Thursday, November 17, 2011

International Expo & Business LGBT, Puerto Vallarta

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC) President/CEO, Keith Blackburn will be one of the presenters at the first “International Expo & Business LGBT", between November 20th and 23rd at the Presidente Intercontinental Resort, located in one of the most exclusive areas of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Keith Blackburn's presentation is titled "Creating a LGBT Chamber of Commerce". In addition, there will be seminars for those interested in learning about the tastes and buying tendencies of the LGBT community and new market trends. 

Mya Lake Reyes, Director Diversity Marketing LAS Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will speak about "straight talk on the gay market". Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now will give a special Keynote Presentation, titled "LGBT Marketing Leader. "Evolution of the LGBT Market in Argentina" will be presented by Alfredo Ferreyra, Founder and CEO of BUEGay Argentina and BUERental Argentinaship. "Marketing to Gays and Lesbians" will be presented by Rod Zelles, Founder and CEO of Blue Flame Ventures Inc. John Tanzella, President/CEO of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) will feature a "Special Presentation" Finally, George T. Neary, of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau will talk about "Miami & Beaches LGBT Destination"

The objective of the International Expo & Business LGBT, Puerto Vallarta is to be a showcase and business platform for buyers and sellers who drive national and international products and services to the LGBT community. This important event will host business exchanges over two days between buyers and sellers nationally and internationally, to discuss sale and trade opportunities.

Among the industry professionals are service providers such as airlines, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, car rental agencies, travel operators, travel agents and tourism boards, CVB's, and leading companies currently serving the global LGBT community as well as companies interested in leveraging the business opportunities of the LGBT market. The entire program will be presented in both English and Spanish. For more information, check the website:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An Open Letter From the IGLTA

John Tanzella
1201 NE 26th Street, Suite 103
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305

October 12, 2011
To Whom It May Concern:

As President/CEO of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, I have maintained a strong working relationship with the Rainbow Alliance of Fort Lauderdale. Since Keith Blackburn joined the board of the Rainbow Alliance, he has consistently supported our association and Greater Fort Lauderdale as an LGBT travel destination. 

The IGLTA team has worked alongside Keith as he has promoted gay travel to Greater Fort Lauderdale at diverse events around the globe, such as Out Games in Montreal, ITB Berlin, Gay Days in Orlando, and our 27th Annual Global Convention in Antwerp, Belgium. Keith’s engagement with our May 2011 convention in Fort Lauderdale – through email promotions, planning meetings, and securing Crystal Waters as a gala performer – contributed to our largest attendance to date.

I understand the need for change, and with the closure of the Rainbow Alliance we look forward to an ongoing partnership with Keith through the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Rather than solely focusing on tourism, this new organization will reach out to all LGBT and LGBT-friendly businesses in Broward County. Because of its affiliation with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and growing relationships with other regional gay chambers, I believe we will all benefit from the GFLGLCC. 


John Tanzella
IGLTA President/CEO

1201 NE 26th Street, Suite 103 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305, USA   E-mail:  Phone: +1-954-630-1637

Sunday, October 2, 2011

GFLGLCC Launch Party October 13, 2011

Please join us on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at Matty's on the Drive for an unveiling of The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC).   

You'll learn our mission, goals and how we will help your business achieve its goals in 2011 and beyond.  Membership Packages will be available, as well as GFLGLCC Board members and representatives to help explain our membership benefits and details.

Be one of the first to sample menu items from the new deli-restaurant opening soon. Complimentary cocktails and appetizers will be provided by Matty's on the Drive.

We will also be giving away passes and tickets to the 3rd Annual Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which will run from October 13-16th.  

Please click on the link below to let us know if you can make it.     

Register Now!
I can't make it
We're really excited about the GFLGLCC and want you to be a part of it.  Thank you for your attention and response.  We look forward to seeing you soon!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions. 
Keith Blackburn

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC) Forms to Fill a Void in LGBT and LGBT Friendly Business Needs

Date: September 6, 2011 Media Contact:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ARL Marketing & Public Relations


The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce forms to fill a void in LGBT and LGBT Friendly business needs in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Area

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) – September 6, 2011– Fifteen years after the Rainbow Alliance was created to promote LGBT and LGBT friendly tourism in the Fort Lauderdale area, the Board members realized they needed to do more for the community. The Rainbow Alliance was bound by existing Bylaws and was unable to expand to include all LGBT and LGBT-friendly businesses in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

On April 26, 2011, the Rainbow Alliance membership unanimously voted to establish the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (GFLGLCC) as a 501 c (6) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT friendly community in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area.

