A stimulating discussion and the Celebrating Her awards were one of the highlights of the Women’s Day events at ITB Berlin. Organized by IIPT India (International Institute for Peace Through Tourism – India), the Celebrating Her awards seek to honor and felicitate 5 outstanding women every year from the world of travel & tourism who have 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 Celebrating Her award winners for 2018 are:
Sandra Howard Taylor – Vice Minister of Tourism, Colombia – for Using Tourism to Transform Communities
Daniela Wagner – Director, International Partnerships, Jacobs Media Group & Director EMEA, PATA – for Building Global Alliances that promote Tourism as a Force for Good
Isabel Hill – Director, National Travel & Tourism office, US Dept of Commerce – for Tourism Policy
Caroline Bremner – Head of Travel Research, Euromonitor International – for Tourism Research and Education
Jyotsna Suri– Chairperson & Managing Director Lalit Hotels, India – for Tourism Leadership
Except for Jyotsna Suri, who couldn’t make it to Berlin, all the other award winners received their awards in person to enthusiastic applause and made short speeches. The audience included such luminaries 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 Organization, Luis Correia da Silva – CMO of Dom Pedro Hotels, and global media representatives.
In her welcome speech, Rika Jean-Francois, CSR Commissioner for ITB, welcomed Kiran Yadav and Ajay Prakash – Vice President and President of IPT 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 honored.”
The award ceremony was preceded by a panel discussion on “Opportunities and Challenges in Tourism for Women Entrepreneurs” which was moderated by Ajay Prakash. The panelists included the Hon. Emilie Jessy Menos – Tourism Minister of Haiti, Lavonne Wittman – Vice President PR & Communications of Skal International, Michelle Kristy who heads the SheTrades initiative of the International Trade Centre, a United Nations development agency and Rika Jean-Francois, CSR Commissioner for ITB Berlin.
In a written statement, Louis D’Amore, Founder President of IIPT said: “I am proud to extend congratulations to IIPT India for their successful organization of the third “Celebrating Her” awards and their selection of five outstanding woman leaders from the travel and tourism industry. IIPT is also grateful to Ms. Rika Jean-Francois, ITB CSR Commissioner 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 and 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.”
In the closing Vote of Thanks, Kiran Yadav, Vice President IIPT India thanked the enthusiastic audience and said that while each of the award winners was a wonderful role model for the younger generation, together they constituted a formidable force and hoped that they would collaborate to spread awareness of Tourism as a Force for Peace.