By Roy Heale
With a great deal of fanfare and excitement The 15th annual FIT Latin America (International Tourism Fair of Latin America) is taking place once again in Buenos Aires from October 30th to November 2nd. Last year the four day event was attended by almost 83,000 people and approximately 40% of these were travel industry professionals. With the recent increases in the number of international visitors to Argentina it is anticipated that this year’s 15th Anniversary show will be even bigger than in prior years. With over 250 exhibitors from around South America and other parts of the globe, seminars, presentations, and more this is perhaps the largest gathering of travel industry representatives in South America. However, this year a new component has been added called The Pink Corner which is an exclusive area for LGBT travel businesses to promote their services and communicate the importance of the gay and lesbian sector of the traveling public.
This new feature Pink Corner is the first initiative of the CCGLAR (Cámara de Comercio Gay Lésbica Argentina)—which is the new Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Argentina—in collaboration with The Argentina Ministry of Tourism.
Pablo De Luca & Gustavo Noguera founders of CCGLAR and owners of GMAPS360 and Gnetwork360 began working on this project earlier this year long before same-sex marriages in Argentina became legal in July 2010, but only just received the go-ahead after the new law was enacted. However, according to De Luca it is now even more appropriate that the LGBT travel segment of this industry demonstrates a stronger presence at this major annual trade show and fair.
Some of Argentina’s leading LGBT travel industry professionals participating at Pink Corner included Delta Air Lines, Gmaps360, Hertz, GNETWORK360, TIJE Travel, Glam Travelers, Friendly Apartments, GWedding, Casa Shanti, Pink Point Buenos Aires, Bariloche Gay Travel,Thennat Travel, BA Queer, Mendoza Gay Travel, Deptos Mendoza, INSIDE Resto Bar, Human Club, Pride Cafe, Libor Tour, Uomobello, Out&About, Howard Johnson, and Flamenco Tour. These local travel businesses and tour operators demonstrated the diversity of services which Argentina already offers to the LGBT traveler visiting this vast country. It is certain that with this kind of initiative by the CCGLAR and its future planned activities, the LGBT business community in Argentina will grow and develop into a major component of the overall travel industry in South America.
If you were unable to attend this year’s FIT show then mark the dates October 29th to November 1st, 2011 on your calendar and head to the new gay mecca of South America—Buenos Aires—for next year’s 16th edition of this important industry gathering.