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On May 8th 2018, the Guam Visitors Bureau attended the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Annual Global Convention, the largest expo in LGBT tourism in the world. The convention is a 4-day event, which takes place in Toronto, Canada. Going on its 35th year, the conference will link travel wholesalers and buyers that are LGBT-friendly.
The IGLTA is the world’s leading LGBT travel organization and is also an affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The convention aims to provide a platform where LGBT travelers and organizations can obtain resources for destinations that are LGBT-friendly as well as to expand LGBT travel globally.
“As a growing and very important travel segment, we want to make vital connections with the LGBT travel community to initiate the generation of travel packages that will drive this niche market into Guam. We see great potential as we look to further diversify our source markets,” said Pilar Laguaña, GVB’s Director of Global Marketing.
GVB attended the IGLTA for the first time in 2017 and found that Guam was a desirable destination for the LGBT market. GVB plans to further build relations with LGBT travel organizations to sell Guam as a destination to numerous wholesalers that will be attending the expo, as well as to showcase the new Guam LGBT Travel – 7 Day Paradise Guide produced in collaboration with Andrew Collins, the 2017 IGLTA Honors recipient for Travel Writer.
Guam’s honorable Speaker of the 34th Guam Legislature, Benjamin J.F Cruz is participating as panelist in the “Selling Mainstream Travel to LGBTQ Travelers” education breakout session during this year’s IGLTA moderated by Billy Kolber from Man About World. Speaker Cruz introduced the Bill, which establishes same-sex civil unions containing all the rights and benefits of civil marriage in Guam. On Friday, June 5th, Guam became the first US territory to recognize gay marriage, after a federal judge struck down the prohibition. GVB believes the legalization of same-sex marriage in Guam provides an opportunity to develop the LGBT targeted tourism marketing.
Guam’s beautiful natural scenery paints the ideal picture for a dreamy getaway in paradise. A majority of Guam’s hotels boast romantic oceanfront chapels, creating memorable and picturesque moments like no other. Travelers will find Guam to be one of the most LGBTQ-welcoming destinations in the Pacific region. From hotel staff to restaurant and shop employees, the island’s hospitality industry is extremely accepting of LGBTQ visitors, and same-sex couples can expect to feel very comfortable holding hands, sunbathing together on the beach, and simply being themselves. The island has a sizable, and quite visible, LGBTQ community that thrives throughout the island. Guam Pride (guampride.org) launched in 2017 and is held each year (typically in early June) and consists of a Pride March, social gatherings, beach party and cultural arts festival. The Guam Visitors Bureau, which is a proud member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, enthusiastically welcomes LGBTQ visitors from all over the world and is a helpful resource for both trip and wedding planning.
About Guam Visitors Bureau
The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB), a non-profit membership corporation, is the official tourism agency for the U.S. Territory of Guam. Among its responsibilities, GVB develops and implements Guam’s strategic marketing plans for tourism, as well as manages programs and activities that enhances and showcases Guam’s people, natural beauty, and culture to deliver an incomparable visitor experience. GVB also conducts tourism-related research, event planning, and outreach activities. The Bureau serves as a critical bridge linking the local government and private sector. Guam’s tourism industry aims to contribute successfully to a better quality of life for all who call Guam home.
Guam is the southernmost island of the Marianas and is the largest island in Micronesia with a total land area of 550 square kilometers and 170,000 in population. Guam is an ideal vacation destination for visitors seeking a taste of the USA and a luxury island experience. Guam has exotic beaches and lush tropical forests brushed with colorful flowers. There are many activities to enjoy—experience the island’s culture, water sports, diving, sightseeing, golf, and duty-free shopping at brand name stores, luxury goods boutiques, and shopping malls.
About Benjamin Cruz
Benjamin Cruz is the speaker for the 34th Guam Legislature, Chairman of the Legislative Committee on Appropriations and Adjudication, and a Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guam. Throughout his distinguished career, he has been at the forefront of the fight for human and civil rights on Guam. Recognizing that employment is essential to a decent standard of living, the then-Vice Speaker introduced legislation in 2015 to update Guam’s laws and provide basic protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As a result, Public Law 33-64, also known as the “Guam Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2015” added sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and veteran or military status to the list of immutable or protected characteristics that do not inhibit employment opportunities. The former Family Court judge has also doubled down on domestic violence awareness, introducing several critical pieces of legislation that identify the escalating warning signs of domestic assault and punish abusers. Whether it’s cutting unnecessary government spending, increasing the minimum wage for Guam’s working poor, or preserving the island, Benjamin’s vision for Guam has always remained the same during his 43 years of service: ensure that government works just as hard for the powerless as it does for the powerful.
About Andrew Collins
Andrew Collins who resides with his partner Fernando in both Mexico City and Portland, Oregon, has been writing for and editing LGBT and mainstream travel guidebooks, magazines, and newspapers for nearly three decades. After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1991, he landed a job as an editorial assistant for the Fodor’s travel guidebook division of Random House. At age 23, having risen to the title of Associate Editor, he left Fodor’s to embark on a freelance career. His first big break: successfully pitching his former employer with what would become Fodor’s Gay Guide to the USA, which came out in 1996. The first LGBT travel guidebook produced by a major mainstream travel guidebook publisher, the book received a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.
Since that time, Collins has served as editor or writer on more than 180 Fodor’s titles and has authored Moon Travel Handbooks on New Orleans, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. He still writes about Oregon and Washington for the Fodor’s Pacific Northwest guidebook. He’s written hundreds of travel stories for both mainstream and LGBTQ newspapers and magazines, including The Advocate, Out Traveler, Travel + Leisure, AAA Living, Four Seasons Magazine, and Sunset, and he’s created LGBT content for websites and visitor guides for the CVBs of more than 20 cities, including Albuquerque, Denver, Kansas City, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, Sonoma County, and St. Petersburg. For 10 years, Collins produced About.com’s LGBT travel site, and in recent years he’s launched and served as the editor of gay travel magazines about Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. He’s currently editor in chief of three new magazines focused on LGBTQ weddings and romance travel, Love Wins Texas, Love Wins California, and Love Wins Pacific Northwest. He’s also editor in chief of The Pearl, a quarterly lifestyle magazine about Portland’s trendiest neighborhood, and he’s a contributing travel writer to New Mexico Magazine. Since 2004, Collins has also taught classes on travel writing and food writing for New York City’s acclaimed Gotham Writers’