TBEX Europe 2015 Attendees Will Receive FREE Lloret Card

Lloret Card

Our hosts in Lloret de Mar are pleased to offer every registered TBEX attendee a FREE Lloret Card.

This card includes admission to Santa Clotilde Gardens, the Maritime Museum, Can Saragossa Museum, the Castle of Sant Joan, and the Iberian settlements of Puig de Castellet. It also offeres a variety of discounts (up to 50%) at local shops, restaurants, shows, museums, and leisure activities.

The Lloret Card will be available for pick up at the TBEX Welcome Desk or Help Desk at the Barcelona or Girona Airport on April 29-30th. It will also be available at the Lloret sponsor table during the conference. If you arrive early and want to enjoy the benefits of the LloretCard, you can pick it up at one of the tourist information offices in Lloret, just show your registration confirmation to receive it. NOTE:  There will not be a Help Desk at the train station.

You can download a LloretCard guide here with all the benefits and discounts available. What an easy way to explore the city on your own schedule.

5 Travel Brands That Do LGBT Marketing Right


The LGBT community has quickly become one of the most targeted groups for travel marketing today. With LGBT issues of equality constantly in mainstream media, DMOs and travel brands are making sure that this community knows they are welcomed. In addition, it’s also known that gays and lesbians tend to have a higher disposable income than their heterosexual counterparts and also travel more. This makes it important for brands to not only focus on marketing to the LGBT community, but to do it effectively. The following five travel brands are some that stand out among the rest.

Pink Iceland

Pink Iceland is an LGBTQ-focused tour company based in Reykjavik, Iceland. Founded in 2011, Pink Iceland is gay owned and operated, offering their travel expertise to visit their small but captivating country. They offer and arrange day tours, luxury travel, tailor made trips, and group travel. Their brand is all about LGBT tourism from their travel services to their logo, which is a pink triangle representing their target community inside a larger triangle to form a snowcapped mountain representing the natural beauty of their destination. Pink Iceland also goes beyond travel to concentrate on other queer-centered services such as weddings, international events and festivals. Iceland is a very gay-friendly country with marriage equality and a generally accepting atmosphere and Pink Iceland is the perfect complement to show all the country has to offer to the larger LGBT community.

Atlantis Events

Atlantis was founded over 20 years ago and is best known for its gay focused cruises and resorts. Based in Los Angeles, this company offers cruises and resort vacations all over, especially in Europe and around Mexico. From their first event back in 1991 with 300 attendees, they now have around 20,000 guests at their events each year. While they are a gay centered company they specifically focus on gay men, though a small percentage of their guests are women who are welcomed as well. It is clear that they use young, attractive and fit men to market their brand which works well for them as this is the typical type of guest they have, though it’s not the only of course. While this marketing strategy may work for Atlantis, it doesn’t work for everyone so brands should be cautious when considering their approach. Using men with model-like looks to advertise a brand can often be criticized for alienating the larger community. However, this seems to be working well for the Atlantis demographic.

Visit Britain

Visit Britain is the national tourism agency promoting Britain around the globe. They work with private and public sector partners in their marketing and also use major events to promote Britain including the Ryder Cup, Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. One of their priorities for 2015 is to continue to promote their “Love is Great” campaign. It promotes travel within the gay and lesbian community using multiple media partners including gay magazines and websites largely focusing on the US market. The campaign also highlights Britain as a destination with increasing equality and also as a destination with many great Pride events in various parts around the region.

Air Berlin

Air Berlin is a popular airline based in Germany that offers flights worldwide to around 150 destinations. It’s the second largest airline in the country and seventh largest in Europe. The airline also sponsors LGBT various organizations, events, and programs each year. Some of which include the pink corner at ITB Berlin and gay-friendly events such as Tunte Lauf, a drag show in Dusseldorf. Their online presence even features a microsite for LGBT travelers to discover Air Berlin flights to some of the most gay-friendly destinations worldwide.

