BANGKOK (30 March 2017)—The IGLTA Foundation has partnered with the Pacific Asia Travel Association to provide a unique opportunity for a tourism student from Nepal to participate in the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s 34th Annual Global Convention, set for 4-6 May in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bishrut Raj Pokhrel was selected to attend the conference, which is considered the premier educational and networking event for the global LGBTQ+ tourism industry.

“IGLTA’s Building Bridges Scholarship Program is a cornerstone initiative of the Foundation’s work, as we look to developing passionate and deserving individuals who will be tomorrow’s hospitality leaders focused on promoting LGBTQ+ tourism,” said Gary Murakami, CMP, CMM, Chair, IGLTA Foundation Board of Directors. “We value our strategic partnership with a leading organization in travel and tourism like PATA and appreciate its support of the IGLTA Foundation.”

Pokhrel is working on his bachelor’s degree in international hospitality and tourism at Silver Mountain School of Hotel Management (affiliated with Queen Margaret University) in Kathmandu, Nepal. The conference scholarship provides an all-expenses-paid trip and convention registration for the event.

“Being able to attend the IGLTA annual global conference and learn about LGBTQ+ tourism through first-hand experience is a wonderful opportunity for a student like me who is aspiring to lead in the hospitality and tourism industry in the future,” said Pokhrel. “Coming from a developing country where the society is largely conservative, people need to be made aware about the issue of LGBTQ+ tourism. The convention will give me a broader vision in understanding this aspect of tourism and how I can help LGBTQ+ tourism develop in my country.”

This is the fifth year the IGLTA Foundation has offered its Building Bridges Scholarship Program to tourism students and small business owners, but the first time the nonprofit has collaborated with another organization on the project. IGLTA and PATA formed a partnership in 2015 and the application process for this joint sponsorship was open to students attending educational institutions that are PATA International members.

“As PATA focuses upon the development of young tourism professionals within the region the scholarship provides the perfect opportunity for Bishrut Raj Pokhrel to broaden his horizons and gain a deeper understanding of gay and lesbian tourism, which is a significant segment of the global tourism market,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “Our partnership with the IGLTA is a perfect example of a partnership that works to establish bridges for people of goodwill from all countries and create deeper understanding and empathy across borders.”

The IGLTA Foundation Building Bridges Scholarship Program was created to support the next generation of LGBTQ+ travel professionals (and allies). Scholarship recipients participate in the entire IGLTA convention program, ensuring they will have the opportunity to network with travel industry leaders from around the world, receive mentorship from professionals in their areas of interest and attend educational sessions.

For a high-res photo of Pokhrel, please email

About IGLTA & the IGLTA Foundation

IGLTA, the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association is the leading member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism and a proud Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. IGLTA’s mission is to provide information and resources for LGBT travelers and expand LGBT tourism globally by demonstrating its significant social and economic impact. The association’s membership includes LGBT and LGBT-friendly accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events and travel media in 70 countries In 2012, the philanthropic IGLTA Foundation was launched to support the mission of the association and its membership through education, research and leadership development. For more information, please visit or and follow us on social media @IGLTA or the IGLTA Foundation Facebook page.

About PATA

Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 101 government, state and city tourism bodies, 26 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 70 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 40 local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry training and business development events. Their grassroots activism underpins PATA’s membership of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC), which includes ACICLIAIATAICAOWEFUNWTO and the WTTC. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members' desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA's Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing, Sydney and London. Visit