The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Foundation has announced the names of the five recipients of the third annual Building Bridges Scholarships.
THE 2015 winners, from China (2), Colombia, Jamaica and Japan, will each receive an all-expenses-paid trip and conference registration for the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association’s Annual Global Convention in Los Angeles, April 8-11.
The scholarship program was created to support the next generation of LGBT travel professionals and allies. This year, scholarships went to three students and two small business owners.
“We’re thrilled about this diverse group of well-deserving scholarship recipients,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella. “This is the first time we’ve had Asia represented in the programme, and the two small business owners we selected are developing tours for Bucaramanga (Colombia) and Jamaica, reinforcing our commitment to assist LGBT businesses in emerging destinations or places with governmental challenges. We hope the conference experience will help lead them to bright futures in our industry.”
This year’s Building Bridges Scholarship recipients are:
- Kan Kikumoto: Kan is a student at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. He hopes to lead LGBT tours in Japan, his home country, when he completes his studies.
- Wang Hao: known as Charlie, Wang Hao was born and raised in China where he took an internship at the Beijing LGBT Centre. He is now an economics student at the University of Tokyo and is pursuing interests in LGBT tourism and marketing.
- Ena Yanagi: Ena studies tourism and gender and LGBT issues at Meiji Gakuin University in her home city of Yokohama, Japan. She wants to become a travel agent.
- Olubode Shawn Brown: Olubode founded BLOOM Jamaica in 2010 to safely take gay and lesbian travellers to his home country for an annual party in Negril. This year he is launching BLOOM Escapes, to offer small, customized tours to Jamaica with an insider’s LGBT perspective.
- Fabio Rugeles: Fabio owns a small business called Cibum S.A.S. which is developing a gastronomy tour route to showcase his home city of Bucaramanga, Colombia, to LGBT travellers.
The International Gay and Lesbian 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. The association’s membership includes LGBT and LGBT-friendly accommodations, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events and travel media in 80 countries.
In 2012, the philanthropic IGLTA Foundation was launched to support the mission of the association and its membership through scholarships, marketing assistance in emerging destinations, and research.
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