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale in Florida is just 23 miles north of Miami and a popular tourist destination for its seemingly never-ending sunshine and average yearly temperature of 75°F (24°C). In addition to the seasonal snowbirds, it’s also a well known spot for its large LGBT presence and gay-friendly hotels and businesses. It markets itself as a destination for weddings, LGBT events and general leisure. In February, the Love is Love campaign was launched in Fort Lauderdale to celebrate marriage equality in Florida with Lance Bass as its ambassador. Nearly 100 same and opposite-sex couples were married or renewed their vows during a sunrise beach wedding. Moreover, their convention and visitor bureau has one of the largest budgets dedicated to LGBT tourism. Not surprisingly, Fort Lauderdale is also one of the only cities with a transgender travel initiative with an aim to encourage trans tourism to their destination, an incredible approach considering the T in LGBT is often forgotten.

At the moment, these are some of the most well recognized DMOs and travel brands working for the LGBT community. Their methods may differ depending on the destination and goals, but they all recognize the potential of LGBT tourism and are, to their benefits, taking advantage of that market.

Author Bio:  Auston Matta lived in Chicago for 4 years before he sold everything and went on a round-the-world trip in 2012. He started the blog Two Bad Tourists with his husband David during the adventure, and after traveling for a year, he moved to Spain, which he now calls home. When he’s not traveling or writing about events, festivals or LGBT destinations, he enjoys the warm and sunny days and vibrant nightlife in Madrid. You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates on everything LGBT travel. You can learn more about marketing to the LGBT community in Auston’s professional development session at TBEX Europe 2015.

TBEX Europe 2015 Opening Night: It’s a Beach Party!

H.SantaMarta (3)

We’ll be kicking up our heels in the sand come opening night, as TBEX Europe 2015 launches in a splashy Catalan celebration.

Meet up at the Lloret de Mar Town Hall (map here) on Thursday, April 30th, 2015, for departures to Hotel Santa Marta on Santa Cristina beach. There are a couple of different ways to get to the beach, so make your best choice from the options below. Please note that these are departure times, so plan to arrive about a half hour early to board and get ready to go.

By Boat

  • 6:30 pm departure –  Travel by boat to Santa Cristina beach via a scenic sailing along the coastline. This longer itinerary allows for more time on the water for coastal sightseeing.
  • 7:00 pm departure – Direct sailing to Santa Cristina beach (sailing time approximately 15 minutes).
  • 7:30 pm departure – Same itinerary as at 7:15 pm.

There will be a number of boats making the trip, and can accommodate anyone wanting the scenic sailing or the direct transport. Please be on time.

By Bus

If you don’t want to travel to the party by boat, or if you’re arriving into Lloret de Mar a little bit later, there will also be a bus to take you to the party.

Meet up for the bus is also at the Lloret de Mar Town Hall for two departures, one a 7 pm and another at 9 pm depature for Santa Cristina beach.


You know that our friends in Costa Brava will have some wonderful suprises for us at the beach party. The theme in Indianos, and while we don’t want to give away too many of the surprises lined up, but you know there will be great food and drink, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some castellers.

The party will end between 11:30 pm and midnight, with bus transportation back to the center of Lloret de Mar.

The TBEX Europe 2015 Opening Night Party is open to all registered attendees. It’s a badged event. If you register on site earlier, please wear your badge. We will have registration available at the meeting place for those who haven’t picked up their registration.

To help with planning, we ask that you RSVP here.

Special notes:  We recommend you bring a jacket or sweater as it may get chilly at night. Beach and sand appropriate shoes are recommended. Back up plans have been made in case of inclement weather.

Twitter Contest from TBEX Europe 2015 Sponsor Renfe-SNCF

TBEX Europe 2015 sponsor Renfe-SNCF wants you to  experience a little more European culture and hospitality. And to help you do it, they’re holding a Twitter contest. Winners – 20 of them in all – receive a First Class round trip ticket to any of the destinations that have Renfe- SNCF en Coopération (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Valence, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Nîmes, Montpellier, Sète, Agde, Béziers, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Perpignan, Figueres, Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Zaragoza and Madrid).  ​

Here’s how to enter and win:

Between April 16-19, 2015, answer a question by submitting an answer on Twitter and including the Renfe_SNCF​ ​Twitter account and using the hashtag #TBEXRenfeSncf on your tweet.

