Published on : Saturday, March 8, 2014
The 31st Annual Global Convention of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association in Madrid (8-10 May) is not only the LGBT tourism industry’s premier networking and educational event, but also an opportunity to celebrate individuals and businesses that have improved the landscape of gay and lesbian travel.
The annual awards are selected by the IGLTA board of directors from the association’s membership of businesses in more than 75 countries. “The honorees this year are a stellar group who have been active in the LGBT space for many years,” says IGLTA Chair Dan Melesurgo. “It’s especially rewarding to see the diversity of work that these individuals or organizations represent. Their dedication has helped shape a world that is more accepting and welcoming of LGBT people.”
The Chair Award: Bob Witeck is the president/founder of Washington, DC-based Witeck Communications, Inc. Since 1993, he has been recognized as a leading communications expert in designing strategies for companies wishing to reach LGBT households, including global travel brands such as American Airlines.
Community Honor (based in IGLTA’s convention host city): Alfonso Llopart co-founded Shangay Express in 1994, which became the LGBT magazine of Spain. He is now director of Shangay Media Group, which publishes five free magazines – including the quarterly LGBT travel publication Shangay Voyager – and is the events coordinator for MADO Madrid Orgullo (Pride).
Pioneer: ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, was created in 1978 to develop a global network of activists that could respond to homophobic attacks and campaign against LGBTI discrimination and persecution around the world.
Media Honor: Merryn Johns, editor in chief of Curve magazine, North America’s top lesbian publication. Since 2000, when she began her media career as editor in chief of the lesbian magazine LOTL in Australia, she has championed lesbian travel, culture and women’s rights through journalism and as a speaker at global conferences.