Meet Vanessa Fondeur-Adams: travel industry changemaker, passionate explorer, and leader for the traveling Latinx community around the globe.

The visionary leader behind Latino World Travelers and creator of Latino Travel Fest, Vanessa’s story shows determination, inspiration, and a relentless pursuit of authenticity and diversity in the travel industry, which is why she is one of the 2024 Bessie Awards finalists for the Inclusion Award.

Developed to honor the impact of travel industry professionals in creating a more diverse and inclusive industry for all, the Bessie Awards aim to uplift unique voices and amplify exceptional work.

The Inclusion Award celebrates a brand that has shown outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion in the last year, whether in the form of a campaign, piece of content, partnership, or other initiative.

We love amplifying the work of visionary leaders in the industry (suggestions are always welcome), so we’re thrilled to share Vanessa Fondeur-Adams’ story with you today.

Travel: From Unattainable to Insatiable Wanderlust

Vanessa Fondeur-Adams of Latino World Travelers and Latino Travel Fest
Vanessa Fondeur-Adams of Latino World Travelers and Latino Travel Fest

“I came to the U.S. at 17 years old from the Dominican Republic. As an immigrant, international travel felt like this far away and unattainable thing,” Vanessa recalls. “It wasn’t until I reached college and saw two sorority sisters traveling to Senegal that I became curious about the possibility of me traveling away from the US.”

They told her they had traveled through a Study Abroad program. “I hadn’t heard that phrase before,” Vanessa says. “I had no idea this opportunity even existed.”

Unfamiliar with the concept, Vanessa sought out information, opportunities, and scholarships. Breaking free from fear and foregoing that feeling of impossibility, she embarked on a transformative journey through Spain, France, and Portugal in her senior year of college. 

This adventure marked the birth of Vanessa’s insatiable wanderlust.


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Creating Community and Inspiring Future Generations

“Now having traversed 33 countries and 41 U.S. states, my motivation is driven by an innate hunger for travel,” Vanessa shares. 

That hunger drove her to create Latino World Travelers, a global community built to empower Latinos to experience the world and diversify the face of travel.

As she traveled more extensively, Vanessa wanted to share her adventures  — not just through photos and stories but through shared experiences. 

“As I looked for companionship for my journeys, I noticed many of my friends and family felt limited to travel,” she explains. “Not because of resources but through lack of exposure to what’s out there beyond home or fear of leaving their comfort zones.”

In creating Latino World Travelers, Vanessa shares travel as an opportunity and a way of helping others break free from self-imposed limitations.

“What motivates me to do my work today and every day is knowing I am making an impact in people’s lives for generations to come. Because to inspire one to travel is to inspire their entire network,” she affirms.

In combination with her creation of Latino World Travelers, Vanessa is also an educator based in New York City. “My proudest career accomplishment is and continues to be that, as an educator, I am able to expose high school students to the world through educational tours,” she says. 

What motivates me to do my work today and every day is knowing I am making an impact in people’s lives for generations to come. Because to inspire one to travel is to inspire their entire network.

Vanessa Fondeur-Adams

Beyond textbooks and classrooms, Vanessa emphasizes the importance of immersive experiences in destinations all around the world. “My goal is for them to gain firsthand experience of their own cultures — and cultures different from their own — so it can forever shift the paradigm of how they view themselves and the world,” she explains. 

Championing Diversity and Representation: A Call to Action

Vanessa Fondeur-Adams of Latino World Travelers and Latino Travel Fest
Vanessa Fondeur-Adams of Latino World Travelers and Latino Travel Fest

Vanessa envisions a future where the travel industry highlights the diverse faces of the Latino community.

“The most important issue facing the travel industry today is the lack of representation, inclusivity, and the authentic value inherent in travel,” she asserts. Beyond mere sightseeing, she challenges travelers to connect with local communities and support their economies. 

Determined to be the change, Vanessa created the first-ever conference for Latino travelers and creators: Latino Travel Fest

This 3-day travel conference amplifies Latin voices, spotlights Latin thought leaders, and provides a safe space to bring the community together and share collective experiences with pride. 

The most important issue facing the travel industry today is the lack of representation, inclusivity, and the authentic value inherent in travel.

Vanessa fondeur-Adams

“Because,” as Vanessa declares, “representation matters!”

Calling for the recognition of the multifaceted nature of the Latino community, she advocates for their faces to come to the forefront in travel marketing, advertising, TV shows, conferences, and beyond. 


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“I envision a travel industry that is welcoming and diverse in all facets,” Vanessa shares. “I also want us Latinos to recognize each other, and in turn, we want the travel industry to recognize us. Let’s work together to make this vision a reality.”

In recognition of the collaborative efforts required to sustain such systemic change, Vanessa shares that there are two people she looks up to for inspiration in the travel industry: Evita Robinson and Beth Santos

“They are both self-identifying women who are strong, passionate, serve communities that have often been overlooked, and work tirelessly to bring these communities to the forefront of the travel industry,” she explains. “Those are the footsteps that I want to follow.”

Drawing inspiration from these trailblazers, Vanessa uses her platform for richer conversations, partnerships with brands valuing the Latino community, and continued growth for Latino World Travelers. 

Bessie Awards Nomination Celebrates Community Impact

“To have the community nominate me for a Bessie Award is exhilarating, gratifying, and overwhelming all at the same time,” Vanessa reflects. 

While she humbly deflects the spotlight from herself, Vanessa sees this as an opportunity to showcase the collective impact and positive change within her community. “This award, this celebration will not just be for me; it will be for all of us.”


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Vanessa continues to break down barriers and offer inspiration, proving that travel transcends borders and transforms lives.

Through her work with Latino World Travelers, Vanessa is creating a more inclusive travel industry, paving the way for a future where the beauty of diverse cultures is cherished, celebrated, and shared with the world.

Now that’s Wanderful!