The IGLTA Foundation Fellowship Program
By offering fellowships, the IGLTA Foundation empowers LGBTQ+ individuals to pursue their dreams and build successful careers in the travel, tourism & hospitality industry. Not only do these programs provide financial support, professional development, and industry experience, but they also contribute to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field.
Recipients will have the opportunity to attend the IGLTA Global Convention and other industry events, and gain valuable experience, network with industry leaders, and make meaningful connections that can last a lifetime.
The IGLTA Foundation's fellowships aim to help LGBTQ+ individuals achieve their professional goals and contribute to the growth of the travel and tourism industry. To apply for these life-changing programs, please see the open applications below.
David Martin Small Business Fellowship
Recipients of our David Martin Small Business Fellowships will receive financial support for convention registration fees and travel expenses. In addition to attending the convention, they will also have the opportunity to network with travel industry leaders from around the world and attend educational sessions on a wide range of topics related to the LGBTQ+ tourism industry.
Building Bridges Fellowship
Our Building Bridges Fellowships are awarded to tourism and hospitality students in the host city, providing them with funding for convention registration fees and travel expenses. This enables them to attend the convention, gain valuable insights into the LGBTQ+ tourism industry, and connect with potential employers and mentors.
An additional Building Bridges Fellowship is presented in collaboration with the Pacific Asia Travel Association and is open to members of PATA's young professionals network.
Our commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ tourism businesses extends beyond the duration of our Fellowship Programs. To measure our program's success and identify areas for improvement, we have implemented a post-fellowship follow-up program. Through this effort, we aim to continuously enhance our support to our Fellowship Program recipients and make a lasting impact on the LGBTQ+ tourism industry worldwide.
Our opportunities are made possible through the support of partners, IGLTA members, and individual donors. Empower the next generation of LGBTQ+ travel and tourism leaders with a donation that provides financial support, professional development, and industry experience. Help us create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry for all. Donate now and make an impact on the future of travel and tourism.
We are thrilled to bring our Fellowship Program to Africa for the very first time. The IGLTA Foundation is committed to providing mentorship to LGBTQ+ small business leaders on the continent, to advance LGBTQ+ tourism development where infrastructure is not yet established.
Through our Fellowship Program, one (1) selected LGBTQ+ small business leader from Africa will receive travel expenses and mentorship to attend Equal Africa, powered by the IGLTA Foundation. This is a unique opportunity for African business leaders to network with travel industry leaders from across the world during WTM Africa, participate in a one-day educational symposium on LGBTQ+ tourism, and gain valuable insights and experiences in the industry.
We are proud to be supporting the LGBTQ+ community in Africa, and we are confident that our Fellowship Program will make a meaningful difference. The recipient of our Fellowship will have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and gain exposure to the international travel industry, ultimately contributing to the development of LGBTQ+ tourism in their region.
Who should apply?
- LGBTQ+ business owners, managers, and travel professionals with a focus on LGBTQ+ tourism or DEI
- Small business leaders interested in the LGBTQ+ travel industry
- Queer entrepreneurs developing inclusive tourism products and services, inbound or outbound Africa
David Martin Small Business Fellowship Recipients
Aisha Shaibu | Founder, Moonlight Experiences
Aisha Shaibu is a prominent queer activist, cultural producer, and one of the 'Top 100 LGBTQ+ trailblazers' changing the world. She is the founder of Moonlight Experiences: an award-winning platform dedicated to the celebration of queer culture through travel and experiences. Moonlight Experiences exists to tackle the lack of diversity in the travel industry by harnessing the economic power of tourism & nightlife to uplift queer women, non-binary, and Black/POC members. Aisha's passion for travel as part of @thequeernomads with her wife and her activism are intertwined, she is also the Head of Community Engagement at UK Black Pride and a trustee for GiveOut. Aisha truly believes in breaking down intersectional barriers and advocating for avid travelers to do better to create change that is impactful and sustainable so that our community globally can thrive.
Danny Guerrero | Founder, The Culturist Group
The Culturist Group is a 100% minority-owned travel marketing company and the vision of Danny Guerrero, an award-winning 20+ year travel and tourism marketing expert and thought leader for multiculturalism and diversity in travel. CULTURIST as a concept and consultancy practice bridges emerging cultural values and the needs of diverse consumers to travel brands via marketing and communications strategies to help the industry become more prosperous, and inclusive. Danny is an Advisory Board Member with the Black Travel Alliance and Travel Unity and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences where he advocates for underrepresented travelers and illuminates how shifting demographics, travel sentiment, and culture represents opportunities for the travel industry. Danny was the recipient of the ‘Outstanding Contribution Award’ granted by the World Travel and Tourism Council for his work advancing diversity and equity in the industry in 2021, and the Chairman’s Award granted by the National Association of Black Meeting Professionals. Danny is a 2024 Executive MBA candidate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He resides in Los Angeles with his husband Jaime and their dog Louie.
