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The Leading Global Resource in the LGBT Tourism Industry.

IGLTA Global Staff

Board of Directors

Our board represents leaders in the gay and lesbian tourism industry and come from all over the world. If you are interested in how our board operates or want more information about becoming a board member, please e-mail iglta@iglta.org.

Click here to review the Board of Directors meeting notes.

Click here to review the IGLTA ByLaws.


  • Dan Melesurgo, Chair
  • Dan Melesurgo

    American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)

    Email: dmelesurgo@iglta.org

    Dan Melesurgo is the Vice President, Strategic Partnerships for ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership.  As part of the leadership team, he is responsible for the management and strategic direction of the Alliance Partnership Program.  This program was created to provide the industry partner community with opportunities to align itself with ASAE through customized marketing platforms.  These comprehensive bundled packages are designed to assist industry partners in building and maintaining year round relationships with our 20,000 plus members in 50 countries.

    He also works closely with the Global Development Team at ASAE as the organization seeks to be the leader in developing/tailoring and delivering products and services to different markets around the world.

    Prior to joining ASAE, Mr. Melesurgo was the founder and principal of Plural Solutions, which provided marketing solutions to destination marketing organizations and the association community.  He has also held executive leadership positions with the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.  Earlier in his career he was part of the opening team at the Hotel InterContinental Los Angeles and held senior positions with Sheraton and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

    Mr. Melesurgo currently sits on the board of directors for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and is part of the executive committee currently serving as chair.  As an active member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), he has served in a variety of committee leadership and task force capacities.

  • Marta Dalla Chiesa, Vice Chair
  • Marta Dalla Chiesa

    Brazil Ecojourneys

    Email: mdallachiesa@iglta.org

    Born in the mountains of South Brazil, Marta moved to London in 1990’s to continue her graduate studies. After obtaining a PhD in Molecular Biology, she worked for a few years in Science before moving into tourism working for a top tour operator in the UK. Returning to Brazil in 2003, she started, with her English partner, the first lesbian-owned tour operator in Brazil, Brazil Ecojourneys.

    Her involvement with LGBT travel started as the International Relations Director of the Brazilian Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (ABRAT GLS) in 2008. Currently she is President of ABRAT GLS and vice-chair of the Board of IGLTA.

  • Ed Salvato, Treasurer
  • Ed Salvato

    Editor in Chief, ManAboutWorld magazine

    Email: esalvato@iglta.org

    Ed Salvato is editor in chief of ManAboutWorld, the first gay travel magazine designed for iPad only. It is #1 in gay travel in the App Store and #66 among 11,000 travel apps, ahead of National Geographic. Known as a “global LGBT travel expert,” Ed Salvato has spent the last 14 years in the world of LGBT travel and tourism on just about every angle you can imagine: editorial, marketing, communications, product development, sponsorships, events and more. He is widely regarded both for his consumer advocacy and industry leadership. But he is proudest of his work as editor-in-chief for a dozen years of the world’s most authoritative gay travel magazines and websites, including OUT&ABOUT, Out Traveler, PlanetOut Travel, Advocate Travel, Gay.com Travel and now ManAboutWorld.


    To the surprise of many who only know him as a writer (and who watch him use his calculator app for the most basic math), Ed graduated from Harvard College with a degree in mathematics and economics and received his MBA from Northeastern University in marketing research. He’s visited 50 countries on 6 continents and laid his head in more beds than you can possibly imagine.

  • Gail Swift, Secretary
  • Gail Swift

    Hilton Worldwide

    Email: gswift@iglta.org

    Director of Association Sales, focusing on the LGBT market for Hilton Worldwide.Active in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, Gail began her career at the Boca Raton Hotel & Club in Florida, relocated to Washington DC where she was director of sales at several area hotels before moving into a worldwide sales role in 1989.   She is originally from Portsmouth New Hampshire and attended the University of New Hampshire.In addition to being on the IGLTA Board and Secretary of IGLTA, she is a member of the Professional Convention Management Association.

