Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

IGLTA Symposium Florianopolis March 26th to 28th















By Roy Heale
Sunshine, expansive beaches, delicious seafood, sizzling nightlife and warm hospitality greeted the forty-two delegates at the recent IGLTA Symposium in Florionopolis, Brazil. The attendees traveled from Australia, Canada, the United States, Peru, Argentina and Brazil to spend four days networking together, meeting the local GLBT business community, and learning about the vacation opportunities on the Santa Catarina Island of Florionopolis. The sun shone every day and naturally the Island's approximate 100 beaches were the main focus of attention and enjoyment.
The first day began with a one hour hike into Naufragados Beach which is only accessible by boat or hiking. The rewards at the end of this hike were a spectacular beach, a small fishing village, cafe, and a leisurely swim. Some of us were grateful that we took a boat ride back to where our bus was waiting for us. This was just one of many spectacular white sandy beaches that we visited during our stay. Our tours also included the beach at Praia Mole---the gayest meeting point on the island during summer months---where we enjoyed caipirinhas courtesy of Bar de Deca on the gay beach. The local media showed up to see how we were enjoying our visit.
In the heart of the Old City we visited the old customs house, the fish market, boutiques, shops and the local historic points of interest.
A taxi boat ride took us to the small fishing village of Costa da Lagoa for a seafood lunch at Sabor da Costa Restaurant where we feasted on the catch of the day and a spectacular view.
The Saturday Marketplace with about thirty exhibitors was attended by approximately 200 travel industry visitors from South America and the local media. For three hours the networking was intense and many new contacts were established for future business opportunities. This was followed by the two hour VI International LGBT Forum where important issues for the future of LGBT Tourism were discussed including a presentation by Tom Nibbio from IGLTA head office.
The final day included a visit to Jurere Internacional Beach and the farewell lunch at Cafe de la Musique. Here there was a surprise performance by the Boi de Mamoa performing a local folklore story acted out by children from the island. This troupe of performers are organized by two gay men.
At the end of four days learning about this vacation paradise of Brazil and the local nightlife--- which only seems to begin after midnight---the delegates were unanimous in their gratitude to the organizers for their efforts to make this a successful symposium. Many of us vowed to return for an extended visit as soon as possible.
Obrigado to all the organizers and sponsors for a job well done and the warm welcome to all delegates!

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