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ITB Diversity Gala celebrates diversity and inclusion

ITB Diversity Gala celebrates diversity and inclusion

Gala evening gathered tourism professionals from the LGBTQ+ world

March 16, 2023

On the evening of the last day of the trade show, the ITB Diversity Gala celebrated a successful premiere at the Ritz Carlton Berlin: More than 100 guests from the LGBTQ+ tourism community, including ITB visitors, exhibitors, travel professionals and officials from all over the world, followed the invitation to the gala, which was hosted in support of the IGLTA Foundation.

Established in 2012, the IGLTA Foundation is the charity subsidiary of IGLTA, the world's leading network of LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses. The foundation supports LGBTQ+-friendly travel businesses around the world. For example, it conducts research on LGBTQ+ tourism, offers fellowship programs, and supports initiatives for industry organizations, leaders and communities to advance LGBTQ+ travel worldwide. IGLTA members from around the world participated in a "Silent Auction" held during the gala, contributing travel and hotel packages.

For the fourth time, Rika Jean-Francois, Commissioner of Corporate Social Responsibility ITB Berlin and Thomas Bömkes, ITB LGBTQ+ Tourism Advisor and Managing Director Diversity Tourism GmbH, awarded the internationally recognized ITB LGBTQ+ Pioneer Award at the gala. With this award, ITB Berlin aims to promote and recognize the global commitment of destinations, tourism providers and outstanding personalities in the growing LGBTQ+ travel segment. This year's LGBTQ+ Pioneer Award was received by Karl Krause and Daan Colijn of Coupleofmen - they are the authors of the first German-language LGBTQ+ travel book. "You do not have to be a senior to be a pioneer in what you do. And writing the first ever LGBTQ+ travel book in German is definitely trailblazing work for the LGBTQ+ community, especially in Germany," highlights Thomas Bömkes. Daniela Wagner, Group Business Development Director at Jacobs Media Group was the master of ceremonies of the evening, speeches were held by the guests of honor, the Ambassador of Malta in Germany, H. E. Giovanni Xuereb, and the Mayor of the city of Tampa, Florida, Jane Castor.

The ITB Diversity Gala was hosted by Thomas Bömkes and his partner Tom Dedek from Diversity Tourism GmbH, as well as Rika Jean-Francois from ITB Berlin and the IGLTA Foundation, represented by LoAnn Halden, Vice President Communications IGLTA. Sponsors of the ITB Diversity Gala 2023 included Marriott, Visit Malta, Visit Brussels, Visit TampaBay, West Hollywood Tourism and TOMONTOUR.

More information about Diversity Tourism at

More information about ITB's LGBTQ+ Tourism segment at