Mariana Radisic Koliren | Founder, Lunfarda Travel
Mariana is an activist by birth and an experience designer by trade. After a life-affirming experience visiting Israel with an amazing tour guide, she decided to set aside her studies in advertising and contemporary arts to become a full time tour guide and create lifelong memories for people visiting Buenos Aires, her hometown. Soon enough she realized the industry was dominated by a handful of people perpetuating problematic narratives about her country, and they wouldn't bring about the change she wanted to see in the industry. Wanting to bring more diversity in the industry and in the storytelling to the table, Mariana founded in 2019 the first self-described intersectional travel agency: Lunfarda Travel. In Lunfarda, Mariana designs alongside her community experiences showcasing the multiculturality of Argentina with a mission of diversifying the industry as well. From the first Black History tour in Argentina, to a line of tours for children to an LGBT+ tour that supports gender non-conforming students, Mariana is set to challenge the traditional ways of conducting tourism through deep knowledge, community ties and radical empathy.
In addition to our David Martin Small Business Fellowships, the IGLTA Foundation also welcomed students from Bocconi University.
Donnya Zi Piggott | CEO and Co-Founder, Pink Coconuts
Donnya (also Zi) is the CEO and Co-Founder of Pink Coconuts - a new LGBTQ+ travel startup focused on creating spaces for queer travellers to thrive. Zi was given the prestigious Queen's Young Leader Award by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for their work as an LGBTQ Caribbean Advocate and the co-founder of B-GLAD, an LGBTQ organisation focussed on advancing the social, political and economic environment for LGBTQ people to live, work and play. Zi has spoken at forums like TEDx Bridgetown, Heineken's National Conference, UK Black Pride, One Young World, Human Rights Campaign, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta & London, The Economist in New York, International Gay and Lesbian Association Conference in New Zealand. In 2017 Zi became a Watson University Scholar focused on Social Entrepreneurship in Boulder, Colorado. In 2019, Zi was named the winner of the Sustainable Development Goal 10 Challenge by One Young World - a world wide organization and competition which saw thousands of entries from all around the world. Zi received the award at the annual conference in London that year. Zi now lives and works between Bridgetown, Nairobi and Los Angeles with her partner and Co-Founder Thogori Karago.
Our 2019 David Martin Small Business Scholarship recipients are Lipian Mtandabari of Ntsako Travel Africa, from Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, Michael Venturiello, Christopher Street Tours, from New York City and Shoichi Yamaguchi of Elly, from Ise-City, Japan.
An additional Building Bridges Scholarship is presented in collaboration with the Pacific Asia Travel Association and our 2019 recipient from Nepal is: Kim Parina Thakuri.
Our 2019 recipients from New York University Tisch Center of Hospitality are:
Gianpaolo Russo, Guillaume Pros and Sergio Pimentel.
Pictured left to right: Thanakarn (Bella) Vongvisitsin, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Marco Briganti, Ryerson University; John Chervy Rosal, Centennial College; and Nicholas Tremblay, Ryerson University.
"It was the nicest convention that I have ever had. I made connections with a lot of people, made friends and learned a lot about what's really going on with respect to LGBTQ + tourism." - Thanakarn (Bella) Vongvisitsin, 2019 Building Bridges Scholarship recipient in collaboration with the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
Pictured left to right: Michael Gladwin, Edenvale, South Africa; Katherine Vielman, Hollywood, Florida; Khari Grant, Orlando, Florida; Junqi "Vincent" Weng, Zhejiang, China: John Sakakini, Washington, D.C.
IGLTA board member Rika Jean-Francois with Annual Global Convention scholarship recipients pictured left to right: Vidar Nilsen (Norway), Hlengiwe Buthelezi (South Africa) and students from The International Hotel School in Cape Town.
Pictured left To right: Kan Kikumoto (Japan), Ena Yanagi (Japan), Wang Hao (China), Olubode Shawn Brown (Jamaica), And Fabio Rugeles (Colombia).
IGLTA Foundation board member Gregg Kaminsky with Annual Global Convention fellowship recipients Robert Washington Jr. (US), Janice Tjon Sien Kie (Curacao), Marco Jaramillo (Colombia), Ryan Romero (US), and Murilo Lima Araujo Costa (Brazil).
Pictured left to right: Aaron Paiva Leyton (Peru), Kleber de Oliveira da Silva (Brazil), Kathy Eow (YS), Teddy Frank (Liberia), and Jermain Tjin-a-Koeng (Suriname) with former foundation Executive Director Travis Ferland.
About the IGLTA Foundation
The IGLTA Foundation empowers LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses globally through leadership, research and education. Founded in 2012, the foundation is the 501(c)3 public charity subsidiary of IGLTA and supports initiatives for industry organizations, leaders and communities to advance LGBTQ+ travel around the world.