OrlandoGayTravel Takes Pride In Successful Effort To Bring Gay Troop Conference to Orlando

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OutServe, the association of actively-serving LGBT U.S. military personnel, announced today that its Second Annual OutServe International Leadership Conference will take place October 25-28, 2012 in Orlando. Converge Orlando, Inc., the official LGBT Convention & Visitors Bureau and Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort collaborated to bring the OutServe meeting to Orlando.

We are delighted with the OutServe conference. For the past decade Central Florida has been in the top ten in the number of gay visitors contributing in excess of $3 billion a year to the local economy.

Converge Orlando, Inc., doing business as http://www.orlandogaytravel.com is pleased to announce that OutServe chose Orlando for its 2012 national conference. OutServe, the association of actively-serving LGBT U.S. military personnel and one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world, announced today that its Second Annual OutServe International Leadership Conference will take place October 25-28, 2012 at the military’s Shades of Green Resort. Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort and Converge Orlando, Inc., Orlando’s Official LGBT Convention & Visitors Bureau, put together the winning package.

The OutServe Conference will welcome currently serving LGBT and straight military members, veterans, spouses/partners, and allies to join workshops and meetings. Like the 2011 Conference, it will provide an international forum on creating an environment of respect in the military with regards to sexual orientation and gender identity, and provide the LGBT military community a venue for building professional networks, sharing best practices and formulating strategies that help build a stronger military community. OutServe’s International Leadership Conference is the only conference designed around and for LGBT members of the largest fighting force in the world.

“We have made tremendous progress over the last few months with the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said Josh Seefried, active duty Air Force Lieutenant and co-director of OutServe. “LGBT military members must be visible and confident, showing the leadership that will set the example for future generations of service members.”

Mikael Frank Audebert, Executive Director of Converge Orlando, believes that the enthusiasm and support from the Orlando’s LGBT community was the deciding factor to OutServe. “Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort proposed a great package for bringing the event here,” said Audebert. “But public entities in Las Vegas and Philadelphia were proposing incentives for the meeting that were better than Orlando’s. That is when Converge got involved. We committed sponsors, marketing assistance, help with costs and volunteer staffing that made us competitive with other destinations. We are very proud of OutServe and that its heroic serving members of military will be our guests. The meeting represents approximately 1,500 hotel room nights with an economic impact of nearly $1 million.”

“Orlando is now firmly established as a major destination for gay and lesbian visitors—and the OutServe Conference just proves it,” says Paul Queen, Converge Orlando’s director of marketing. “The city of Orlando is home to one of the nation’s highest proportion of LGBT people—7.7% of the total population. For the past decade Central Florida has been in the top ten in the number of gay visitors contributing, according to three major studies, in excess of $3 billion to the local economy.” Queen also points out that last month The Advocate pronounced the obvious—Orlando is now the second “gayest” city in the US.

Converge Orlando, Inc. is the official LGBT Convention & Visitors Bureau for Orlando and Central Florida, doing business as OrlandoGayTravel.com. It is a non-profit 501 c6 public membership corporation made up of gay and lesbian professionals, governed by a Board of Directors representing many government and business interests. OrlandoGayTravel.com is a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Business Association, Inc.—Central Florida’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. The mission of Converge is to promote Orlando to the LGBT traveler. It hosts familiarization tours for travel writers, attracts LGBT meetings, buys cooperative advertising, organizes and sponsors events, exhibits at travel shows, maintains a comprehensive website and provides the community with educational resources. The aim of Converge is to increase expenditures in the local economy by boosting gay and lesbian tourism and by marketing Central Florida as the gay-friendly community it is. Go to http://www.orlandogaytravel.com for more information.

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