2019 Line Up

  • 2019 Line Up

    Some of the most creative and current individuals will explore the very latest thoughts, subjects and issues surrounding LGBTQ+ tourism during The PROUD Gathering and Masterclass Programme. We're excited to announce that the following speakers will be joining us in NYC!

  • Will Young
    Musician, performer and podcaster

    As a successful musician, performer, podcaster and motivational public speaker, Will Young has been in the public eye for over 17 years, collecting multi-platinum albums, sold-out live tours, various awards and an Olivier Award nomination in the process. Notable accolades include 2 Brits, 12 Brit Nominations, GQ award, Attitude award and Elle Style award.

    In 2017, friends Will Young and Chris Sweeney launched the inaugural 12 episodes of their LGBTQ+ podcast ‘Homo Sapiens’. Their podcast has continued to go from strength-to-strength. Named as The Observer’s 10 Best Podcasts of 2017, it is a weekly “in conversation” podcast featuring interviews with a wide range of personalities discussing LGBTQ+ issues.


    Chris Sweeney
    Director, writer and podcaster

    Chris Sweeney is an award winning British director, writer and podcaster who specialises in bringing important issues to the mainstream. His work has been widely acclaimed by the likes of The New York Times, Vogue and The LA Times. He mentors young film- makers through the British Film Institute’s Young Film Academy and lives in London with his husband William and dog Ridley.

    Will and Chris are currently assembling Homo Sapien's much like Will might thematically assemble an album. In the second and current series, the intrepid twosome are travelling up and down the country to explore LGBTQI life in the British Isles. For the third, they intend to venture to the United States.


    H.R.H Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla

    His Royal Highness Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, the first openly gay Prince in the world and face of the #FreeGayIndia movement, will headline The PROUD Gathering 2019 by taking part in the Big Interview.

    H.R.H. Prince Manvendra has been one of India’s main faces for LGBTQ+ activism since he came out and was stripped of his Maharaja, as well as being disowned by his Royal family. Ever since, he opened up his own private palace to make it an LGBTQ+ refuge, started the Lakshya Trust, of which he is chairman – a charity dedicated to HIV/AIDS education and prevention – and has been a strong advocate in last month’s decriminalisation of homosexuality in India.

  • Ellen Stewart
    Head of Content, PinkNews

    Ellen works for PinkNews, the world's most-read LGBT media platform, where she leads a growing newsroom. She specialises in audience development and editorial campaigns. Ellen previously worked at the Evening Standard as acting growth editor & head of social, where she built an audience team from the ground up and successfully delivered double figure growth across social and SEO. Prior to that she worked at The Independent, Time Inc., DMGT, AOL and HuffPost.


    Fred Dixon
    President & CEO, NYC & Company

    On March 14, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Fred Dixon as President & CEO of NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization. With more than 27 years of experience in the travel industry, Dixon has the overall responsibility for developing and implementing New York City’s tourism and convention development strategy internationally as well as in domestic leisure and business markets.


    Sophie Griffiths
    Editor, TTG Media

    Sophie Griffiths joined Travel Trade Gazette in March 2010 as a news reporter, before being promoted to deputy news editor and then news editor in March 2013, with a seven-month sabbatical to travel the world in between. She looks after the news team, which produces daily and weekly content for the magazine and website. Sophie is the founder of TTG LGBT – a network for LGBT people and their allies in the travel industry - that was launched in March 2015, and comprises regular evening events and an annual conference.



  • Joel Cabrera
    Co-Founder and Chief Travel Officer at Zoom Vacations

    Joel graduated from law school in Chicago and practiced law for over 10 years before starting Zoom Vacations®. He has been passionate about travel since he was a small boy and remembers going to New York City with his mother when he was eight years old, watching his native Puerto Rico shrink in the distance. Joel's travel log includes adventure trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and exotic trips to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, and Tunisia. He is also somewhat of an airline and flight guru and spends almost as much time in the air as he does on ground, scouting the best destinations and venues for gay travellers.


