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International Women’s Day – Women in Tourism

Women around the world play a significant role in the travel and tourism industry. Tourism offers respectable, stable opportunities to underserved populations who may not have benefited from formalized educations –– many of whom are women.

Today is International Women’s Day and we are celebrating by highlighting some of the women we respect the most when it comes to changing how travel affects our world. We are honoring women who are building better futures for themselves and their communities through this large, diverse industry.

Louise Twining-Ward, President of Sustainable Travel International, is known worldwide for her leadership and innovation in both the academic and development worlds. Since 2011, she has been a part of the Sustainable Travel International team, helping communities around the globe become leaders in their own right, through travel and tourism. From helping to lead the development of the European Tourism Indicator System, to forging relationships between the women’s Langafonua Handicraft Centre in Tonga to market ready tour operators, Louise acts on her belief that “responsibly developed tourism offers unparalleled opportunities to stimulate the local economy, benefit indigenous communities and conserve rich biodiversity.”

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Gloria Sabajo lives in Redi Doti, Suriname. Few job opportunities for women exist in rural Suriname, so when Gloria had the chance to take a tour guide training course to better her own and her family’s life, she jumped at the opportunity. Gloria is now a cultural tour guide in her village and has the means to better care for her family and their future. Thinking about her son she said, “he can now think ‘hey my mother is working, so I have to do my best to achieve something in life.’”

Kristin Dahl is Travel Oregon’s Vice President of Destination Development. Since 2007, she has worked tirelessly to assist communities and businesses in the state of Oregon in developing a robust and vital regional tourism economy. Her work includes overseeing the Rural Tourism Studio program, the Travel Oregon Forever Fund, and Travel Oregon’s Regional Investment Program, to make the state a better place to live and experience. The Travel Oregon Forever Fund, for example, has raised over $90,000 to help fund 21 development projects throughout the state of Oregon.

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Diannille Taylor-Williams is the Assistant Secretary of the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism. Since partnering with Sustainable Travel International, she has helped to lead the development of a public-private sector working group around sustainable destination management on the island; shepherd 50+ tourism stakeholders through a sustainable tourism training program; and helped launch the island’s first travel philanthropy program and tourism sustainability charter for businesses. Diannille is a changemaker in St. Kitts.

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