AIDS had in the LGBT community. Needless to say, the impact was significant, and subsequently, there are many organizations still fighting against the stigma that HIV/AIDS only affects the LGBT community, in addition to research and prevention… Read >>

Liz leaves legacy in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a charming, quaint Mexican beach resort city located along the Pacific coast in the Banderas Bay area and situated in the state of Jalisco. PVR, as it’s most commonly known, was once a small but thriving fishing village that has flourished over the years to become one of the most popular LGBT vacation destinations… Read >>

Pride has special place in LGBT history

I recall my first Pride back in the early 1980s and how the event represented an opportunity not only to bring together the LGBT community, but to highlight many existing social injustices and, at the same time, celebrate diversity.
Today, Pride celebrations throughout Canada have evolved to be more a platform for celebration than controversy… Read >>

Canadian LGBT tourism is big business

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual & Trans-Gendered) tourism is comprised of product and services that reach a diverse global community that is generally untethered by the increasing cost of travel, and many of the associated challenges that impact the tourism industry… Read >>