    Billy Kolber
    Founder of HospitableMe

    Billy Kolber is the founder of HospitableMe, a diversity consulting practice for tourism and hospitality. He co-founded OUT&ABOUT, the first gay travel magazine in the US, and ManAboutWorld, one of the first mobile-only magazines of any kind. He and his team provide education and training around issues of sexuality and gender diversity, empowering destinations and brands to provide authentic, welcoming service to diverse travellers, and more personalized service to everyone. Billy travelled and sang around the world with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, has visited 62 countries, and still lives in New York City, where he was born.



    Ed Salvato
    Co-founder of HospitableMe

    Ed Salvato is co-founder of HospitableMe, which offers LGBTQ strategy, marketing and training for tourism and hospitality. He’s co-author of the recently released Handbook of LGBT Tourism & Hospitality Marketing: A Guide for Business Practice distributed by Columbia University Press. He’s also cofounder and chief content officer of gay consumer-focused ManAboutWorld travel magazine available via the App Store and in Google Play. Previously, Ed was editor in chief of Out Traveler magazine and OUT & ABOUT gay travel newsletter. Ed is a part-time instructor at NYU’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, teaching LGBTQ tourism & hospitality marketing.



  • Arnie Weissmann
    Editor in Chief of Travel Weekly

    Arnie Weissmann is editor in chief of Travel Weekly, the trusted source of news, research, analysis and opinion for the U.S. travel industry. He also serves as EVP/editorial director for its parent company, Northstar Travel Group, the largest business-to-business travel media company in the world, serving audiences in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Weissmann is seen regularly on PBS as a contributor to the television program “The Travel Detective.” His commentary has appeared on CBS, NBC, CNN, BBC and Sky News television, as well as NPR, SiriusXM, Armed Forces Network and Monocle radio. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, among other publications.

    Jake and Hannah Graf
    Writer, director & actor | British Army Captain

    Jake Graf is a writer, director and actor based in London who aims to elicit positive change through the medium of film. His first six films have won a collective 57 awards and screened internationally. Jake is one of the most visible transgender men in the UK, using his platform to promote understanding and awareness of the trans community. Hannah is a Captain in the British Army. She commissioned in 2010 and since that time has commanded soldiers across the world including in Germany, Canada, Kenya and Afghanistan. Hannah is also a transgender woman and her personal story of transition captured the imagination of the nation in 2015.


    Richard Jones
    CEO of Bear World Media Inc.

    Richard is the founding Editor of Bear World Magazine, the largest online lifestyle magazine reaching the global Bear audience. To facilitate growth into other LGBT niche audiences and television production he formed Bear World Media Inc. Travel has been a hugely popular part of editorial across Bear World Magazine and is the reason for the development of the new TV show "Check Your Luggage", a new fully inclusive LGBT travel show, hosted by Justin T. Russo (Logo TV's 'Fire Island'). Richard is passionate about making sure all members of the LGBT community are included when it comes to travel content. This has led to the creation of Bear World Medias latest online title Vacationer Magazine which will always focus on the destination and not on the "Beach Body".


  • Merryn Johns
    Editor-in-Chief of Curve Magazine

    Merryn Johns is the editor-in-chief of Curve magazine, America's lifestyle quarterly for LGBTQ women. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Merryn is a regular travel writer, commentator, and public speaker on the subject of lesbian travel and diversity and inclusion. When she's not travelling or preparing the next issue of Curve, she works as a digital international news producer in New York City.


    Darren Burn
    Co-Founder of OutOfOffice.com and MD of TravelGay.com

    Darren Burn is a former ITN journalist who set up OutOfOffice.com in 2016 after spotting a gap in the luxury tailor-made LGBT travel market. The business has grown from strength to strength and now has over 50% of its clients booking from the USA. In 2018, the business acquired TravelGay.com - the world's largest LGBT travel website - with millions of visits a year. The website is currently going through a major redevelopment to become an even stronger player in the OTA market.