Here’s the question:

How many cities between France and Spain are connected through Renfe-SNCF en Coopération high speed trains ?

The 20 winners will be notified via a twitter mention in each of their profiles. The winners will then have 3 working days to confirm their acceptance of the prize – one round-trip journey in First Class to any destination operated by the international trains of Renfe-SNCF en Coopération. The ticked is valid for use for up to on year. You must be registered for TBEX Europe 2015 to be eligible to win.

You can view the full terms and conditions to the contest here.  Information about the contents and the terms and conditions are also available in French and Spanish.

Go do you research and enter to win!

Context Travel Launches TBEX Contest

Deep Travel is about going farther, asking better questions, and opening your eyes to the nuance and detail of place.  At Context we believe that deeper travels enhance our cherished global citizenship.

context travel


We’ll be at all three TBEX events in 2015: Europe, Asia, and North America, and as part of our sponsorship participation, we’re running a blogger contest with some exciting rewards. To kick things off, our first competition is linked to TBEX Europe, which takes place in Lloret De Mar on April 29 to May 2. (Check out our PRE- and POST-BEX selection of walks in Barcelona).

What’s involved?

All you need to do is submit a blog post, written by you and published on your own blog, on the topic of Encounters that enriched your travel experience.” 

It could have been a fleeting moment of insight into a new culture you didn’t expect, or days spent finding a new side of yourself within someone else’s definition of a comfort zone.  Or, maybe it was the time that you found that perfect source, the local expert who made the place come alive in new, unexpected ways.

The blog post need not be freshly written for this contest; if you have something relevant in your archive, feel free to enter with that. As long as it has not been published elsewhere other than your own blog, we’ll accept it as a valid submission.

Winners will be judged by our panel of Deep Travelers, including selected members of our staff and docents, as well as sustainable tourism expert Richard Edwards and Audrey Scott of Uncornered Market. Our judges are looking for blog posts that tell a compelling story, feature a unique idea, take an original angle, and express depth of experience.

Once you’ve published your article on your blog, share it on Twitter, tag us @contexttravel and include the hashtag #TBEXContext, or simply submit your article via our Facebook entry form.

What you’ll win

We’ll select two winners and announce them during TBEX. As a winner, you’ll be named a Deep Traveler, receive an Unlimited Context Pass for one year (free spaces on any confirmed group walks in any city where we operate), plus a Travel Blogger Comfort Kit that includes $500 worth of handy, portable travel accessories, including:

  • Handpresso kit
  • Memory foam pillow
  • Steripen Adventurer
  • Olloclip
  • Artisan business card holder, Made in Florence
  • Mobile power pack
  • Rucksack

Author Bio:  Context is a network of Ph.D-level scholars and other experts living in cultural capitals around the world who are passionate teachers and guide visitors on an experiential journey of these amazing cities. We operate in 25 cities around the world and offer more than 500 tours in Europe, Asia, North and South America. 

Announcing Opening Keynote for TBEX Europe 2015

opening keynote Spain

We’re very excited to announce our opening keynote for TBEX Europe 2015:  An interview with José Borralho and Nelson Carvalheiro conducted by Gary Bembridge.  The keynote will feature a discussion about the importance of culinary culture and the role it can play it tourism and its promotion.

José Borralho co-founded the Public Relations firm Documents & Events in 1993, today known today as Weber Shandwick | D&E (Interpublic Group), where he was the Manager in charge for the Marketing and Customers Strategy. In 1994 he was a Marketing Strategy Politician Consultant in the first free Elections in Mozambique, and he has coordinated the transformation process of Renamo (from a guerrilla movement into a political party). He served five years as the head of Weber Shandwick | D&E, where he directed several marketing campaigns of major national importance and then went on to launch the Tryp Network, with offices in Lisbon, Madrid, Milan and London, followed by the launch of the French project “Saveur de L’Année”, which would then lead to the release of the project “Restaurant Week” in Portugal and Spain. In 2011 José  opened his own Consultancy Firm, Brandstory Ltd., and in 2012 co-founded APTECE – Portuguese Association for Culinary Tourism and Economy to create a programme to promote culinary tourism for Portugal.

