FORT LAUDERDALE – Last year, members of Broward County’s LGBT business community formed the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC), with a mission that includes promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community, promoting tourism with a unified approach, and serving as an advocate and resource for all equalitypromoting member businesses.
The Chamber, a 501c(6) non-profit organization, has an ambitious agenda: to partner with local LGBT organizations to mutually promote the sunshine and fun of Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, as well as partnering with those businesses who are looking to form a beachhead in the LGBT market. The organization’s president and CEO, Keith Blackburn, went to Berlin, Germany this month to attend the ITB convention, the world’s largest travel trade show, with an anticipated 170,000 attendees representing over 180 countries.
“This is an amazing opportunity to promote all that Greater Fort Lauderdale has to offer to a virtually captive audience,” reported Blackburn. “The ITB-Berlin event is the largest travel trade show on the planet, and a real chance to showcase what we love about where we live,” added Blackburn, whose own business credentials include operating Fort Lauderdale’s successful Mary’s Resort and gay guest house.
Blackburn and the GFLGLCC are also promoting, both locally and abroad, the new Rainbow Hospitality Alliance (RHA). In 1997, the Rainbow Alliance (RA) was launched to build gay and gay-friendly tourism in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Because of legal issues, the RA was limited in its ability to expand its mission statement, and so the group was officially disbanded in 2011. This paved the way for the formation of the RHA, with a stated mission to build alliances and bridges that market the area as the premier LGBT travel destination. In aid of this, the group will launch the southfloridafun.com Website this month.
Blackburn notes that the GFLGLCC’s mission to Berlin enjoyed the support of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), as well as businesses with a stake in the effort’s overall success. “The Berlin trip was made possible by our hotel sponsors,” Blackburn noted.
Those sponsors included the Atlantic Hotel, Cheston House, Elysium Resort, Inn Leather, La Casa Del Mar, and the Best Western Oakland Park Inn, in addition to his own Mary’s Resort. Long term, GFLGLCC has also partnered with the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), which sponsored last year’s international convention of travel professionals in Greater Fort Lauderdale, and the FunMaps media group.
“Their support enabled us to create a unique brochure, showcasing Greater Fort Lauderdale as a world-class LGBT tourist destination,” emphasized Blackburn.
For more information about GFLGLCC, visit gogayfortlauderdale.com.