The new Chamber was soon formed as an affiliate of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). This important affiliation will extend our reach beyond Greater Fort Lauderdale. As a result, members will have access to many more benefits, compared to the Rainbow Alliance. In addition to the NGLCC affiliation and benefits, the GFLGLCC intends to work with other affiliate chambers like the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) and MBA Orlando - Central Florida's LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Membership fees are also much lower. The Rainbow Alliance dues started at $330, where a standard Business Membership with the GFLGLCC is only $250. We are also waiving new member processing fees, said Keith Blackburn, President of the newly formed GFLGLCC.

The GFLGLCC’s affiliation with the NGLCC will allow the Chamber and its members more opportunities. As a national umbrella organization, the NGLCC is a clearinghouse of ideas and information for and between businesses and organizations. The NGLCC works with Federal, State and Affiliate Chambers and business groups on various issues. Most importantly, the NGLCC is the premier advocate on behalf of LGBT owned businesses, professionals, students of business, and corporations that share in our desire to expand the community's financial opportunities, economic growth, continued innovation, and equality.

The NGLCC Supplier Diversity Initiative (SDI) offers businesses a tool to make connections and open doors with America's top corporations and each other. The SDI certifies Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender owned Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) and works to provide opportunities for LGBTBEs to gain exposure within corporate procurement processes. The NGLCC SDI offers certification to LGBTBEs, as well as a host of opportunities to enhance your business' visibility to corporations seeking to do business with LGBT suppliers. Each member of the GFLGLCC will have a membership to the NGLCC and if qualified, is eligible to apply for the SDI at no additional cost.

The GFLGLCC will begin to host and promote a variety of services and events to the community and its member,, including Networkers, Workshops, Breakfasts, Luncheons, Dinners, Evening Mixers, member to member discounts, business seminars, business tables and introductions, to name a few. For a full list of events and services available through the GFLGLCC please visit

About Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC):

The GFLGLCC is a 501 C (6) Non Profit organization, with the following Mission Statement: Dedicated to promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. To be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promote equality. To promote tourism with a unified approach, by working with appropriate and related organizations.

About National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC):

The NGLCC is the business advocate and direct link between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business owners, corporations, and government, representing the interests of more than 1.4 million LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs. The NGLCC is committed to forming a broad-based coalition of LGBT owned and friendly businesses, professionals, and major corporations for the purpose of promoting economic growth and the prosperity of our members.

For more information about the GFLGLCC, or to become a member please visit or contact ARL Marketing & Public Relations at 954-600-3154 or via email at: for media coverage, press kits, membership kits and live interview requests.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Website for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (GFLGLCC) is excited to announce that our website is now up and running. Special thanks go out to Matt Skallerud of Pink Banana Media for working hard to get everything right. Most of the features are operational and will become more apparent as we add RSS feeds, etc. We will also be adding new content and functionality in the near future.

If you’d like to know more about member benefits, please check here: New members can join with our on-line form, or download a PDF application.

If you have any questions, please contact Keith Blackburn at

Sunday, March 6, 2011

An Open Letter from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Rainbow Alliance


Recently. there has been talk about either limiting, or outlawing short-term residential rentals within Fort Lauderdale. When I first heard of this, I did some research and discovered that this possible ban could effect most of the guest-houses. Many are operated under "Transient" licenses, which allow rentals of 1-day, to 6-months. Hotel licenses are restricted to specific commercially zoned areas. Most of the smaller properties are not within commercial zoned areas and could be vulnerable to a change in the law.

I attended and spoke at the Short Term Rental Use Committee meeting at City Hall in January. The Committee is charged with making a recommendations to the City Commissioners and the Mayor in the near future. Depending on who you listen to, this ban could effect small hotels, guest houses, crew houses, vacation rentals, etc. There has not been anything specific to exclude those properties. While most of the press coverage focuses on the single-family vacation home, the Committee would not define the scope of the potential ban or restriction. When pressed by myself, they would only say that they may consider defining it.

