IGLTA Foundation Partners with PATA for Conference Scholarship

LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) communities are a reality that many Asian officials try to ignore. PATA has long been supportive of LGBT promotion in tourism as it represents a potential tourism market for many countries. Its collaboration with IGLTA Foundation (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) will take a Nepalese tourism student to the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s Annual Global Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida…

The IGLTA foundation has partnered with PATA to provide a unique opportunity for Nepalese tourism student Bishrut Raj Pokhrel to attend the coming IGLTA in St Petersburg, Florida from May 4 to 6. The conference is considered to be the premier educational and networking event for the global LGBT tourism industry.

“IGLTA’s Building Bridges Scholarship programme 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 with a firm focus upon promoting LGBT tourism,” said Gary Murakami, CMP, CMM, Chairman – IGLTA Foundation Board of Directors. “We value our strategic partnership with a leading organisation on travel and tourism such as PATA and we appreciate its support to the IGLTA Foundation.”

Bishrut Raj 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 conference registration to the event.

“Being able to attend the IGLTA annual global conference and learn about LGBT 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,” said Pokhrel. “Coming from a developing country, where society is largely conservative, people need to be made aware about the issue of LGBT tourism. The convention will give me a broader vision in understanding this aspect of tourism and how I can help LGBT tourism develop in my country.”

This is the fifth year the IGLTA Foundation has offered its Building Bridges Scholarship Programme to tourism students and small business owners, but it is the first time the non-profit has collaborated with another organisation 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 the Association 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 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 Programme was created to support the next generation of LGBT travel professionals (and allies). Scholarship recipients participate in the entire IGLTA convention programme, 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.