International host organization and corporate sponsor officiates welcome reception

Wed. May 1, 2013 7:22 PM by Jason Freeman

Annual LGBT travel convention opens with press-only symposium

Chicago, IL - Celebrating 30 years of institution, The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) commenced its annual Global Convention with a media reception on the 99th-floor Skydeck of Chicago's Willis Tower, Wednesday May 1, 2013. The convention's 2013 incarnation marks its first in the Windy City and, per its literature, serves to unite "tourism professionals from more than 20 countries on the topic of making the world more welcoming for LGBT travelers."

IGLTA Board Chair Tanya Churchmuch opened the press session regaling Chicago's high-standing "community recognition" within the tourism industry. Churchmuch noted Chicago's LGBT community center, and 2013 IGLTA Global Convention Honors recipient, The Center on Halsted, as one of the "most beautiful on earth."

"Congratulations Chicago," she commends. "You got an amazing community."

Representing the corporate Sponsorship, of both convention and the opening reception, Dave Hilman, United Airlines' senior vice president of sales, received the first laughs from the media-membered audience: "I didn't even know you could sponsor press conferences," he jokes, "but we're proud to be here." Touting United Airlines 10-year relationship with the IGLTA and its community-affirming slogan, "Diversity flies with us," Hilman emphasized his company's being honored at the opportunity to sponsor the event in Willis Tower—the building housing the recently new location of United's corporate headquarters.

Other guest speakers included Choose Chicago Vice President Cathy Domanico, U.S. State Department's Jack Markey and Board Chair Charlie Rounds—who introduced the charitable and community-empowering objectives of the newly inducted IGLTA Foundation.

The 2013 IGLTA Global Convention is scheduled May 2-5, 2013 with most sessions/events slated as being held at the Chicago Hyatt Regency host hotel. The four-day program lists a travel-comprehensive series of educational workshops, networking sessions, an honors awards ceremony, the IGLTA Foundation's Volunteer Day and social events involving morning fitness regimens and Broadway stage shows. The full itinerary is posted to with a smart-phone application available for download at