    Adventures in family travel, with a gay twist

    Gay family influencers and travel bloggers, two dads with two teen daughters explore travel, lifestyle and the laughs of everyday life. Meet (from left to right) Triton Klugh, designer / teen whisperer / uber organizer / dad humourist, Ava Bailey-Klugh, teenager extraordinaire / cheerleader / collector of many things / nature girl, Jonathan Bailey, travel blogger / harried dad / vacation dreamer / planner and Sophia Bailey-Klugh, teen-going-on-30 / tennis player / constant shopper / pop culture fanatic.


  • Romey Louangvilay
    Head of Communications at ELMNTL

    Romey Louangvilay is Head of Communications at ELMNTL (pronounced Elemental), where he leverages more than a decade of experience in social media strategy and PR. His primary role is ensuring that there is a seamless integration of all marketing disciplines and to provide strategic guidance for the agency’s marquee accounts, such as Tourism Authority of Thailand, Guana Island, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Romey has previously spoken at the NY Travel Fest, Travel Unity Summit, PRNews’ Digital PR Summit, and his accomplishments earned a spot as a finalist in Forbes’ 2016 Top 30 Under 30 in Marketing & Advertising.


    Thomas Roth
    Founder, Community Marketing & Insights

    Founder of Community Marketing & Insights (CMI), Thomas Roth launched the company in 1992, and currently serves as it's EVP, General Manager. Tom is now primarily dedicating his industry-leading expertise to head up CMI’s Research division, which produces the annual LGBTQ Community Survey, the annual LGBTQ Tourism & Hospitality Survey, as well as custom surveys and focus groups for a variety of market leaders in tourism, hospitality, retail, finance, beverages, real estate, insurance, health care, government, etc., and conducts educational training seminars for corporations and organizations.


    Tyronne Stoudemire
    Global Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Hyatt Worldwide

    Tyronne has more than 20 years of experience in diversity and inclusion, and human resource management. At Hyatt Worldwide, he works with the senior leadership team to implement culture, talent, and marketplace strategies that leverage diversity to grow the business across the company’s portfolio of brands. As such, his team and internal corporate partners have implemented diversity-training initiatives including Diversity Business Resource Groups, mentoring programs for high potential women and people of colour as well as enhanced brand marketing effort to further focus on multicultural and LGBT audiences.

  • Further announcements will be made soon!

  • Programme

    Find out where you need to be and when. Prepare for your very own PROUD experience.

    Event Programme


    Are you ready for inspiring surroundings? Find out where everything is happening in June!

    the venue

  • Testimonials

    • Now days there’s so many travel events to go to around the world, but PROUD Experiences is going to be a little bit different. This is going to be a place where the best LGBTQ+ travel minds will come together to network and share ideas. You need to be there!

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      • Joel Cabrera
      • Chief Travel Officer, Zoom Vacations
    • I’m delighted to participate in my second PROUD Experiences to share our experiences providing LGBTQ training, which is an efficient and effective way to educate your colleague and staff about LGBTQ travellers. Training helps everyone become more comfortable and conversant with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations in the context of travel, and shows how to be more respectful and welcoming, from marketing through service delivery.

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      • Ed Salvato
      • Co-founder of HospitableMe and ManAboutWorld
    • Tourism, hospitality, attractions, entertainment and events leaders depend on valid data to make important product development and communications decisions. CMI’s 23rd Annual LGBTQ Tourism & Hospitality Survey provides a snapshot of LGBTQ travellers today; where they are going, where they stay, what they enjoy doing, and how they research and purchase their travel. I’m excited to participate in PROUD Experiences this year, and to meet some of the market leaders in attendance.

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      • Thomas Roth
      • President, Community Marketing & Insights
    • I am very honoured to be a speaker at PROUD Experiences because I stand for the belief that no one should be scared to be themselves. Travel for me is a way for cultural exchange, and with fear in place, it’s difficult to explore outside your comfort zone. By learning how to navigate new areas and find safe zones, you can communicate to tourists and help expand everyone’s horizons. I look forward to speaking at PROUD Experiences and hope to see you there.

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      • Romey Louangvilay
      • Head of Communications at Elmntl

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