Connect THRIVE Summit to Focus on LGBTQ Travel, Sports and Entertainment

July 18, 2019

Connect Travel is gearing up to launch Connect THRIVE Summit, a global conference focused on community development through LGBTQ travel, sports and entertainment. Taking place Oct. 3-5 at Parc 55 hotel in San Francisco, the event is expected to attract more than 300 attendees, including representatives from destination marketing organizations; sports councils; sports planners; resorts and hotels; attractions; domestic and international tour operators and travel agents; sports rights holders; meeting planners; and media, marketers and brands.

According to Will Seccombe, president of Connect Travel, THRIVE will feature an array of dynamic general sessions and networking events. These will take place alongside a series of pre-scheduled, one-on-one appointments designed to help build relationships and establish new business partnerships between attendees. 

“After many conversations with leaders in the LGBTQ travel and sports industry, it became clear there is a huge opportunity to help them connect with the people, products, services and ideas to grow their business and build their communities,” said Seccombe. “With that in mind, we have built the Connect THRIVE Summit.” 

CNN’s Anderson Cooper will headline a group of keynote presentations from leaders in LGBTQ business, sports, marketing, entertainment and politics, also including Olympians Brian Boitano and Brooke Crain. There will also be a photoshoot opportunity with Cooper after his presentation, Seccombe said.

The event’s robust lineup of confirmed speakers also includes San Francisco Travel President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro, NYC & Co President and CEO Fred Dixon and Discover Puerto Rico CMO Leah Chandler. Representatives from the U.S. Travel Association, ITB Berlin, the U.S. Cultural and Heritage Marketing Council, the US Tour Operator Association, LGBT Meeting Professionals Association, and IGLTA and Equality Florida will also speak.

Hillary Schieve, chair of the United States Conference of Mayors Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports, who is also the mayor of Reno, Nevada, will also be joining the conference.

THRIVE partnered with the IGLTA Foundation – the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association to inspire prospective attendees to register during the month of June in honor of Pride Month. For every registration, Connect donated $100 to the IGLTA, which supports initiatives for the tourism industry, its leaders and communities in areas of research, leadership and education to advance LGBTQ+ travel around the world. 

According to Seccombe, Connect plans to run the promotion again in August.

“We firmly believe the Connect THRIVE Summit presents an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen our communities by building strong connections between leaders within the LGBTQ travel, sports and entertainment industry,” said Diversitas Media Managing Director DJ Doran, who has been advocating for and helping to promote the event.

To learn more or to register for Connect THRIVE Summit, go here.


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