  • Tanya Churchmuch, Past Chair
  • Tanya Churchmuch

    Girlports.com / Tourisme Montréal

    Email: tchurchmuch@iglta.org

    Tanya Churchmuch is Tourisme Montreal's Assistant Director of Media and Leisure Markets and oversees their LGBT outreach. She was also the founder of the lesbian travel website www.girlports.com. In 2009 Tanya was elected to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Board of Directors and served as Chair of the IGLTA Board from May 2010- May 2013, and currently serves as Past Chair. An expert in lesbian travel, she has spoken on the subject at numerous travel industry conferences around the world and written travel articles for many LGBT publications. Prior to working in the LGBT travel and media world, Tanya was a television journalist and news anchor in Montreal, including 9 years at Global Television. She is also a former Board member of Reporters Without Borders International, based in Paris, and Past President of Reporters Without Borders Canada.

  • Rika Jean Francois, Board Member
  • Rika Jean Francois

    ITB Berlin

    Email: rjeanfrancois@iglta.org

    Rika Jean-François, holding a Master Degree in Social Anthropology and Iranian Studies with an expertise on ethnic identities, sustainable development and diversity issues has been actively engaged in tourism since her early days when she had been working as a historical guide and coordinator with an incoming agent in Greece. Later, she worked at the Free University of Berlin consulting foreign students, undertook herself field trips to Iran, Malawi and the Caribbean and engaged herself in quality management in the German Development Service. Working for ITB Berlin since 2004 she started building up the fair’s Corporate Social Identity and quickly became involved in responsible tourism, coordinating, planning and speaking at sustainable tourism events internationally.

    Putting an emphasis on diversity, she proactively helped developing the LGBT travel segment at ITB and since two years serves on the Board of Directors of the IGLTA (International Gay&Lesbian Travel Association). She is responsible for South Asia and the Pacific region and also takes care of partnerships and product development in India.

  • Tom Jenkins, Board Member
  • Tom Jenkins

    European Tour Operator Association (ETOA)

    Email: tjenkins@iglta.org

    Tom Jenkins is the Executive Director of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), which represents tour operators and their suppliers at European level. It promotes greater awareness of the benefits provided by the group travel industry and influences European tourism policy and legislation.

    Under Tom’s stewardship, ETOA’s scope of activities have broadened considerably, close relationships have been built with numerous legislators and other trade bodies and membership has more than doubled to the point where the Association now represents the interest of 8 million inbound tourists.

    He has been responsible for championing tourist access to historic cities, for initiating a Europe-wide coach safety code and for leading a campaign that successfully blocked changes to EU VAT legislation that would have jeopardised 5,000 tourism jobs in Europe.

    Tom is a ‘Tourism Expert’, often called upon by a variety of media including GM TV, BBC TV, CNN, CNBC & Radios 4 & 5.
    Before taking the reins at ETOA, Tom held a number of management positions at American Express, ultimately being responsible for all aspects of the company’s inbound leisure travel for scheduled tours, independent vacations and customised itineraries. There, he launched a fully integrated computerised booking system, he developed the first interactive CD-Rom brochure and he managed a corps of 350 tour managers operating throughout Europe.

    Prior to joining American Express, Tom was a Director of Equinox Travel and before that he spent 5 years as a tour manager working for American Express and Thomas Cook.

    Tom graduated from Bristol University with a BA in English & History. Following this, he embarked on two years post-graduate research at London University’s Courtauld Institute. He is married with two children.

