panoramic view of Milan at night (photo via Grosescu Alberto Mihai / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) has announced that its Annual Global Convention will be held in Milan, Italy next year, from May 6-9, 2020.

Described as the world’s premier educational and networking event for LGBTQ tourism professionals, the 37th edition of the conference will connect gay, lesbian and gay-friendly travel and tourism suppliers and buyers through its hosted buyer and scheduled appointment program, numerous educational workshops and networking receptions.

This well-attended event moves to a new city each year, and the locations chosen are dynamic, queer-friendly cities across the globe. After being held in Los Angeles in 2015, Cape Town in 2016, St. Petersburg, Fla. in 2017, Toronto in 2018 and New York City this year, Europe seemed to make a lot of sense to IGLTA for next year’s event.

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“Milan is the fashion-forward center of LGBTQ+ life in Italy with pride events attracting 200,000 participants—and 20 LGBTQ+ associations, including a branch of AITGL, the Italian Gay & Lesbian Travel Association,” said John Tanzella, IGLTA President/CEO. “It’s a vibrant community in which to set our convention. While some of our previous host cities have had longer ties to LGBTQ+ tourism, we strive to support all destinations that are making an effort to grow and evolve. Italy added a same-sex civil union law in 2016 and has significantly increased its outreach to LGBTQ+ travelers over the past few years. We’re very excited to bring our premier event to an Italian city for the first time in our 37-year history.”

The 2019 iteration of the Annual Global Convention was a huge success, with the New York Hilton Midtown host hotel welcoming almost 700 delegates, representing 49 different countries and territories. The host hotel for 2020 will be the UNAHOTELS Expo Fiera Milano. The program details have not yet been announced, but that news should be revealed in the coming months.

Milan is a popular tourist destination, with world-class attractions that include the Duomo Cathedral, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the Castle Sforzesco, Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology, and the Brera Art Gallery. Visitors are often surprised to discover that the city has its own collection of romantic canals in the Navigli District. And the city’s fashion district is known the world over, with high-end designer label shopping a short stroll from the city center.

The last time the IGLTA Annual Global Convention was held in Europe was back in 2014 when the event was held in Madrid. And Tanzella is excited about Milan as a venue and the possibilities that it brings.

“Italy is a significant tourism destination that historically has not had much of a voice from its LGBTQ+ community—but that has been slowly changing,” said Tanzella. “I’m really looking forward to connecting our delegates with the large LGBTQ+ community there and elevating Milan’s profile within our global network. It also will be a great destination in which to showcase our enhanced appointment-driven Buyer/Supplier Marketplace, now produced in collaboration with the UK’s Jacobs Media Group.”