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LGBT expo comes to Mérida next year

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A trade show on LGBT commerce is coming to Mérida in 2015. Photo: Confex
A trade show on LGBT commerce is coming to Mérida in 2015. Photo: Confex

A trade expo focusing on marketing to the gay community is coming to Mérida next year.

Puerto Villarta-based LGBT Confex yesterday confirmed the location of the fifth edition of its LGBT Business Expo in September 2015.

The LGBT Business Expo is a business-to-business and consumer event targeting all elements of the LGBT community. The event has continually grown since its inaugural event in 2011 in Puerto Vallarta. The Cancun expo in 2012 doubled in size, and Confex has reported continued growth when it met the following years in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit.

The Mérida workshop will include many global LGBT thought-leaders incorporating the topics of tourism, corporate, film, academia, entrepreneurism, technology and media. It will also present a new track, “International Congress on Sexual Diversity Studies,” inviting researchers from universities worldwide.

LGBT Confex officials announced they work with city and state authorities, the tourism and convention bureau and local entrepreneurs targeting LGBT customers to feature the diversity of activities and services that the city has to offer for the LGBT consumer.

Exhibitors gathered at this year's LGBT Confex in Puerto Villarta. Photo: Confex
Exhibitors gathered at this year’s LGBT Confex in Puerto Villarta. Photo: Confex

The Puerto Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit expo this past June attracted more than 100 delegates from corporations, non-government organizations and government bodies.

Google, American Airlines, Marriott Hotels, American Express, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau were among the participants.

According to new data released last week by Out Now, here are now 5.2 million LGBT people living in Mexico and during the past twelve months they earned a total of USD$74.4 billion pre-tax income.

In opening remarks made to the conference, U.S. Consul General Joseph M. Pomper described a sea-change in LGBT visibility that has occurred over the past 30 years. Pomper, who is openly gay, spoke of previously having to keep his personal life a secret and mentioned having lost a diplomatic posting years ago as he had been spotted leaving a gay bar.

“Back then gay people like me used to have to whisper at work about what our outside-work lives were like,” Pomper said during his presentation. “Now, I have a microphone.”

Pablo Slough, CEO of Google Mexico, also gave strong support to the event.

“Google is always all about people and the beauty of this LGBT Confex event is that it actively connects people and businesses in ways that discover and develop beneficial ways to interact,” Slough said. “Google is really pleased to be involved with this forum.”

The event saw 10 new tourism businesses achieve OutNow.travel certification by training their staff on LGBT tourism issues as part of membership in the Out Now Business Class travel trade association.

Leading non-government LGBT rights organizations took advantage of the event to confer with each other and with delegates on how to develop LGBT worker, business and human rights in Latin America. Presenters included the US-based Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, workplace advocates Out & Equal as well as LGBT entrepreneurs group StartOut.

Delegates networked in business-to-business meetings, during education workshops, as part of an exhibitor expo and during hosted social events at the event and offsite.

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