Our panel of experts discuss how you can move beyond the basics to explore meaningful ways to be a true ally and to incorporate LGBTQ+ travellers effectively into the story you tell and reflect that story in your marketing.
Tanya Churchmuch is the founder of MuchPR, a New York-based PR agency focusing on travel, hospitality and LGBTQ markets. Tanya launched the company after working in-house for Tourisme Montreal in Canada for several years where she oversaw their global PR team and everything related to their LGBTQ PR and marketing efforts. With MuchPR she helps lead the LGBTQ efforts for a national tourism board and supports other DMOs and tour operators in their efforts to authentically and effectively connect with the community.
Tanya has a long history with the LGBTQ travel industry: she was the founder of the first lesbian travel website, Girlports; a longtime Board member of IGLTA, including three years as Board Chair and now an Executive Member of the IGLTA Foundation; and a lesbian brand ambassador for Out Adventures. In 2018, Tanya was awarded IGLTA’s Hanns Ebensten Hall of Fame Award for her years of work dedicated to awareness and visibility of the LGBTQ traveller in the travel industry.
MuchPR is a founding partner of The Change Agencies, the first network of independently owned PR and marketing agencies focusing on Black, Asian-American, Hispanic and LGBTQ communities. A recognized expert in the LGBTQ travel industry, Tanya has spoken on this topic at travel conferences around the world, including ITB, IGLTA, ASTA, Salão São Paulo de Turismo, Community Marketing, LGBT Week NYC, Women in Travel Summit and many more.
Tourism Specialist: ProColombia
Santiago is a professional in the tourism industry with close to four years of experience in destination promotion and tourism innovation. He has worked widely developing promotional strategies with travel operators and the hospitality sector. Santiago was in charge of developing and leading the LGBT travel strategy for ProColombia, helping the destination win several awards and recognition as a leading LGBT Destination in South America and is now in charge of travel promotion and marketing for ProColombia in Canada.
Lipian B Mtandabari
Ntsako Travel Africa
Due to Lipian Mtandabari’s strong passion for tourism and promoting equality through travel, he started Ntsako Travel Africa in 2018, an Exclusive Pan African LGBTQ+ travel company. The primary philosophy of Ntsako Travel Africa is to sell southern Africa as an emerging destination for LGBTQ+. In addition to promoting the destination, Ntsako Travel Africa is also involved in capacitating, developing and transitioning the service industry to embrace LGBTQ+ travel and become LGBTQ+ inclusive.
Lipian has a strong interest in wildlife and environment conservation. He currently sits on the boards of several conservation organisations in Zimbabwe, including one which he founded. He is an alumni and current mentor of the Tony Elumelu Foundation – Entrepreneurship Forum.
Lipian’s passion and innovation in the tourism and conservation field has been recognised by his African peers who adjudicated him as runner up in the 2018 Outstanding Entrepreneurship Category of the Pan African Africa Tourism Leadership Awards held in Accra, Ghana.
President/CEO of the International LGBTQ+
Travel Association (IGLTA)
IGLTA is a non-profit tourism association that is the global leader in advancing LGBTQ+ travel. IGLTA is headquartered in Florida, with additional staff located in Washington D.C., Madrid, São Paulo, Bogota, Paris, London and Cape Town. IGLTA’s network is made up of more than 5,000 tourism business professionals in approximately 80 countries. In marketing its tourism industry business members, IGLTA reached more than 4 million unique travelers in 2019.
The IGLTA Foundation was created five years ago as the philanthropic arm of the association, supporting the tourism industry with research, education and developing future LGBTQ+ tourism leaders. IGLTA is the only LGBTQ+ Affiliate Member of the The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
John also serves on the Board of Directors for the Stonewall National Museum & Archives (U.S). Born in Boston to Italian immigrant parents, he attended the University of Georgia and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Experientialist-in-Chief of OutThere
Uwern founded OutThere, a luxury and experiential travel magazine, 10 years ago. Over the last 10 years, OutThere has become the go-to source of luxury inspiration for LGBTQ+ people and their friends and allies, curating journey ideas that are of interest to its high-net-worth audience database, rooted in its pillars of diversity, discovery and discernment and is proud to be an LGBTQ+ brand that has an audience that goes beyond the community.
Uwern is a luxury travel and hospitality expert and consults for many destinations and brands, particularly in his core subject of diversity and inclusion, but also about innovation and creativity in luxury travel. He is also creator of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s landmark LGBT+ outreach project Go Thai Be Free, and founded TAT’s LGBT+ Travel Symposium series for the last 2 editions of the show. He also creates content for other brands including Tel Aviv, Enjoy Illinois, the Ritz-Carlton and Belmond (where he is a founding member of their LGBT+ advisory board). He is serving his second term on the board of directors for IGLTA and he is an LGBT+ travel ambassador for Sweden.
Back in 2017, Uwern developed Stockholm LGBT, a private-sector destination marketing organization and “rainbow family” of hotels, restaurants and attractions in the city that wants to attract LGBT+ travellers from across the world.
In 2020, Uwern was extremely proud to have been awarded Campaign magazine’s “Editor of the Year” in the UK, an amazing accolade to celebrate OutThere’s 10th year in business and a demonstration of the power of LGBT+ media in the publishing industry.