  • Juan Julia, Board Member
  • Juan Julia 2013

    Axel Hotels

    Email: jjulia@iglta.org

    Juan P. Juliá Blanch, President of Axel Hotels, studied in ESADE (one of the 20th best world business universities according to the Financial Times) and started his professional career focusing in marketing working for 3 years in Sanyo (Japanese Consumer Electronics Co). Later on Mr. Julia worked for a multinational Spanish Toursim Co (Barceló). In March of 2001 he started in the gay & lesbian marketplace when he founded Axel Hotel Barcelona: It all started with a dream…. “to open a hotel for the gay community, my community. A cosmopolitan and tolerant space where atmosphere, diversity and respect are valued”.

  • Michael McDowell, Board Member
  • Michael Mc Dowell

    Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

    Email: mmcdowell@iglta.org

    Michael McDowell is Vice President for Arts & Culture and Affinity Markets for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. There, McDowell promotes LA as a premier cultural and LGBT destination to international and domestic travelers and travel-industry professionals. Tourism is LA’s largest industry, with some 42 million visitors spending $17 billion in the local economy each year.

    Previously, McDowell held leadership positions at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and the University of Southern California as well as progressively responsible positions in higher education, the arts, government and publishing in Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

    As a consultant, McDowell has advised such clients as Bank of Boston, Bank of Maryland, The Japan Society, The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, Loyola Marymount University, The Massachusetts Historical Commission, Northeastern University, UCLA, Virginia Tech and faculty members at Harvard University and MIT, among others.

    His articles and opinion pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, The Chronicle of Higher Education and in many other publications nationwide.

    As a volunteer, McDowell is President of the Travel & Tourism Marketing Association of Southern California and is a member of the Board of Directors of the national Cultural & Heritage Tourism Alliance, the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles and the Greater Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  He also is former Chairman of the Board of Governors of LA Stage Alliance, the region’s largest and oldest performing arts service organization, where he served for nearly a decade.

  • Andy Mosetti, Board Member
  • AndyM

    NEXTSKY

    Email: amosetti@iglta.org

    Born and raised in Zürich, Switzerland of Swiss and Italian descent, Andy Mosetti worked initially in banking before entering the travel industry more than 20 years ago. He began with Northwest Airlines while still working as a radio host/editor and DJ at one of the largest private, independent radio stations in Switzerland and serving as an executive and counselor in the gay youth group Spot 25 in Zurich. After having lead Worldspan, the computer reservation system of Delta, Northwest Airlines and TWA in Switzerland for almost 10 years as Country Manager, he founded NEXTSKY (Switzerland) Ltd., a Commercial Travel Agency and IT Consulting Company with which he joined IGLTA in 2010.

  • Chris Stanley, Board Member
  • Chris Stanley

    Silversea

    Email: cstanley@iglta.org

    Chris Stanley is a 15-year veteran of the cruise industry, and joined Silversea in 1993. He is a part of a seven-member worldwide team of professionals responsible for working with charter clients and corporate and incentive groups to plan and develop customized events, activities and meeting programs aboard the line’s award-winning ultra-luxury ships. Silversea Cruises, which is chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, is recognized as an innovator in the luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels.

    He is among a select group of professionals who passed the CMP. The Certified Meeting Professional requirements to be considered are based on years of professional experiences and academic examination. The Convention Industry Council grants the CMP accreditations.

    After becoming a member of SITE, he continued his journey by joining (MPI) Meeting Professionals International. This gave Stanley an opportunity to assist meeting and event planners that serve a critical role in the success of business, and are committed to giving its members the very best in professional development, business opportunities and a vibrant industry community.

  • John Tanzella, Ex Officio Board Member
  • John Tanzella

    IGLTA

    Email: john.tanzella@iglta.org

     

    John Tanzella is the President/CEO of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. Founded in 1983 with 25 members, IGLTA has grown into the leading global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism. Since his arrival in 2005, IGLTA membership has increased to more than 75 countries. Prior to joining IGLTA, Tanzella has worked for Delta Air Lines, the Washington D.C. Convention Bureau, and the Human Rights Campaign. He was born in Massachusetts, attended the University of Georgia, lived for three years in Italy and now resides in South Florida.

     

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