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Winners of inaugural IWTTF Awards revealed in London

Winners of inaugural IWTTF Awards revealed in London

Social enterprise Women in Travel CIC has announced the winners of its inaugural International Women in Travel and Tourism Forum (IWTTF) Awards, which celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

The IWTTF Awards reception was a sell-out event and was hosted by Expedia in a top-floor, balcony event space in Angel, London.

Reflecting Women in Travel CIC’s core pillars of leadership, talent & recruitment, allyship and diversity, equity and inclusion, the award categories recognised both businesses and individuals for their awareness, achievements, initiatives and progress in the DEI space.

The winners were as follows:

  • DEI Champion – Company: Contiki
  • DEI Champion – Individual: Kanchana Gamage, The Aviatrix Project
  • Allyship – Company: KOTO (Know One Teach One)
  • Allyship – Individual: Stuart Greif, Forbes Travel Guide
  • Talent and Recruitment – Best DEI in Talent & Recruitment Initiative: Unseen Tours
  • Talent and Recruitment – Individual Diverse Talent Recruiter: Chris King, Lightning Travel Recruitment
  • Woman Leader within a Company: Sonal Patel, Audley Travel
  • Woman Leader – Entrepreneur or Founder: Nena Chaletzos, Luxtripper

Judges included leaders and thinkers from across the industry, from big brand names such as Intrepid and Google, to industry associations such as ITT Future You and BTA, recruitment companies such as Gail Kenny Recruitment, media representatives from Skift and Luxury Travel Advisor, and academic establishments such as the University of Surrey.

Each was carefully selected and assigned to an appropriate category to ensure integrity and relevant expertise across the board.

Alessandra Alonso, founder and managing director of Women in Travel CIC and IWTTF said: “The IWTTF Awards are all about shining a light on the great work that is taking place within the DEI space in the travel industry. I was so excited and proud to come together in this fabulous space at Expedia to recognise and celebrate all of our deserving winners and finalists.

“I encourage people to reach out to them and ask them what they are doing and how they approach their work, people and clients from a DEI perspective, so that together we can learn and work towards creating a more diverse, equal and inclusive travel industry for all.”

The Awards are a new addition to IWTTF 2023, which also includes a day of industry-leading sessions and conversations on a range of topics from neurodiversity and how the climate crisis is impacting women to removing barriers to entrepreneurship through DEI.

In her welcoming remarks, Ariane Gorin, president of Expedia for Business, said: “I think we all know that women make in excess of 70 per cent of the travel decisions globally and yet we make up only 12 per cent of leadership roles in travel so there is clearly a huge gap between the people making the purchasing decisions in travel, and the decision makers in companies.

“I am very proud that today, half of our executive leadership team is female, and 39 per cent of our leadership roles are held by women, up from 17 per cent when I joined in 2013.

“We also have 47 per cent of female employees across the board and are just three percentage points away from hitting our target of 50 per cent by 2025, so we have made a lot of efforts in diversity and inclusion.

“We still have a long way to go but I am proud of our progress, and I want to recognise the efforts of our WELL (Women at Expedia Learning and Leading) team which is very active in supporting our female community and allies.”

More Information

There is more information on IWTTF on the official website.