Nelson Carvalheiro grew up with his grandparents in a small farming village of central Portugal and soon learned to value the “Portuguese Gastronomical heritage.” After blogging only six months, Nelson was names FITUR’s European Travel Blogger for 2014, and the following years was names World FITUR Travel Blogger. He writes in English, showcasing Portugal as his identity and a brand which he takes with him wherever he travels, and is a firm believer in cultural identity through gastronomy. He constantly seeks little and intimate details, as he believes they are a destination’s culture in its raw state.

Gary Bembridge founded Tips for Travellers in 2005 to provide inspiration, advice, tips and tricks on finding and having luxurious travel experiences on both land and at sea. Draws on first-hand experiences of travelling every month of every year for over 25 years. Now focused full time on Tips For Travellers after a career in Global Marketing. The YouTube Channel has 27 million views (1,2 million/ year), the podcast over 700,000 downloads (180,000/year) and site 170,000 visitors a year.

Family Friendly Blogger Trip Added

SA CALETA 2 Lloret de Mar (Costa Brava)

We know that the TBEX community includes nomadic families as well as travel bloggers who travel with their families. Although the professional development and networking part of TBEX is structured for adults (see our children at TBEX policy here), we also know that many attendees would like to include their family in part of the larger TBEX experience.

If you are traveling with your family to TBEX and want to enjoy a FAM/Blogger trip, we are announcing a new Family Travel Blogger Trip that is now available for application. The trip will depart from Lloret de Mar on Tuesday, May 4th and end in Girona on Thursday, May 7th. The trp will be run as a typical press trip, but at a slower pace and focused on family friendly activities. The trip is suitable for kids of all ages; you can view a full itinerary of the trip here.

When filling out your application for this trip, please indicate in the comment section how many participants are in your family.

Today we are also re-opening all remaining FAM/Blogger trips for additional applications. You can find the list here. Although some trips are full, you’ll still find a great variety available. We’ll be processing the applications on a weekly basis until all the positions are filled, so get your application in today.

Remember, you must be registered for TBEX Europe 2015 to be eligible to participate in these trips.

Please note:  If you applied for a FAM/Blogger trip and haven’t received an invitation, please email Mary Jo. If you applied for a trip, you should have received an invitation by now.

More info on the Blogger/FAM trips here.


Reservations Open for FREE Rooms After TBEX Europe 2015


Are you interested in extending your stay in Costa Brava after TBEX? Do you want to learn more about the rich history and culture of the area? Enjoy some of Costa Brava’s renowned food and beverages? Are these ideas crying out for a story that can be written and shared? Or maybe you just need some time to put your feet up, pour a glass of cava, and start planning how you’ll put some of those ideas from TBEX into action.

Our partners in Girona and Catalunya want to make it easy for you to stay on in Catalunya and have put together a list of close to 3,000 room nights at nearly 200 different properties, all offering complimentary room nights to every TBEX attendee. That includes industry attendees as well.

The reservations cover a variety of hotels, apartments, hostels, Bed and Breakfasts, inns, alberges, and campgrounds. Some are available for small groups and some are suitable for families. Each location is different, and each offers different amenities and availability. Some properties have availability for a week, others for just a day or two. The properties are located in cities and towns throughout region, and are available for check in on May 4th and check out on May 12th.

These reservations are offered first come, first served, so click on the link below to see what is available on your preferred dates and check out the options. You can search on our reservation site based on hotel name (alphabetical) and location. If you search by location, the map will show a number that corresponds to an accommodation that is available. Click on that accommodation for a further description of the property.

The descriptions were provided by the respective property and may not be sufficient for you to make a booking decision. We also do not have photos of the properties. We sugest spending some time researching the properties that most interest you to ensure a good match, something we know travel bloggers and travelers are well versed at. You may need to do multiple searches to find the best property for your preferences. Additional properties and room nights will be added as they become available. TBEX makes no representations as to the suitabiity of any of the properties, their star rating or amenities, or accuracy of description. Additional properties and room nights will be added as they become available.

