News and Insights

International Women’s Day 2024: Inspiring Inclusivity, Elevating Women’s Voices in Travel and Tourism

March 8, 2024

Throughout history, women have served as the backbone of society. We drive decisions at home, raise and care for our families and make strides in the workforce. Thanks to advances made by women in business, science, education, technology, medicine, culture and the arts in all of its forms, we have collectively accelerated the global economy.

The travel industry is no exception, with women in tourism comprising a significant portion of the sector’s workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of the total employment. And, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, women are in a unique position to make Travel & Tourism more resilient and inclusive than ever. Lastly, research shows that empowering women to participate equally in the global economy could add $28 trillion in GDP growth by 2025!

Yet, women are more than a body of statistics. We are frontline workers, caregivers, caretakers, business executives, media moguls and influencers who are juggling more roles than ever before. We face and overcome the impossible everyday with grace, powering through to drive results in all that we do.

FINN Partners is proud to salute and recognize the women who power and inspire us every day.

We are dedicated to empowering women in the marketing and communications field at every career stage to reach their full potential and navigate the ever-changing landscape. And as communicators and marketers, we value the opinions and insights of women in the media.

Take a moment to get to know the amazing assemblage of women travel writers and influencers from across the globe we are spotlighting for International Women’s Day 2024.

Meera Dattani

Freelance travel and culture journalist

What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

When a person or organisation says they’re ‘inclusive’ or ‘believe in inclusivity,’ what I find inspiring is when they’re intentional and proactive about it. So they’ve thought about where they are, and aren’t, inclusive, and what they can actually do, as an individual or company, to make it more so. A bit like ‘sustainable’, the word can lose its meaning when it’s over-used. As an individual, I know I don’t always get things right so I also think acknowledging where we’ve got things wrong is inspiring – it’s impossible to get things 100% right when inclusivity, which can mean gender, race, age, ability etc. is not an exact science – so admitting that can be reassuring and push us all to do better.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

Travel has a massive role to play in women’s empowerment around the world and I think that’s one way that almost everyone in the industry has a role – whether it’s challenging stereotypes, including women-run enterprises in itineraries, ensuring women are part of any tourism decision-making in places where historically maybe they’re not, that there’s equity of opportunity. I think in the travel industry itself, we, whatever our gender, religion, age etc., need to show support in the face of discrimination, speak out if we see injustices, and do what we can as colleagues to lift people up.


Tiffany Lai


What does ‘inspiring inclusivity’ mean to you?

Inspiring inclusivity means fostering a culture of acceptance regardless of background, identity, or differences – ensuring equal opportunities for everyone to be able to participate and thrive.

How has social media allowed you to express yourself, and connect with other female creators?

Social media has been a powerful platform for me to express my unique identity and connect with other female creators. As someone of mixed Chinese and Vietnamese heritage navigating a Western culture, I’ve found solace and empowerment in sharing my journey openly. Through platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, I’ve been able to showcase my multicultural experiences, embrace my heritage, and celebrate my identity authentically. Moreover, social media has enabled me to connect with a diverse community of female creators who share similar struggles.

As an industry, how can we ‘#InspireInclusivity’?

As an industry, inspiring inclusivity requires us to proactively address systemic barriers that hinder opportunities for people of colour and underrepresented communities. This entails actively seeking out and amplifying diverse voices, ensuring that creators from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to share their stories. Additionally, fostering a culture of openness, acceptance, and celebration of diversity is paramount. This involves creating spaces where everyone feels valued and respected, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, gender, or other identities. Prioritizing authentic representation in media and advertising is crucial, moving beyond stereotypes and tokenism towards genuine and nuanced portrayals of diverse experiences.


Sima Sthanakiya


What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

Inclusivity is not just a buzzword or a concept, but a commitment to real change. So for me, inspiring inclusivity is about creating a space where every woman, irrespective of background, ethnicity, gender identity, age or abilities, feels heard, valued and empowered.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

By eradicating homogenous networks and representations – travellers are more likely to spend money with brands in which they see themselves reflected. Ensure that women from all walks of life are part of the conversation and have a seat at the table. Value the different perspectives they bring and let it not be an afterthought but an inherent part of the travel industry.


Lauren Jarvis

Freelance travel journalist

What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

As a freelance travel writer and editor, I’m very lucky to work with some truly inspirational, creative women who continue to drive the industry to new heights and importantly, champion and open doors for other women, young people and under-represented groups. I’m incredibly encouraged by the pro-active measures that many companies and publications are taking to address diversity and inclusion by ensuring women, people of colour, those living with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community have increasing opportunities to participate and be heard.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

Travel is about human connections and being enriched by the infinitely diverse range of experiences our incredible planet has to offer. Our most impactful travel experiences often come from those we meet on our journey; people from other countries and cultures, living lives that are very different from our own. At a time when the world appears more fractious and polarised than ever, what better way to foster unity and collectively enhance this exciting industry than to ensure everyone is offered a supportive, inclusive platform to share their own unique perspective and use their voice?


Erica Fong


What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

Inspiring inclusivity means showcasing all different walks of life and the beauty of diversity.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

As an industry we can #inspireinclusivity by making sure we tell stories from different perspectives and angles in order to reflect the incredible range of people, places and experiences that exist in the world.


Alicia Cooper


What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

Inspiring inclusivity to me means embracing and advocating for a culture where diversity in all its forms (be that gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, etc.) is not only recognised but celebrated. It’s about creating environments where everyone feels valued, heard, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. The beauty of travel lies in its power to educate and unify us, helping us to learn that we all have connected stories despite our geographical and cultural divides.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

As an industry, we can inspire inclusivity by actively seeking out and amplifying diverse voices from all backgrounds. This involves not just token gestures but implementing structural changes that ensure representation and opportunities for all. Every press trip, campaign and advert should have diverse representation as standard. By doing so, we not only mirror our diverse world but also demonstrate that inclusivity is not just an afterthought to “tick a box”; it’s about giving the deserved equal weight to all experiences.


Farida Zeynalova

Assistant Editor, National Geographic Traveller Food

What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

In my eyes, inclusivity is integral to good storytelling and the growth of the wider travel industry. As someone from a minority background, whose first language wasn’t English, I’m testament to there being more than one route into travel journalism — and more than one way to be a travel journalist. Cultural differences should be nurtured and celebrated, and we should champion voices from all walks of life; whether this is through uplifting new storytellers or the expanding the subjects addressed. In an industry that’s historically very homogenous, editors and employers must continue to take steps — through campaigns like this one or articles told through unique perspectives — to ensure inclusivity is the norm, not the exception.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

There are a multitude of ways to inspire inclusivity within the travel industry, and we’re taking strides to ensure we do just that. Diverse voices among staff, panel speakers and event headliners can provide a business with a competitive edge; products and content are, as a result, nuanced and have a broader appeal. We aim to encourage and normalise inclusivity in travel media by telling stories and inspiring people through fresh and diverse voices. French novelist Marcel Proust hit the nail on the head when he said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”


Emily Moore


What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

Inspiring inclusivity means fostering an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered regardless of our differences. It involves celebrating diversity, amplifying marginalized voices, and challenging biases. It’s about creating spaces where everyone feels heard, understood, and supported, and working towards equity and a genuine belonging for all.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

To inspire inclusivity in the tourism industry we need to ensure diverse representation in marketing and hiring, provide staff training on cultural sensitivity, invest in accessible infrastructure, offer inclusive activities and events, engage local communities in tourism development, and promote responsible tourism practices. These actions can create welcoming environments where all travelers feel valued and respected.


Esther Areola


What does inspiring inclusivity mean to you?

I believe inclusivity is the key to making sure that everyone feels included, respected, and valued, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background. This involves creating diverse content that reflects a range of perspectives, cultures, and experiences and advocating for diversity and equality within the industry. It also means using my platform to amplify the stories of underrepresented communities.

As an industry, how can we inspire inclusivity?

To inspire inclusivity in the travel industry, I think one must showcase diverse perspectives in marketing campaigns, influencer partnerships, and media coverage. Also to create inclusive environments by supporting and amplifying marginalised voices, promoting diversity in hiring and leadership positions, and actively addressing issues of discrimination and bias. These are crucial steps toward creating a more welcoming and inclusive travel industry for all.

TAGS: Travel & Tourism

POSTED BY: Helen Shelton

Helen Shelton