September 26, 2014 (Austin, Texas)—The first annual Gay Family Travel Expo held in August during Provincetown’s Family Week was a big success according to representatives from both the Family Equality Council and GayFamilyTrips.com. Twenty-five gay-family-friendly travel and hospitality businesses participated in the Expo during Family Week, a gathering of over 500 families with LGBT parents in Provincetown, MA.
Family Week, organized by Family Equality Council and COLAGE, is held every summer and will celebrate its 20th year in 2015. GayFamilyTrips.com is a travel website launched earlier this year to provide travel information, advice and recommendations to LGBT parents and their children. The website’s founder, Steve Brister, and his team organized and sponsored the Travel Expo.
“We wanted to bring LGBT-friendly businesses together with families who like to travel but may not always know where to go. Particularly when children are involved, families want to vacation in a place where they feel welcome and comfortable,” Brister says. “The Travel Expo gave both of these groups the chance to talk to each other and share information that will be helpful in planning future vacations.”
Brister said they received enthusiastic feedback about the Expo from both exhibitors and visitors, with over 100 families in attendance. Exhibitors included Disney Destinations, Celebrate Life Travel, Great Wolf Lodge, R Family Vacations, Hampton Inn Daytona Beachfront, Thomson Family Adventures, and the Provincetown Business Guild. The Expo also featured displays of collateral materials for many destinations, hotels and resort properties.
Eventually Gay Family Trips would like to bring more exhibitors to the Travel Expo, including international destinations, cruise lines and tour companies that organize family-focused travel experiences. Brister said they also hope to take the Expo on the road and offer it to families in other cities. In the meantime, he and the organizers at Family Equality Council are pleased with the results from this year’s debut.
“The Travel Expo was a great addition to Family Week,” says Brent Wright, Director of Programs for Family Equality Council. “It was held in conjunction with our Friday night family dance and provided a nice complementary event for families to enjoy. It was exciting seeing so many people perusing the exhibit hall and getting excited about future family vacations. In fact, we were so pleased with it that Steve and I are already talking about how to incorporate a Travel Expo into some of our other regional events.”
And they weren’t the only ones who were happy. Exhibitors agreed that participating in the Travel Expo was a good investment. “The Expo gave us the opportunity to connect with a lot of future guests and talk with them about the various vacation options that Disney offers,” said Susan Peavey of Susan Peavey Travel, the Disney Destinations representative. “It was a great way to reassure LGBT parents that all of our properties are inclusive, welcoming places for their families.”
Photos of the 2014 Travel Expo at Family Week can be viewed at www.gayfamilytravelexpo.com.
For information on how to participate in the 2015 Travel Expo, please contact Jenny Leman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GayFamilyTrips.com launched in early 2014 to help meet the travel needs of LGBT families and address some of their questions and concerns. The site includes trip overviews for a variety of destinations and experiences, gay family travel basics, a calendar of LGBT family events, and a directory that includes travel and tourism businesses that expressly welcome LGBT families.
Steve Brister (Founder): Steve@GayFamilyTrips.com