The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) officially announced Wednesday that Milan was chosen as the host city for its 37th Annual Global Convention in 2020. This will be a first for Italy, and will mark the event’s return to Europe for the first time since 2014.
“Hosting in Milan the IGLTA tourism convention in 2020 is a reason of pride for me, and I sincerely thank the IGLTA association, CEO John Tanzella, the Board Chair Juan Julià and the IGLTA Italian Ambassador Alessio Virgili,” said the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala. “This victory is not only a recognition of the quality of the tourism offer in Milan—increasingly competitive at an international level—but also and above all, a clear prize to the maturity and the commitment with which the city is fighting for the affirmation of civil rights. This is why we are very pleased to welcome this appointment: in this way, we will be able to contribute even more strength and determination to the growth and cultural change of our society.”
The IGLTA’s board of directors selects each year’s host city through an extensive bidding process that considers the association’s diverse membership as well as the destination’s support for LGBTQ tourism and its desire to grow that presence. Over the years, the convention has been held in various cities in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“Some of our previous host cities have been in the LGBTQ market for a long time, but we also want to reward destinations that have made progress in recent years. We had eight cities outside of the U.S. submit bids to host our 2020 convention, and Milan rose to the top,” said IGLTA Board Chair Juan Julià. “Milan is a fashion-forward center of LGBTQ life in Italy, with colorful gay pride events attracting 200,000 participants, and 20 LGBTQ associations, including a branch of AITGL, the Italian Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. We’ve also witnessed Italy’s progress regarding LGBTQ rights in recent years, most notably the addition of a same-sex civil union law in 2016. We know Milan will provide an incredible setting for the convention.”
In 2017, the Italian National Tourist Board (ENIT) became a global partner of IGLTA, joining the elite group of companies and destinations that have committed to year-round support for the association and LGBTQ-welcoming travel. “The choice of Milan reaffirms the commitment of The Italian National Tourist Board—in concert with several Italian LGBTQ associations and regional administrations—to strengthen Italy’s gay-friendly image in an effort to gain positions in the ranking of LGBTQ destinations and attract more LGBTQ travelers to our country,” said ENIT Executive Director Giovanni Bastianelli.
Alessio Virgili, IGLTA’s ambassador in Italy and the CEO of AITGL, also was instrumental in securing the bid for Milan.
“When I started doing LGBTQ business in Italy in 2007, I found many obstacles. But with the collaboration of an engaged business community, we helped to change perceptions,” Virgili said. “Today the Italian culture is much more open and in fact, Italy is one of the countries with the most IGLTA members in Europe.”
IGLTA’s next conventions will be held in Toronto, 9-12 May 2018 and in New York City 25-27 April 2019. For more information, please visit iglta.org/convention.