by Dr. Elinor Garely, special to eTN\n\nIf you happened to walk by the Javits Convention Center in January, you would have found thousands of travel professionals dashing to and from dozens of travel-related events.\n\nIt started 16 years ago, when the NY Times first started the Travel Show. The 2018 event brought 32,398 participants to Javits, including 10,268 travel trade, 22, 130 consumers, and 610 exhibiting organizations from 176 countries. The event is supported by over 40 industry and media sponsors, as well as 1,384 accredited domestic and international journalists and other media. The exhibitors estimate approximately $6.5 million in revenue as a result of their participation in the event.\n\n\neTN Chatroom: Discuss with readers from around the world:\n\n\n\n\nWhy Go\n\nTraveling consumers head to Javits from the tristate area to source their next perfect holiday destination. One-to-one conversations with travel suppliers enable consumers to find deals and details that will enable them to make informed holiday decisions.\n\nIn addition to becoming educated consumers, visitors were entertained with performances from musicians and dancers from a variety of countries, and able to learn about wines and culinary options from a mix of global destinations. There were also opportunities to do a deep dive into the travel industry and the destinations through seminars, workshops and parties.\n\nMarket Segment\n\nThe LGBTA sector is important to the travel industry and workshops and parties focused on this target market. The buying power of the US LGBTA market reached $917 billion (2015), competing with the disposable income of other American minority groups according to Jeff Green reporting. Research conducted by Bob Witeck, (Witeck Communications) estimated that as many as 7 percent of US adults identify as LGBT.\n\nWith no solid studies of the out-gay population in Europe, estimates peg it at approximately 22.6 million (2.6 percent of the population) with most living in Western Europe, smaller numbers in Central Europe and the lowest numbers in Eastern Europe (2012). It is projected that the total annual expenditure by out-gay Europeans on tourism ranges between 48-52 billion Euros or US$63-$68 billion.\n\nFort Lauderdale + Man About World\n\n\n\nOne destination that understands the importance of the LGBTA target market is Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Ed Salvato (Man About World) in cooperation with the destination, focused on the LGBTA travel market, offering an open bar and small bites to visitors interested in designing a holiday in this part of Florida that meets their personal taste.\n\n\n\nMan About World\u2019s magazine presents distinct opportunities for gay travelers who are able to trust the information as it is written by gay men from their personal experiences. Readers enjoy personal takes on a destination\/hotel\/attraction\/event and the information, in an unbiased format, enables travelers to make successful travel decisions.\n\nGreater Ft. Lauderdale started targeting the LGBTQ market in 1996 with a budget of $35,000; in 2017, the budget was $1 million. Approximately 1.5 million LGBTQ travelers visit this destination annually, bringing $1.5 billion to the area each year.\n\nGreater Ft. Lauderdale is planning a transcontinental Pride festival in 2020, Pride of the Americas. The Festival brings between 40,000 to 65,000 people to the destination. The 2020 festival will partner with LGBTQ organizations in South America, Central America and the Caribbean and run over several days. To date, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood has signed on to be a major event venue for Pride of the Americas.\n\n\n\nFor additional information, click here.\n\n\u00a9 Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.