Once you’ve selected a property, complete the reservation form specifying your arrival and departure date and the number of guests in the room.  You may book up to seven (7) free nights, and you may divide up your stay among multiple properties. Your reservation will be sent to TBEX and we will forward the information directly to the property. You must be registered to attend TBEX or your reservation may be cancelled without notice. While every effort has been made to ensure the booking site loads and responds properly, we do acknowledge that it is a lite version of a reservation program and not a full online travel agency booking platform.

This opportunity is open to every registered attendee on a first come, first served basis. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Book here!

You’re Invited: TBEX Meet Up in Bangkok


A few members of the TBEX team are heading out on a site visit to Thailand as part of our preparation for the inaugural TBEX Asia. We are very excited to be working with our hosts, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, to put together a wonderful TBEX Asia 2015.

While the TBEX team is busy working in Bangkok, 30 bloggers will be getting a preview of the rest of the country. Dividing up into small touring groups, this group of bloggers will get a little taste of what Thailand has to offer when we return in October. The bloggers represent diverse niches and readership, many visiting Asia for the first time, and will be coming to Thailand from North America, Europe, and Asia.

You can follow photos and highlights of our time in Thailand by following the hashtag #TBEX on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’ll be in Bangkok next week, there’s a way for you to join us as well. We’re having a casual meet up with local bloggers, a chance to get to know you and for you to get to know us. It’s casual, not structured, and we hope you’ll stop by for some great travel and travel blogging conversations.

When:  Monday, March 23, 2015

Where:  Lake and Park Restaurant at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (60 Ratchadaphisek Rd, map here)

Time:  2-4 pm (Feel free to join us for the entire time, or drop by according to your availability)

RSVP:  To help us prepare, we’d love to know if you’ll be joining us. Please RSVP here.

Eurail Promotion for TBEX Europe 2015

TBEX Eurail promotion

We’re very excited to have Eurail back as a sponsor for TBEX Europe 2015 in Lloret de Mar, and even more excited about the special promotion they are running for bloggers attending the event.

Eurail was launched in 1959, and since then has been helping travelers visit Europe, enjoying the sites and pace of travel that is only available by rail. The company offers a range of European rail passes based on the countries you want to visit and how many train travel days you need.

You can enjoy the Eurail experience first hand with a special TBEX Europe 2015 promotion. The promotion provides for a total of 50 rail passes for bloggers to be used for travel with their family or friends, giving you a chance to discover Europe by rail and generate editorial content for your blog. A choice of Eurail or InterRail passes is available.

  • The Eurail Global Pass gives you the freedom to discover up to 24 countries by train, including perennial favorites like France, Italy, and Spain. The pass is valid for 10 travel days within a two month period and has a value of $811 for adults. This pass is for non-European residents.
  • The InterRail Global Pass is valid for 22 consecutive days of travel and has a value of €760. This pass is for European residents.

Whether you have already experienced the fun of train travel, or have been eager to give it a try, you’ll want to check out the details of this special offer.

  • Passes will be awarded based on an application process. You can fill out the application here. Be sure to specify your address as it will be used to determine the appropriate type of pass for your travel.
  • There are a limited number of passes available for use immediately before and after TBEX, the rest of the passes can be used within one year after TBEX Europe 2015. Please indicate time frame you are applying for. Again, that’s pre-TBEX, post-TBEX, or some time later this year.
  • You can specify how many passes you are applying for, including for a traveling companion or your family (up to a maximum of four).
  • You will receive a booking form from Eurail that will be used to book your train travel. Requests for travel dates should be submitted as far in advance as possible; last minute requests for pass use may not be able to be filled.
  • Eurail will make determination on how distribution of passes shall occur and their decision is final.

Application for passes to be used immediately before and after TBEX will be processed as soon as received, with applicants notified as soon as possible. These passes are good for travel to and from Barcelona or Girona, along with such additional travel as allowed by the specific pass. You must be registered to attend TBEX to receive the pass.

All other passes (for use during 2015) will be awarded during TBEX Europe; you must be present to be awarded the passes.

Are you excited about train travel in Europe? Go apply for these passes today, and when you’re at TBEX be sure to stop by and thank our sponsor Eurail for their generosity.

The deadline to apply for these Eurail passes is April 20th, midnight Pacific Time.