Tampa Bay is forging ahead with a new marketing initiative to show they are welcoming to the LGBT population. Fort Lauderdale on the other coast has been a leader in attracting this demographic, as has Miami. Now Tampa Bay is throwing out the welcome mat to showcase their eclectic nightlife, TAG-approved hotels, LGBTQ-friendly businesses and multiple events celebrating the gay and lesbian community. As well, their official tourism organization, Visit Tampa Bay, is producting it’s first-ever LGBTQ visitor’s guide, Visit Tampa Gay.

The visitor’s guide will be distributed at gay Pride events across the nation, including Visit Tampa Bay’s extensive roster of national and international tourism trade shows.

“We pride ourselves in being an inclusive destination that welcomes all visitors despite colour, sexual orientation or religious beliefs,” says Santiago C. Corrada, President/CEO of Visit Tampa Bay.

Looking ahead into 2019, Tampa Bay is thrilled to be hosting the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce convention at the Tampa Convention Center. Ashley Brundage, former president of the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce and chair of the local organizing committee, will close out this year’s conference in Philadelphia and officially welcome everyone to Tampa in 2019.

“It’s exciting to be able to share our inclusive city with all of the conference attendees. This is the premier event for LGBTQ business owners and the major companies that support quality and diversity,” says Brundage.

This year, Bay-area celebrations paint the town in colour for locals and visitors alike with kickoff parties, street festivals and special events:

NEW! Tampa Pride Kickoff Party at The Florida Aquarium

Friday, March, 23 from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Florida Aquarium is hosting its first Tampa Pride Kickoff Party. The event will be held Friday, March 23, 2018 from 6-9 p.m. and features an open bar, live entertainment, Aquarium access from 6-7 p.m., and the opportunity to come face-to-face with our resident penguins. will support The Florida Aquarium’s mission to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship of the natural environment.

Tampa Pride Street Festival

Friday, March 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Newly expanded in 2018, the Tampa Pride Street Festival will feature an arts and crafts area, a community health fair, an auto show and family-friendly section. This year, vendors will be located on 9th Avenue and at the HCC parking lot continuing along 8th Avenue.

Tampa Pride Diversity Parade

Friday, March 24 from noon to 3 p.m.

Entertainment, music, food, bright flags and pride collide at the Tampa Pride Parade in Ybor City. Celebrate Tampa Pride with a parade down 7th Avenue in Ybor City featuring decked-out floats, marching bands and thousands of free-for-all beads. A special ceremony will be held at noon and the main parade will begin at 1 p.m.

Tampa Pride VIP Watch Party

Friday, March 24 from 12 to 4 p.m.

Join the Gaybor and the Diversity Chamber at the Italian Club for  the Tampa Pride VIP Watch Party. Guests will enjoy an open bar, appetizers and access to the Club’s balcony overlooking the parade route on the iconic Seventh Avenue.

Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce April Social

Join the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce and the GaYbor Coalition for their April social at the newly flagged Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas. Enjoy complimentary appetizers and beverages during the first hour of the event. A cash bar will be available thereafter.

Pride & Passion at Tampa Bay Museum of Art

Saturday, April 14 from 8 p.m. to midnight

Celebrate in color with the 13th annual Pride & Passion event this year at the Tampa Bay Museum of Art. Join over 800 friends for a dazzling night of art, entertainment, and food and drinks from participating restaurants including Anise Global Gastrobar, Ella’s Americana  Folk Art Café, Bake ‘n Babes, Mini Doughnut Factory and many more. Proceeds from the event support the Museum’s educational programs and help bring new and unique exhibitions to Tampa.

Surf on over to Visit Tampa Bay for more information.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.