About the Foundation

The LATA Foundation teams and trustees at Christmas

In 2007 the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) brought together a group of competing tour operators and hoteliers to support the region they love. From five-star hotels on Copacabana beach to Inca Trail trekkers, the industry united to fund grass roots projects across Latin America.

The LATA Foundation is run entirely by volunteers both in the UK and in Latin America. Most of them are acknowledged specialists in Latin America with a background in the travel industry. Every penny goes direct to our projects.

We have close links with the Latin America Travel Association and through them we have contacts on the ground in Latin America to be our eyes and ears locally, to help us identify new projects and to make sure that our projects are well run and kept on track.

Our committee

Our projects and events teams meet about every 6 weeks and are tasked with identifying and managing projects, organising events and fundraising.

Projects Team

Katie Aston (Head of Projects & Trustee)
Gemma Cope
Jill Forgham
Kerry Ann Govier
Carmel Hendry
Jonny Livingstone
Odile Palustran

Fundraising Team

Nicola Gude (Vice Chair of Trustees)
Kate McWilliams (Trustee)
Megan Parkinson (Trustee)
Simon Willmore
Jon Goldsmith
Laura Radford
Claire Betts
Caro van Soest

Our trustees

Jude Berry (Chair) was Head of the Projects Team for five years until September 2019, when she became Chair of the Foundation’s trustees. Currently Sales Manager for Americas, a group of well-respected Latin America DMCs, over the last 15 years she has also worked with both bespoke and group travel to Latin America. Interested in sustainable tourism and drawn by the grass roots projects Jude joined the LATA Foundation projects team in 2011.

Nicola Gude (Vice-Chair) started working in the Latin America travel industry in 2007 having previously spent 8 months studying in Mexico and working as an English Teacher in Arequipa, Peru for a year. She now works at Senderos UK in representation of wildlife lodges and boutique hotels in South America and Costa Rica. She has been an active member of the LATA Foundation since 2011, first as a member of the Events and Fundraising team helping organise sponsored activities, larger events and fundraising drives. She then became head of the Events and Fundraising team in 2016 and is currently a trustee.

Katie Aston (Head of Projects) spent 25 years working in the travel industry, collaborating with customers and suppliers across Latin America, after completing a degree in Latin American studies. She now works as a care coordinator at a busy inner-city GP practice which works closely with refugees and asylum seekers. She has been a member of the LATA Foundation’s Projects team for 10 years, working with project partners to ensure that funds go towards projects and communities in Latin America that vitally need them.

Richard Brass has worked in international banking in the City, in the leisure industry in the United States and in specialty retail which is his current project. He has been involved with the travel industry to Latin America since 1994 as a director of Austral Tours. He was the treasurer of the Latin America Travel Association (LATA) for a number of years and was inducted into LATA’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his work.  Richard founded the LATA Foundation in 2007 and was Chairman until 2009.

Bibiana Garside joined the LATA Committee in 2014 and has served as LATA’s Honorary Secretary since 2015. She is Director of Marketing at Geodyssey. In 2009 Bibiana founded HighLives Travel which specialises in travel to her native Bolivia, which became a Geodyssey brand in 2016.

Lyn Hughes is co-founder and editor in chief of Wanderlust, the UK’s leading travel media brand for sustainable, authentic, experiential and adventurous travel.  Having initially had the idea for a travel magazine on a flight to Ecuador in 1992, Latin America holds a special place in Lyn’s heart. She tries to visit at least once a year and has won awards for her resulting articles. Lyn has served on the LATA committee since 2005, and is the current vice-chair. Believing that travel should be a power for good, helping local communities and wildlife, she is very proud to have become a trustee of the LATA Foundation in 2019.

Kate McWilliams is the deputy MD of leading travel PR and representation agency, LOTUS. Kate joined LOTUS in 2007 and since then has overseen and delivered a number of successful tourism campaigns. Following her passion for Spain and Latin America, Kate launched LOTUS LATAM in January 2017; a division of the business focused on Latin America and the Spanish-speaking markets. During her 12 years in the industry, Kate has developed excellent relationships with leading travel editors, key media and the wider travel trade. Kate currently represents a number of travel clients including the Latin American Travel Association (LATA), the Guyana Tourism Authority and Buenos Aires, amongst others.

Megan Parkinson is the Partnerships and Member Services Manager at LATA. She has over 17 years experience working in Latin American Travel and is considered one of the best connected people in the industry. Megan joined the LATA Foundation in 2007 and headed up the Events and Fundraising team for 6 years and has continued to support the fundraising effort to this day. She became a trustee in 2019.

Chris Pickard has been a trustee of the Foundation since its inception in 2007. Chris served on the Executive Committee of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) for 14 years and was deputy chairman for 9 of those years, before becoming chairman of LATA in 2012. He served two terms as chair, before standing down in 2014. Chris has recently returned to the UK having spent the last 2 years as director of tourism for the island of St Helena, and now runs Critical Divide, a marketing and PR consultancy that specialises in tourism, the arts and Latin America.

Colin Stewart is the UK Director of Air Europa, leading Spanish airline with a ever growing network to Latin America. Colin has successfully launched Spain’s largest privately owned airline into the world’s most challenging and competitive market delivering year on year double digit growth since 2009. Colin joined LATA in 2017 and he is the Chairman of LATA.

Note: The board consists of a maximum of twelve Trustees up to half of whom may be appointed by the Committee of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) from its ranks.