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St. Petersburg to host LGBT tourism convention in 2017

St. Petersburg is already home to the largest gay pride event in the state, and come 2017, the city will host the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association's Annual Global Convention for the first time.

The IGLTA's board of directors selected the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club as the site for the convention, which will take place May 3-6, 2017.

The organization chose St. Petersburg because of its thriving LGBT community.

"Not only does St. Pete have a charming downtown and incredible beaches, it also boasts major attractions like the Dalí Museum and has been actively engaged in the LGBT market," said IGLTA board chair Dan Melesurgo. "Our goal as a travel association is to showcase the host destination in conjunction with the conference, so we look forward to expanding the global audience for St. Pete."

This year, an estimated 250,000 people participated in St. Petersburg's annual Pride Parade along Central Avenue, according to a news release.

"As home to one of the largest Pride events in America, St. Petersburg-Clearwater has long been a welcoming destination for the LGBT traveler," said David Downing, executive director of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, Pinellas County's tourism marketing agency. "We're honored to be the host city for IGLTA's 2017 Annual Global Convention, and we look forward to showing off our gorgeous white sand beaches, world-class cultural scene and unique Gulf Coast vibe."

The IGLTA membership includes LGBT-friendly hotels and other accommodations, destination cities, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, and events and travel journalists from 80 countries. The group is an affiliate member of the U.N. World Tourism Organization.