‘Big Gathering’ line-up named for PROUD Experiences 2024

British-US freestyle skier, actor and YouTuber, Gus Kenworthy among the line-up

Bringing together leaders in the travel and lifestyle sectors to develop business strategies, expand LGBTQIA+ understanding and connect like-minded peers, PROUD Experiences has revealed its line-up of dynamic speakers at the event’s ‘Big Gathering’ opening session on Monday 3 June 2024.

Simon Mayle, PROUD Experiences’ Event Director, will officially kick off PROUD’s fifth edition at the Big Gathering, followed by professor of tourism at NYU and LGBTQIA+ travel expert, Ed Salvato who will share an update on the state of LGBTQIA+ travel in 2024. Salvato will also interview Albert Herrera, Executive Vice President, Partner Relations at Internova Travel Group (also headline sponsor of PROUD Experiences) to understand his views on enhancing the experience of LGBTQIA+ travellers and also the opportunities to add business value within the sector.

Content creator and co-founder of LGBTQIA+ travel and lifestyle blog @onairplanemode__ Kirstie Pike will also discuss sports tourism, women’s sports and challenges faced by queer women travellers with Crissa Jackson, American basketball player, actress, model and influencer.

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The opening program will conclude with an interview with Gus Kenworthy, a British-American freestyle skier, actor, and YouTuber. Kenworthy has competed in slopestyle, halfpipe, and big air and won the silver medal in men’s slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, all whilst using his platforms to advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. The interview with Kenworthy will be led by Social Hub Berlin’s General Manager, Philip Ibrahim.

Kenworthy commented on his participation at PROUD Experiences this year, saying: “Sharing my story with PROUD Experiences allows me to share my journey of travel and the importance of inclusion and feeling secure no matter where in the world I travel.”

International speakers will support the program during a series of Masterclasses by sharing trends and case studies, along with honest, poignant, and humorous life stories. A panel of industry professionals are on board to share how they stay ahead of the game in marketing to the LGBTQIA+ community. Jim McPartlin, leading hospitality training executive in the US, will host an interactive session, LGBTQIA+ travel: foundational concepts covering the building blocks for those new to the LGBTQIA+ market or those who need a refresh.

Big Gathering at PROUD Experiences 2023

The second Masterclass will focus on unlocking best practices in LGBTQIA+ tourism, with panellists Caroline Beteta, President and CEO at VisitCalifornia; Adam Burke, President and CEO at Los Angeles, Tourism; and Tom Kiely, President and CEO at Visit Hollywood. Moderated by renowned travel expert Ed Salvato, this engaging, powerhouse session explores how three destination leaders at the top of their game have built a sustainable business model based on a strategy of inclusive tourism.

Since its launch in London in 2018, PROUD Experiences has grown exponentially with 180 travel brands, agents, designers, experiences, press and speakers from 40 countries around the globe gathering to develop business strategies for travel within the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as networking opportunities to continue the conversations. Hosted at the Fairmont Century Plaza, Los Angeles, 3 – 5 June 2024 for a second successive year – PROUD also hosts writers of travel experiences across both LGBTQIA+ media as well as mainstream publications from across the world, to spread the word on the importance of inclusivity.

Registration for buyers and exhibitors interested in taking part in PROUD Experiences 2024 closes soon – contact Event Director simon.mayle@rxglobal.com to register interest or go to the PROUD Experiences website to find out more.

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