I attended the latest meeting on February 24th and was really impressed to see over 200 people present. Nearly all of those who spoke to the Committee were for allowing short term rentals. The January meeting attracted about 15 people, so from 15 to well over 200 was quite impressive. Most of the credit goes to the newly formed South Florida Vacation Rental Association, who has waged a huge campaign to protect individual property owners rights. In addition, the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale has been behind a campaign to prevent any laws restricting short term rentals. I will keep you all informed as new information becomes available. If anyone wants to become involved with this, please let me know.

May 10 - 15 will bring IGLTA's Annual Global Convention to Fort Lauderdale. They expect 700 or more people to attend the popular event. This could very well be the largest convention in IGLTA history! The event is heavily promoted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, IGLTA and many sponsors and there will be major press coverage. This event attracts people from around the world and it's a great time for us to showcase Fort Lauderdale. If any of you are not a member of the IGLTA, please consider it now. You can contact me for a personal recommendation and details. As I reported from last years IGLTA convention in Antwerp Belgium, Fort Lauderdale was heavily promoted by myself (Representing the Rainbow Alliance) and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

You may have been contacted recently by Alan Beck of Fun Maps. If not, I am sure you will in the near future. We are working closely with Fun Maps to give us all some extra exposure at the many travel shows he attends. Details are being worked out now, but it promises to be a great promotion. The cost to be in the new Fun Map should be minimum and the exposure, with 100,000 copies printed in addition to the website exposure AND the Fort Lauderdale Destination promotion should be a great value.

Last, I would like to invite anyone who wants to become an active part of the Rainbow Alliance to contact me. We can always use new people and ideas.

Thank you,

Keith Blackburn
Chairman, Greater Fort Lauderdale Rainbow Alliance

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

City of Fort Lauderdale's Short Term Residential Use (STRU) Committee Meeting to Consider Ban on Short Term Rentals. Could affect Gay Guesthouses

Contact: Keith Blackburn

Chairman, Rainbow Alliance

Phone 305-798-5455


Press Release

Background and Outlook: Despite the objections of a wide range of individuals and organizations, including the Rainbow Alliance, efforts continue to develop regulations banning short term rentals in the city of Fort Lauderdale. It is clear that language containing significant restrictions will be sent to the City Commission for consideration following the STRU's February 24th meeting. This is a serious infringement on private property rights. South Florida's housing market and the economy cannot bear new limitations. Statistics from both the National Association of Realtors® and the Florida Realtors® demonstrate just how important the secondary home market and vacation rentals are to the local economy. Just as thousands of homeowners are struggling to keep their homes, we cannot impose new limitations on their use.

Rainbow Alliance Input: There is no clear definition of exactly who would be affected by a short term rental ban. While most assume that it will only affect single family homes in residential areas, the STRU has not defined the scope. When I brought this to their attention in January’s hearing, I was told that they may consider defining which type of short term rentals could be banned. Most guesthouses now operate under transient rental licenses, issued by the State. The STRU did not seem to be concerned about those specific businesses and added that that they are concerned about rentals of less than 6-months in residential neighborhoods. As you may know, a “Hotel” license can only be issued to an accommodation located within a designated commercial district. The State-issued Transient license allows for rentals between one day and 6-months. Without specific language within a ban, many of us could wind up out of business.

It is our stance that all hotels, vacation rentals, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, resorts, etc. be licensed and operated within guidelines determined by the State and local governments. Tourism in the greater Fort Lauderdale area is a multi-billion dollar business and should not be limited to the large hotels. Our visitors should be able to decide if they want to spend money at a large hotel chain, or a small guesthouse or vacation rental. With careful thought to future regulations, Fort Lauderdale could expand its tourism revenue, which in turn will result in increased tourism tax revenues.


Who: City of Fort Lauderdale's Short Term Residential Use (STRU) Committee

What: Meeting to Consider Ban on Short Term Rentals

When: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Fort Lauderdale City Hall, 100 North Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

The Director of Government Affairs for the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale (RAGFL) put out the first of three “media blasts” to all Realtors and Brokers last week, asking them to come to the STRU Meeting on February 24th at 5:00-8:00PM. Please let your voices be heard and attend.

RAGFL also prepared a prewritten letter to the Mayor and the Commissioners, asking them to oppose this ban. Here is the link to that service. Please let your voice be heard, via the link below: