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On land and sea, travel industry honours women at work

March 11, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Here’s a sample of how Australia’s travel industry celebrated International Women’s Day 2019 on Friday – with pride at the extent and scope of female participation (55% of the world’s tourism workforce is female) coupled with resolve that women should take more senior roles.

Intrepid Travel announced the creation of four new Women’s Expeditions – women-only tours led by female guides – giving female travellers an opportunity to learn about the everyday lives and challenges facing women around the world.

The tours provide insight into the lives of women in Kenya, India, Nepal and Turkey. Travellers will meet people from all walks of life and hear their inspiring stories, ranging from Becky, the first female overland truck driver in East Africa, to Syrian refugees forging a new life in Istanbul.

These trips include experiences that would otherwise be off-limits on regular departures, such as swimming on a female-only beach in Antalya or celebrating the female-only Gangur Festival in Rajasthan.

The new tours build on the success of the original Women’s Expeditions in the Middle East, launched on International Women’s Day 2018. Intrepid says the range has proved one of the most popular in the company’s 30-year history, growing from just four departures to 36 in the space of a few months.

G Adventures announced four new ‘G For Good’ projects, African projects focusing on empowering women and youth.

Joining the existing 70 G For Good projects supported by G Adventures and its non-profit partner, Planeterra, the new projects were selected by the extent in which G Adventures’ traveller market could help communities in each of the destinations involved. They reflect the increase in travellers seen by G Adventures across Africa over the past 12 months.

With 20 G For Good projects solely committed to empowering women, and 2043 women having been employed or trained through G For Good projects around the world, Kelly Galaski, director of global programs for Planeterra, says the new projects will continue G Adventures’ mission to empower and support women and youth in the communities travellers visit.

Captain Serena Melani at helm of Seven Seas Splendor, the first woman in cruise industry history to captain a new cruise ship at launch.

“The tourism industry continues to be one of the largest job creators in the world, with the ability to reach some of the most rural and underserved people across the globe,” Galaski commented.

“But, despite 55% of the tourism workforce being made up of women, there is often a lack of women in leadership roles. And, in many countries, women are completely excluded from education and the formal economy because of their gender.”

One new G For Good project works with Tribal Textiles, a community-run fabric workshop, café and hand-painted textiles shop located just outside of South Luangwa National Park. It benefits 1500 community members and deters locals from turning to wildlife poaching in the nearby park as a source of income. 

FCM Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller in Melbourne hosted over 300 guests to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of females for International Women’s Day.

Aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria. (L to R) Roy Cummins, chief executive, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd; Joan Pease MP, Member for Lytton; Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Premier; Ann Sherry AO, Carnival Australia chairman

“As both companies boast a workforce that is approximately 75% female, we are committed to supporting female development within our organisations and across industries,” Melissa Elf, general manager of FCM Australia said.

“For FCM and the broader Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), there is a lot of work underway to strengthen our support networks, career development and mentoring opportunities to help women achieve their goals.”

Elf is part of a growing group of senior female leaders across FCTG, where there is a concerted effort to encourage more women to apply for leadership roles, to connect with and learn from mentors and to upskill. 

Carnival Australia, which includes P&O Cruises as its home-grown cruise line, pointed out that, in addition to Carnival Australia Chairman Ann Sherry, half of the leadership team are women. They cover diverse roles including chief financial officer, general counsel, people and performance, and corporate affairs. Carnival expressed pride in the women who work ship and shore across the organisation and the cruise lines it represents.

The line said championing workplace equality and advancing women into leadership positions has been an ongoing commitment for all Carnival Australia brands including P&O Cruises.

EEAA Women in Business. Kathy Savill, Merivale; Bruce Baird, Business Events Sydney; Dr Clara Chow, Sydney Medical School; Joyce DiMascio, EEAA; Supriya Shakya, Reed Exhibitions; Georgie Chapman-Burgess, ETF; Lynell Peck, ICC Sydney; Anna Cesarano, Doltone House


The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s (EEAA) 2019 International Women’s Day Breakfast celebrated the diverse pathways women take to succeed and called on all women not to hold back when opportunities are presented.

Chief executive, Joyce DiMascio said it was important to put the spotlight on women in the business events industry and discuss different roads to success and the challenges faced.

The panel was facilitated by DiMascio and comprised:

  • Dr Clara Chow, Professor, Sydney Medical School, Westmead
  • The Hon Bruce Baird AM, Chairman, Business Events Sydney
  • Supriya Shakya, Head of Digital, Reed Exhibitions Australia
  • Lynell Peck, Director of Culinary, International Convention Centre Sydney
  • Georgie Chapman-Burgess, Operations Manager, Exhibitions & Trade Fairs

G Adventures. Tribal Textiles. The washing ladies

The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 was #BalanceForBetter. The need for diversity in all areas of business, politics and community was a strong message from all the presenters.

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) welcomed the launch by the Federal Government of a AUD 4 million Women in Aviation Initiative, which will fund programs to engage women and target school-aged students and their parents about the opportunities available for a career in aviation.

AAA chief executive, Caroline Wilkie, said the initiative would support the advancement of women across all aspects of the aviation sector.

“We are really pleased to see the Federal Government investing in the future careers of women in aviation,” she said.

The AAA launched a new Women in Airports Network (WIAN), a community to support the advancement of women across all aspects of airport operations. Women currently account for about 3% of pilots and 1% of aircraft engineers globally, highlighting the opportunity for increased female participation as the industry continues to grow.

Guests receiving a ship tour on board Cunard’s Queen Victoria in the Port of Brisbane.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises confirmed that Captain Serena Melani would helm the cruise line’s newest ship, Seven Seas Splendor. The line says this will make her the first woman in cruise industry history to captain a new cruise ship at launch.

The ship is due for launch next February.

Captain Melani, 45, began her nautical career at age 16 as a cadet while attending school, working on cargo ships in her hometown of Livorno, Italy, along the Tirrenian Sea in the Tuscany region. After graduating from Nautical College in 1993, she served on oil tankers, cargo and container vessels before joining Regent in 2010 as a bridge officer, later becoming the line’s first female Master Captain in 2016.

Intrepid Travel Kenya Womens Expedition. Becky, East Africa’s first female overland truck driver

Captain Melani, who lives with her husband on the quaint Croatian island of Korcula when not sailing the world, will spend much of this year in the shipyard where Seven Seas Splendor is being built in Ancona, Italy.

Cunard’s Queen Victoria held a special event to celebrate International Women’s Day

Cunard and Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) combined to invite 120 guests, predominantly women from across the Port of Brisbane precinct as well as others working in the industry, for a special ship tour and morning tea aboard to celebrate the valuable contribution of women in the sector.

P&O Food & Beverage Director Eve De Nies, Hotel Director Louisa-Jane Brown, Security Officer Jane Boon and Cruise Director Kristy Elise Fraser

Banyan Tree commemorated International Women’s Day by giving 38% off best available room rates until 15 March 2019 at any of the 38 participating Banyan Tree properties.

“Believe in yourself that you can do and nothing is impossible,” said Savittree Meesuksree, training tanager, Banyan Tree Spa Academy.

Championed by co-founder and women’s rights advocate Claire Chiang, the global Singaporean hospitality group has long been a supporter of women’s empowerment, as demonstrated by the programs it organises for its female employees.

An inspiration: Nancy-Bird Walton, ‘The Angel of the Outback’, in a Gipsy Moth biplane at Kingsford-Smith Flying School in 1933. Western Sydney Airport has just been named in her honour.

Written by Peter Needham

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