Media Contact: 
Tim Smith 
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Destinations International Fosters Workforce Inclusion with HBCU Scholarships  

Nine recipients awarded grants for study in hospitality and tourism management 

WASHINGTON, DC, USA (June 24, 2024) – Destinations International (DI), the world’s leading association representing destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), today announced nine recipients of the Destinations International Foundation Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) and Hospitality Scholarship. Each student will receive USD $8,000 for the 2024-2025 academic year. To-date, the foundation has raised more than USD $225,000 from individual and organization donors to support this program.

“The goal of the scholarship is to provide historically underrepresented students interested in the hospitality industry with an avenue to connect and learn about the many career paths that exist, as well as lessening the financial burden on these emerging young professionals,” said Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International. “Underrepresented students face barriers to pursuing management-track careers given the costs of college, not to mention challenges faced in enrolling, attending and graduating.”

The HBCU Scholarship is a program championed by DI association past chair and President and CEO of Visit Baltimore, Al Hutchinson. Through the DI Foundation, Destinations International and industry partners created this program specifically to support underrepresented and ethnically diverse students seeking a degree in hospitality or tourism management. The students will continue to receive support and guidance throughout their academic studies by being paired with local mentors and participating in ongoing learning programs with DI members throughout the academic year. Destinations International recognizes the importance of, and advocates for, a unified travel industry where everyone is welcome and there is equitable access for all. 

“Social inclusion and workforce development are critical to the continued growth and success of the travel, tourism and hospitality sector,” said Al Hutchinson. “We are thrilled to be providing scholarships to these future leaders and look forward to following their success. I want to thank the organizations and individuals who have donated to this important program, and I look forward to having others join us. Together, we can make a critical and lasting impact on both the sector and our communities.”

The 2024-2025 HBCU Scholarship recipients include:

  • Cassandre Bossicot, Bethune-Cookman University  
  • Celine Trombi, Delaware State University  
  • Christian Nettles, North Carolina Central University  
  • Hannah Weiss, Delaware State University  
  • Justin Simon, Morgan State University  
  • Kajal Ghising, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore  
  • Kaniyah Williams Bailey, Delaware State University  
  • Ly Bao Tran Phan, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore  
  • Mya Mendoza, Morgan State University  

Additional information on the HBCU and Hospitality Scholarship, including information on making contributions, is available online.  


About Destinations International: 
Destinations International is the world’s largest and most respected resource for destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards. With more than 7,000 members and partners from over 750 destinations, the association represents a powerful forward-thinking and collaborative community around the world. For more information, visit  

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About the Author

Tim Smith

Vice President of Communications
Destinations International

As Vice President of Communications, Tim is responsible for development and execution of strategic communications to support the association’s mission, enhance and elevate brand, and strengthen impact. He serves as primary contact for media and manages communication with global stakeholders, including association leaders, members, policymakers, media, academia, tourism industry and staff.

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