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Launch of first ever LGBT online training for travel agents

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WTM 2013 -– Destinations at the forefront of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) tourism marketing announce development of the first ever specialist LGBT training for travel agents and tour operators.

 – World Travel Market welcomes this new product launch as a result of powerful business connections made at the first-ever LGBT Pavilion during at World Travel Market 2012.

London, UK (OUTNOW) – January 8, 2013 — Visit Helsinki, and Tourismus & Congress Frankfurt have become the first destination tourism offices to develop targeted training specifically for travel agents and tour operators aimed at increasing LGBT visitors to their cities.

The deals were struck at World Travel Market 2012. Visit Helsinki was one of twelve companies that exhibited in the first-ever WTM LGBT Pavilion.

The new training modules will be built and managed by the world’s leading LGBT marketing firm Out Now Global, which organised the inaugural WTM LGBT Pavilion.

It is the first time a specific LGBT-focused training content has been available to mainstream travel agents.

The training modules will be launched in early 2013 in partnership with WTM exhibitor OTT, the worldʼs largest provider of online training for travel agents; and TTG Knowledge, as part of their already comprehensive suite of training modules and courses.

A general LGBT awareness training module is also being made available online at http://ott.travel/LGBT/home.aspx – giving practical advice for agents to use when dealing with LGBT customers.

The courses are being made available free of charge by Out Now Business Class http://www.OutNowBusinessClass.com – the world’s leading LGBT networking association for global LGBT tourism business development.

The new destination specific e-learning courses will be free for all travel agents who have completed this initial course, and will be marketed and available to a global network of over 60, 000 travel trade professionals through OTTʼs comprehensive database, and promoted in leading travel trade journal the Travel Trade Gazette.

The new training content is informed by Out Nowʼs LGBT2020 research – the worldʼs largest global research into LGBT people’s lives. That research reveals that a significant number of LGBT tourists are now booking travel through mainstream travel agents and tour operators.

Ian Johnson, CEO and founder of Out Now was quick to point out the benefits for destinations who are investing in this new sales tool. “This new initiative has the potential to expand the market reach for LGBT sales substantially, ” Johnson said. “Travel agents and tour operators now account for more than 30% of all LGBT sales in most markets globally, so by providing specialist training and relevant LGBT product information we are able to give our partner destinations a much enhanced competitive edge. Thanks to OTT this new training resource is being made available to an extensive global network of more than 60, 000 travel agents and tour operators.”

Research from the LGBT2020 study released at London World Travel Market in November 2012 revealed that the global LGBT tourism spend during 2013 will top USD$181 billion.

Marketing Manager at Visit Helsinki, Hanna Muoniovaara said:  “It is critical we build smart strategic partnerships. Out Now Business Class is a well-designed and highly effective way for us to strengthen our trade relationships to expand sales in the LGBT market.”

As well as featuring LGBT nightlife and festivals, each destination-specific training module will highlight other key activities and areas of interest to LGBT travellers. The importance of cuisine, local history, museums, art galleries, walking, beaches, mainstream nightlife, as well as art and events have all been analysed for each partner destination based on ranking the relevant importance of each for respondents to the LGBT2020 global research study when they travel. The incorporation of this information into the bespoke training modules for each destination not only helps agents understand which are a destinationʼs key assets for this market, but also shows insight and affinity with an audience that has become bored by cliched approaches to marketing and advertising. Agents learn about gay neighbourhoods, local nightlife options and a range of other relevant information of great interest to most LGBT travellers.

The new training program partnerships are just one of a number of new LGBT initiatives that resulted from the first ever LGBT pavilion at World Travel Market. Out Now Business Class – Out Nowʼs new B2B LGBT networking association – gathered exhibiting partners together at the trade show to showcase the very latest developments and destinations in LGBT tourism globally.

“World Travel Market’s main focus is to facilitate business for its exhibitors. I am delighted that an industry-first deal has been negotiated and concluded at WTM to the benefit of four of our exhibitors, ” Reed Travel Exhibitions Chairman World Travel Market Fiona Jeffery said.

The new general LGBT training module is available online now and the specialist destination modules will be available to more than 60, 000 OTT travel agents and tour operators, free of charge, from early 2013.

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

Almost 48, 000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

WTM, now in its 33rd year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.

WTM 2010 generated £1, 653 million of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.

WTM is owned by the worldʼs leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a portfolio of other travel industry events including Arabian Travel Market and International Luxury Travel Market.

In 2010, RE held more than 460 events in 36 countries bringing together more than seven million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.

Reed Travel Exhibitions.

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the worldʼs leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, business travel and the meetings and incentives industry.

The 13 events are; World Travel Market (WTM), Arabian Travel Market (ATM), International French Travel Market (IFTM), La Cumbre, International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), International Luxury Travel Market Asia (ILTMA), Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) (owned by Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau), Global Exhibition for Incentive, Business Travel, and Meetings (EIBTM), Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (GIBTM), Americas Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (AIBTM), China Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings (CIBTM) and Business Travel Market.

2012 sees the launch of two exciting new events with The Spa & Wellness Summit taking place in Austria Tyrol (10-12 September) and ILTM Americas launching in Mayakoba, Mexico (1-3 October).

Furthermore, April 2013 will see RTE launch World Travel Market Latin America in São Paulo, Brazil (23-25 April).

In 2011 RTEʼs 13 events were the catalyst for £2, 807 million worth of travel and tourism business deals.

RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.

About Out Now

Established in 1992, Out Now is the world’s leading LGBT marketing organization and has for two decades been relied upon by many of the world’s leading brands, organisations and tourism bodies for specialized gay and lesbian marketing insight and expertise. Services include research, training, strategy and communications.

Out Now clients include IBM, Toyota, Citibank, German National Tourist Office, TUI, Lufthansa, Berlin Tourism Marketing, Vienna Tourist Board, Visit Manchester, Stockholm Visitors Board and Lloyds TSB Banking Group.

About OTT

OTT was established in 2007 to bring the most advanced and innovative training programmes to the UK retail travel sector. From November 2012 the company has re-branded itself as OTT and has expanded to now offer over 120 courses across the globe, providing courses in any language to any region.  The training provider has won seven UK trade awards in the last three years and has grown to 70, 000 global members. Renowned for its innovation, product delivery and excellent customer service, OTT’s prestigious client base includes British Airways, Easyjet, Disney, Kuoni, P&O Cruises, TUI UK and Virgin Atlantic

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