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IGLTA Announces 2021 Honors

IGLTA

Three pillars of LGBTQ+ tourism, marketing and empowerment—Pink Media’s Matt Skallerud, Belmond’s Annette Kishon-Pines and Atlanta Black Pride Weekend—will receive this year’s IGLTA Honors.

Selected by the association’s board of directors, these awards are given to individuals or businesses committed to improving the global landscape for LGBTQ+ travelers. The IGLTA Honors will be presented with the generous support of Visit Philadelphia at IGLTA’s 37th Global Convention, set for the Hotel Midtown, Atlanta, 8-11 September.

Longtime champion of LGBTQ+ tourism Matt Skallerud will receive the Hanns Ebensten Hall of Fame Award, named from the man widely considered the father of gay travel, and whose namesake honor is bestowed each year to an exceptional IGLTA member. Skallerud, the president of Pink Media, is widely known and revered for his tireless work in both the travel and marketing industries, and is one of the world’s foremost specialists in LGBTQ+ tourism marketing. For more than 20 years, Skallerud has helped companies of all sizes to reach LGBTQ+ online consumers and is now focused on cutting-edge global innovations in programmatic ad buying, social networking and Web 2.0 technologies. A former IGLTA board chair, he is a familiar force at the group’s Annual Global Conventions, having conducted many social media marketing presentations for attendees. He also created the first media networking event within an IGLTA convention in 2008 in Las Vegas. 

A legend in tourism and a fervent LGBTQ+ ally, Annette Kishon-Pines will receive IGLTA’s first Ally Award. This Honor is given to an individual, business or organization that, while not LGBTQ+, has demonstrated a long-term commitment to championing inclusive travel, helping to improve the experiences of LGBTQ+ travelers worldwide. Kishon-Pines spent nearly four decades at the illustrious Belmond luxury travel group, serving as its operations manager and then its director of global sales for the Americas. In 2015 she appointed Belmond’s first dedicated director of LGBTQ sales, and a year later oversaw the creation of its LGBTQ Advisory Board, the first of its kind in the industry. Throughout her years at Belmond, Kishon-Pines offered background support to countless LGBTQ+ travel organizers, human rights organizations and charities, serving as a beacon of allyship within the global tourism industry.

Atlanta Black Pride Weekend—one of the world’s largest Black Pride celebrations—will receive IGLTA’s 2021 Pathfinder Award, presented to an individual, business, or organization making a significant positive impact on their destination, and demonstrating the highest standard of warmth and hospitality to the LGBTQ+ community. The crown jewel of the event is the nonprofit Pure Heat Community Festival, which provides an outdoor free-admission event filled with music, entertainment, food and fun, aiming to foster communication, provide positive role models, empower all people, and oppose prejudice within the LGBTQ+ and allied communities. IGLTA is supporting the Pure Heat Community Festival this year, in conjunction with its convention.

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