The Bessie Awards honor women of impact in the travel space, particularly influencers, creative entrepreneurs, marketers, and industry members who have added a compelling voice to the travel industry.

The Bessies are named after Bessie Coleman, the first woman of African-American descent to hold a pilot’s license. We hope to invoke the spirit of Ms. Coleman by honoring the truly creative work of some of our biggest thought leaders and innovators in travel. We value the contributions of diverse women and nonbinary people of all ages and backgrounds who represent us as a community of travelers.

The inaugural Bessie Awards will take place on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Portland–By The Bay in Portland, Maine, to mark the closing of WITS North America. The evening will begin at 7pm and conclude at approximately 9:30pm.

We are accepting nominations until January 22, 2019. Honorees will be awarded in ten categories, outlined below.



Nominate someone for a Bessie Award!



Media Awards

Creator of the Year
Honoring a creator who has gone above and beyond in the past year to challenge the status quo and grow in an impactful way as a thought leader in the industry.

Collaboration of the Year
In support of working together, this award celebrates a successful collaboration between influencers to amplify their voices and accomplish shared goals.

Ethical Travel Award
Recognizing outstanding content in the last year that builds social impact in the travel space and encourages more ethical travel practices.

Most Impactful Piece of Writing
This award showcases an inspiring, engaging, personal, and community-oriented piece of writing that made a positive impact in the last year.

Outstanding Work of 2018
(presented by Tourism Québec)
Featuring the former WITS host destination, this award recognizes an outstanding blog or vlog covering Québec City. The winner will be selected from the list of articles on the WITS press page. If yours is not listed, make sure to submit yours via this form.

Industry Awards

Inclusion Award
For 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.

Influencer Campaign of the Year
For a brand that has implemented an outstanding influencer campaign in the last year.

Social Impact Award
For an individual or brand that has ethically innovated to operate more responsibly, or has developed their marketing in a sustainable and impactful way.

Travel Startup of the Year
For an engaging, innovative and impactful startup that we as a community of influencers believe is changing the way we travel.

Wanderful Award
For a brand that has gone above and beyond to support, empower, and represent women in the past year.



Submit your nominations until January 22, 2019 at 11:59pm ET.

Interested in sponsoring an award? Send an email to for more details.