Diversity and inclusion advocates will be convening upon in Yucatán in México next month for the LGBT Confex International Business Forum 2015 – the biggest LGBT business conference in Latin America.
Now in its fifth year, the event will run 18-19 September at the Yucatán Siglo XXI Convention Center in Mérida.
Its aim is to promote the business case for diversity and inclusion, forge alliances between both businesses and LGBT individuals, and highlight the economic power of the LGBT market.
This year’s event will feature lectures, workshops and networking events. There will also be an International LGBT Business Expo and International Congress on Sexual Diversity Studies.
Sponsors of the forum include Marriott, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Mundo Cuervo, among others.
Speakers at this year’s event will include: Deena Fidas, Head of Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Program; Ron Kuijpers, IGLTA Mexico Ambassador; Selisse Berry, CEO and Founder of Out & Equal; and Sahian Barajas and Alejandra Treviño of Aire.
Organizers are hoping for around 300 attendees and at least 35 exhibitors.
Ruben Sandoval, CEO and Founder LGBT Confex told Gay Star Business that the event was being taken much more seriously than when it first launched four years ago.
‘When we started with the first event in Puerto Vallarta in 2011, we had no support from the three levels of government in Mexico. The topic was interesting, but nobody wanted to be involved.
‘Today things have changed. We have built a partnership with different levels of government, business and universities to offer a platform of knowledge and experience for all.’
Sandoval said that this year’s forum will look in detail at tourism, the corporate sector, technology, fashion, film, entrepreneurs, academia and the media. In addition, he was looking forward to working with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. As part of the advocacy group’s involvement, discussion events on workplace diversity will take place in three Mexican cities (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey).
Mexico has become increasingly aware of the economic power of the LGBT market in recent years. Last month, Travel Weekly reported that LGBT visitors accounted for 3million of Mexico’s 29.1million visitors in 2014.
The Mexico Ministry for Tourism found that LGBT travellers spend, on average, US$1,550 (€1,383) per person, almost double the $780 (€696) average visitor spend.
This fall, Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Playa del Carmen will host a one-day certification course on LGBT Destination Weddings, for those in the travel industry looking to capitalize on the growing trend for same-sex weddings and honeymoons. The event has already sold out, reports Travel Agent Central.
Last year, Out Now Consulting estimated that Mexico’s domestic LGBT market – based on an LGBT population of 5.2million – earned approximately US$74.4billion (€66.4billion).
Last year, the US National Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce choose Mexico as the host country of its LGBT Summit of the Americas. It coincided with the launch of the Mexican Federation of LGBT Entrepreneurs (FME-LGBT); a national affiliate of NGLCC Global.
Mexico is the US’s third largest trading partner (behind Canada and China), with over US$1.3billion (€1.16billion) worth of commerce conducted across the border daily. NGLCC said at the time that it has assisted with the formation of FME-LGBT, ‘to build this important relationship and expand opportunities between business owners in Mexico and the US.’