June 16, 2024

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ITB Berlin-it’s all about diversity in tourism and film-Visit Brussels attending the Diversity Gala at the Ritz Carlon

3 min read

from the left: Diversity Gala organizer Thomas Bömkes together with Norbert Fiebig, the President of the German Travel Association and Diversity Gala organizer Tom Dedek

The most anticipated party at the ITB is traditionally taking place on the last evening of the ITB, this year on the 07.03. The Diversity Gala, organised by Tom Dedek and Thomas Bömkes attracted an international public, among them I spotted several German actors and celebrities. But the real VIP in sense of the most demanded person attending many meetings and events during the ITB was Norbert Fiebig, the President of the German Travel Association. 

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 by Tom Dedek and Thomas Bömkes 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.

Tom Dedek and Rika Jean-Francois

For the fifth 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. 

Petra CruzDeyerling, Director Europe Tourist Board of the Dominican Republic


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 International, the IGLTA.Frederick Boutry from Visit Brussels, TOMONTOUR, Experience Kissimmee Florida a last by not least Visit Brussels, represented by Frédérick Boutry.


Visit Brussels representatives

In a significant recognition, Brussels was named the Best LGBTQ-Event Destination earlier that day at the ITB Spartacus Travel Awards, a title that celebrates the city’s dynamic mix of cultures and its welcoming spirit. The award was graciously accepted by visit.brussels, the official tourism board of the city, which has been at the forefront of promoting Brussels as an inclusive destination.


The IGLTA Foundation (www.iglta.org), which supports the mission of the IGLTA and its members through education, research and leadership development, organised the previous night a great reception at the Axel Hotel (there are 2 Axel hotels in Berlin, quite confusing). The Spanish chain was founded orginally in 2003 in Barcelona by Juan Juliá, who is also the chairman of the IGLTA.


Further information about the Diversity Tourism at www.diversitytourism.com.


with successful Berlin based showstar La Diva at the Diversity Gala


Alice Kanterian




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