Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry for 2016

Richard Gray, LGBTQ managing director of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB); vice chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) - After a career in investment banking and a second career as a hotelier, Richard Gray joined the GFLCVB, which goes by "Visit Sunny," in 2012, becoming the first full-time CVB sales and marketing executive whose sole responsibility is the LGBT market. It was a good fit for the man who helped created Visit Sunny's first-in-the-U.S. LGBT marketing initiative in 1996, subsequently becoming the CVB's volunteer LGBT liaison and helping build this segment of its business. Gray's budget, which started at $35,000 two decades ago, now exceeds $1 million, and helps attract some 1.3 million LGBT travelers, who spend approximately $1.5 billion in the area -- including, last year the 1,000 attendees at the 25th Southern Comfort Conference, one of the largest transgender conferences in the country.


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