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Inaugural International Women in Travel & Tourism Forum Awards to Celebrate DEI in Travel–Apply Now!

Social enterprise Women in Travel CIC has announced a series of industry-leading names on the judging panel of its inaugural IWTTF Awards, which will celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries. The International Women in Travel and Tourism Forum (IWTTF) Awards will take place for the first time in June this year, and entries are now open.

Inaugural International Women in Travel & Tourism Forum Awards

Reflecting Women in Travel CIC’s core pillars of Leadership, Talent and Recruitment, DEI, and Allyship, the awards will recognize the progress, achievements, and endeavors of both individuals and businesses in the travel and hospitality space, with categories as follows:

  • DEI Champions - individual and company

  • Woman Leader - Corporate Leader (company) and Woman Entrepreneur (individual)

  • Talent and Recruitment - Individual Diverse Talent Recruiter and Best DEI Talent and Recruitment Initiative (company)

  • Allyship - individual and company

Entry is simple and free, and winners will be announced at the IWTTF Awards taking place at the offices of Expedia in Angel, London on 21 June 2023. The following day, IWTTF will welcome delegates to the Google offices in Kings Cross for a series of industry-leading sessions and conversations covering a range of topics from neuro-diversity and how the climate crisis is impacting women to removing barriers to entrepreneurship through DEI.

The panel of judges includes:

  • Dr Albert Kimbu, Head of Travel and Transport at the University of Surrey

  • Amanda Mason, Head of Marketing at Road Chef

  • Byron Shirto, Founder and CEO of Inspire Global

  • Chantal Potgieter, Founder and Director of Themba Travel

  • Claire Steiner, Director at the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership and Founder of ITT Future You and Future You Foundation

  • Edward Lines, Industry Manager at Google

  • Emily Goldfischer, Founder and Editor in Chief of Hertelier (yes, me!)

  • Gail Kenny, Founder of Gail Kenny Executive Recruitment

  • Jamie-Lee Abtar, Marketing Manager at Intrepid Travel and ambassador for ITT Future You

  • Kate Irwin, Managing Director EMEA at Skift

  • Klaudija Janzelj, Head of City Experiences at TUI

  • Meera Dattani, freelance journalist and senior editor of

  • Shayna Zand, Head of Partnerships at wetravel

  • Dr Sumeetra Ramakrishnan, Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of Surrey

Alessandra Alonso Women in Travel CIC
Alessandra Alonso, Founder, and Managing Director of Women in Travel CIC

“We are excited that our inaugural Awards are now open and that we are starting to see entries coming in. We have put together a judging panel of highly qualified individuals in the DEI and talent and recruitment space in our industry and together we look forward to recognizing and celebrating the great work that is taking place. We appreciate that people and businesses are at different stages in their DEI journey and we are not looking for perfection, but we wanted to begin to shine a light on those that are making the effort so that we can learn from each other and work towards creating a more diverse, equal and inclusive travel industry for us all," remarked Alessandra Alonso, Founder and Managing Director of Women in Travel CIC.

Awards judge Claire Steiner, Director at the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership and Founder of ITT Future You and Future You Foundation, commented: “Your next hire wants to know what makes your business special and worth working for. It is no secret that people want to work for brands with strong ethics who actively seek to recruit, promote and develop a diverse workforce. These awards will help put the spotlight on those businesses and individuals striving to do the right thing, who are focused on DEI and who actively encourage a workplace where all staff feel valued, visible, and authentic.”

“The travel, tourism, and hospitality industry has historically struggled with DEI, with women and other underrepresented groups facing various challenges, including a lack of representation in leadership positions and unequal pay. The IWTTF Awards matter because they shine a spotlight on those who are striving to make a positive impact and inspire others to follow their lead.” added judge Klaudija Janzelj, Head of City Experiences at TUI.

You have to be in it to win it, so it's important people take the time to submit their work!––Meera Dattani

Awards judge Meera Dattani, journalist and co-editor of, added, “These awards are not just a box-ticking exercise. When DEI is integrated into a company or culture, it's proven that there's more creativity and success, and you get fresh and important perspectives on and understanding of issues that might have gone overlooked. Contrary to perception, it's not just about gender, race, ethnicity, and LGBTQ+ inclusion, but about class, ability, age, religion etc. To celebrate companies and individuals who are making significant and meaningful inroads in this area is a great thing. However, to coin a phrase, you have to be in it to win it, so it's important people take the time to submit their work!”

IMPORTANT: Nominations for the IWTTF Awards close on 21 May, and the shortlist will be announced week commencing 12 June. Information on how to enter the awards and how to attend IWTTF (21 and 22 June) is available at

For more information on Women in Travel’s important work, please visit


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