The Travel & Adventure Show returned to New York on January 28 and 29 for the second time since the emergence of the COVID pandemic. This year, there was again an LGBTQ Pavilion, organized by Ed Salvato, an educator and consultant with decades in the LGBTQ travel field. He had previously brought the Pavilion to the New York Times Travel Show, which ceased as a result of COVID.
“We’re on track for the largest LGBTQ travel pavilion ever and I couldn’t be more grateful to our 15 sponsors and exhibitors, which range from Visit Lauderdale and AIG travel all the way to small women-owned businesses specifically accommodating queer women, transgender women, and non-binary travelers,” Salvato said.
He added, “The goal of the pavilion is to create an inclusive space where everyone is truly welcome no matter which letter of the acronym they identify with, L, G, B, T, or Q and their non-LGBTQ allies, friends, colleagues, and loved ones.”
Among the smaller companies and organizations exhibiting in the pavilion were EveryQUEER, which caters to queer and transgender women and non-binary travelers, and began as a media company in 2009. Outright International, the global LGBTQ rights organization, was represented at a booth by its senior development manager, Chandler Bazemore, who said he had been to several shows before. Bazemore said he advised attendees on the status of LGBTQ rights in countries that they planned to visit and other travel safety issues for LGBTQs.
Major sponsors also included Fort Lauderdale, represented by Richard Gray, senior vice president of inclusion & accessibility for Visit Lauderdale, who gave a speech to a crowd of attendees on the Saturday of the event. Other Florida cities present were Naples, with drag stars Lisa Renee and Karma Sutara handing out pamphlets and chatting with potential visitors.
Jonathan Golicz, vice president of the Travel & Adventure Show, the group behind the event which holds similar expos around the country, said this year’s show drew hundreds of vendors and was on track to exceed last year’s visitor numbers. Following the event, Golicz said there were 21,000 visitors — up from 14,000 last year.