November 15

Rhino Africa Attends IGLTA Conference 2023 in Milan

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November 15, 2022

Pride was in full swing in Milan this past October, with The International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association (IGLTA) holding a record-breaking convention on LGBTQ+ tourism. It's the first time that Italy has hosted the IGLTA conference, but, being the 38th to date worldwide, we're certain it will not be the last! As proud representatives of South Africa, we joined the festivities. Find out more about our time in Italy!

Our Rhino Crash arrives in Italy

Rhino Africa’s Relationship with IGLTA

Rhino Africa is proud to be an IGLTA ambassador. In fact, our very own David Ryan is IGLTA's ambassador for South Africa. So, there was no way we'd miss this important event.

Founded in 1983, IGLTA is a global LGBTQ+ network for tourism businesses. By focusing on bringing equality and safety to gay-friendly travellers worldwide, IGLTA is driving change in over 80 countries so far. And we're PROUD to be part of it!

Rainbow flags

Driving change in the world

Milan Welcomes IGLTA

In order to further promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ travel globally, the who's who of the tourist industry flocked from all over the world to Milan to participate in several events and talks hosted at the IGLTA conference. The enormous numbers broke records, with 550 representatives from 39 different nations and territories.

“It was great to connect in person with travel professionals from around the globe.” – Dawid Minne, Executive Assistant.
Castello Sforzesco and fountain

Castello Sforzesco, or Sforza's Castle, in Milan

Who Got Involved?

The IGLTA has members in more than 80 countries (and counting!) who offer accommodation, transportation, destinations, services, travel agencies, tour operators, events, and media that welcome LGBTQ+ people.

"When like-minded people share a common goal of unity, inclusion to share LGBTQ+ tourism globally, you have an opportunity to bring the world together." – Waathiq Hilton, CSO.
Rainbow balloons

Celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in Milan

Opening Ceremony and Celebrations

The calendar featured lavish activities for all. The stunning inauguration ceremony at Castello Sforzesco came first for the IGLTA conference. In this setting, guests dressed to the nines and enjoyed a locally sourced Italian feast, live music, and the chance to see the Rondanini Pietà, Michelangelo's final piece of art.

Rhino representatives wearing feathered masks

Our dashing Rhino Africa representatives

Collaborating for Change

From training sessions, supplier marketplaces, and roundtables, there were several collaborative events that came after. Those present had the opportunity to contribute and learn how to strengthen connections with and support the LGBTQ+ population through tourism.

"The Rhino Africa team was in uniform and quickly became the talk of the town in our matching outfits. Some said we looked like a boy band. Others said we look like game rangers. Our brand was definitely well represented." – Dawid Minne, Executive Assistant. 

Luke Lalin and Waathiq Hilton representing Rhino Africa

Paving the Way Forward

The occasion offers an excellent chance to advance LGBTQ+ tourism even further. Even Roberta Guaineri, the former Councilor for tourism of the Municipality of Milan, said, "It is important, from the point of view of business and human rights, to promote hospitality without discrimination.

Promoting hospitality without discrimination

Bring on The 39th IGLTA Conference – We'll Be There

Our team at Rhino Africa is grateful to have been invited to the IGLTA conference once more. Together with our sister brand Out2Africa, we're dedicated to educating the LGBTQ+ community about African travel and are passionate about doing so. 

Regardless of sexual preference, everyone should have the opportunity to travel to Africa. And, together with IGLTA, we can build an all-inclusive world. Let's plan your trip to our beautiful continent!

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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