From October 26 to 29, 2022, in Milan was held the 38th IGLTA World Convention, promoted by Sonders and Beach, AITGL – Italian Gay & Lesbian Tourism Association in collaboration with ENIT (Italian National Tourism Board), and Milan City Council, with the support of the U.S. Consulate in Milan and the European Travel Commission.
In this context Sonders and Beach with the help of the other Italian promoters, organized the Opening Reception at Sforza Castle, one of the most popular historical sites in the city.
Opening evening had the decisive support of many economic entities including, mainly, Barilla, Serravalle Designer Outlet McArthurGlen Group, as well as Google, Martini, Ferrari Trento, Rina, The Data Appeal Company, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic, Accor Hotels Group, Regione Toscana, Regione Puglia, SEA aeroporti, Quiiky tour operator, Bit Fiera di Milano, Vini Botto, Villa Grazioli Park Hotel Grottaferrata.
The opening ceremony, started at 08.00 PM of October 26, 2022 and conducted by Italian Journalist & Anchorman Alessandro Cecchi Paone, the ceremony was attended by more than 450 delegates from more than 38 countries in the world, other than journalists and media partners. To them short private guided tours of the famous Pietà Rondanini of Michelangelo, music – entertainment and tastings.
Social Inclusion and Diversity in LGBTQ+ tourism have been enhanced thanks to the speeches of the authorities and leading figures from the Italian economy and institutions. In order:
- Institutional Greetings by Martina Riva – Deputy Mayor For Sport, Tourism & Youth Policies, Municipality Of Milan;
- Speech by Alessio Virgili – President of AITGL – Italian Gay & Lesbian Tourism Association;
- Speech by Maria Elena Rossi -Marketing and Promotion Director, ENIT – Italian National Tourist Board ENIT;
- Speech by Paolo Pizzocaro, BIT Exhibition Director.
To follow some of the sponsors talked about the work carried out by Italy on international inclusive communication. Among them are:
- Marta Javarone – BtoB & Promotion Sector Manager at Tuscany Tourism Board;
- Gaia Barletta – Sherocco Festival Manager & Organizer (Regione Puglia);
- Matteo Migani – General manager at MCArthurGlen Serravalle Designer Outlet;
- Gianluca Melchiorre – Account Executive travel at Google;
- Luisa Ercoli – Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Barilla Group.
Luisa Ercoli presented the LGBTQ+ activist and star chef Viviana Varese who led the her personal greetings to the audience, presenting the menù offere by Barilla Group and signed by her. The catering service was organized by Papillon.
The evening continued with the opening of the buffet and with the award of the Queervadis Prize, an Italian award wanted by Sonders and Beach e RINA andrecognized to tourism entities that are committed to inclusive hospitality. Nicola Battuello, Executive Vice President Certification at RINA, Mirko Lalli, AD at DataAppeal and Giovanna Ceccherini, brand manager at Sonders and Beach have rewarded:
- ENIT – The award was accepted by Flavio Zappacosta;
- Municipality of Milan – The award was accepted by deputy mayor Martina Riva;
- U.S. Consulate in Milan – The award was accepted by the Consul General Robert Needham;
- Alessandro Cecchi Paone, for his constant activism to defend the rights of LGBTQ+ community.
The sponsors Cantine Marco Botto and Ferrari of Gruppo Tenute Lunelli took care of wines and Serravalle Designer Outlet McArthurGlen of the organization of the transfers of delegates from the host hotel to the Castello Sforzesco. The opening reception ended at 11:00 pm with the delivery of bags to all present containing advertising material of the sponsors and with the return in the hotel. Thanks to InRete for the logistic and organizational support.