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Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 16 : 57 PM [IST]

IIPT India honours 5 women for empowerement through tourism at ‘Celebrating Her’ awards

L to R: Susanna Saari, President, Skal International, Michelle Kristy, Associate Expert Women and Trade Programme, International Trade Center, SheTrades, Switzerland, Isabel Hill, Director, National Travel & Tourism office, US Dept of Commerce, Sandra Howard Taylor, Vice Minister of Tourism, Colombia, Daniela Wagner, Director, International Partnerships, Jacobs Media Group & Director EMEA, PATA, Ajay Prakash, President, IIPT India, Rika Jean-Francois, CSR Commissioner for ITB, Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel Research, Euromonitor International, Lavonne Wittman, VP - PR & Communications Africa, SKAL International, South Africa, Colombe Emilie Jessy Menos, Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries, Government of Haiti, Kiran Yadav, Vice President, IIPT India, Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA, Dr. Dietlind von Laßberg, Vice Chairwoman, Institute for Tourism and Development & Ruth Hopfer-Kubsch, Director of Studiosus Foundation - Responsible Tourism (Germany).

IIPT (International Institute for Peace Through Tourism) India for the third consecutive year, on International Women’s Day, March 8, organised the ‘Celebrating Her’ awards at the ITB Berlin, to honour and felicitate 5 outstanding women from the world of travel & tourism, who not only empowered themselves, but continue to empower others too.

Commenting on the rationale and background of the ‘Celebrating Her’ awards, Ajay Prakash, President, IIPT India, said, “These awards are intended to acknowledge and felicitate exceptional women in the fields of travel, tourism and hospitality; individuals with a clarity of vision and mission who understand and believe that tourism, perhaps the biggest industry in the world, could become the first global peace industry, and who have relentlessly worked towards fostering the tourism business as a vehicle for peace. They are about holding up such women as achievers and projecting them as role models to inspire other young women to empower themselves.”

The audience at the award ceremony included luminaries such as Jean- Claude Baumgarten, former President of WTTC, Susanna Saari & Daniela Otero, President and CEO of Skal International, Salih Cene, former President of Skal, Soren Langelund, CEO of eWaterways, Mark Iten, Chairman International Tourism Organisation, Luis Correia da Silva, CMO, Dom Pedro Hotels, and global media representatives.

In her welcome speech, Rika Jean-Francois, CSR Commissioner for ITB welcomed Prakash and Kiran Yadav, Vice President, IIPT India and lauded them for their commitment to holding the awards. “We are delighted to be partnering with IIPT India for the presentation of these exceptional awards,” she said. “Since they first took place here in 2016 the ‘Celebrating Her’ awards have become firmly established at the show. Women play a crucial role in tourism – that is something which has to be honoured.”

The award ceremony was preceded by a panel discussion on “Opportunities and Challenges in Tourism for Women Entrepreneurs” which was moderated by Prakash. The panellists included the Hon. Emilie Jessy Menos, Minister of Tourism, Government of Haiti, Lavonne Wittman, Vice President - PR & Communications, Skal International, Michelle Kristy who heads the SheTrades initiative of the International Trade Centre, a United Nations development agency and Rika Jean-Francois. The event was concluded by Kiran Yadav delivering vote of thanks. TravelBiz Monitor was the exclusive media partner for the event.

L to R: Rika Jean-Francois, Michelle Kristy, Lavonne Wittman and Colombe Emilie Jessy Menos

In a written statement, Louis D’Amore, Founder President of IIPT said, “I am proud to extend congratulations to IIPT India for their successful organisation of the third ‘Celebrating Her’ awards and their selection of 5 outstanding woman leaders from the travel & tourism industry. IIPT is also grateful to Rika Jean-Francois for her support and collaboration in making the awards one of the important events at ITB. This year’s honorees provide inspiring role models for the millions of women engaged in the global travel & tourism industry – as well as thousands more who are currently students of hospitality and tourism in colleges and universities around the world with career aspirations in the industry.”

Colombian Deputy Minister of Tourism Sandra Howard Taylor accepted the award “for all the women of Colombia” and pointed out her necklace, handmade by indigenous women, which she had worn to honour them. Isabel Hill, Director of the National Travel & Tourism Office at the US Department of Commerce, emphasised the travel industry’s responsibility to create a framework within which everyone can reach their full potential: “Empowering women means empowering tourism.”

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