Against the tide of challenges

Women have always led by example. Whether it is braving the society’s clichés or balancing the several roles they play, they have always ensured that their actions speak louder than words. While they do not doubt the calibre of men in the travel industry today, they do not hold back their strengths either and continue to prove their mettle.

Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI

“There are a lot of women in this industry, but few at the forefront. Hospitality and travel are very close to the heart of women. At TAAI, I have already initiated the process of bringing women to the forefront, and we have already brought quite a few women together. We have spoken to at least 50-60 of them already and they want to contribute to society in whatever way they can. In this case, the society is our industry.”

Chitra Bhatia, Director, Easy Connect Holidays

“Women in the travel industry have come a long way. They have been taking initiatives which are exceedingly relevant to the present day, and have also contributed in more ways than one in bringing credibility to the industry. They definitely add value and can create history by achieving a lot in terms of running the show and promoting destinations. Today, there is hardly a challenge for them.”

Ruhani Duggal, Director, Minar Group

“From where I stand, the inbound tour operator segment is largely male dominated. As leaders, innovators, designers and guides, women are challenging the status quo every day. While the working conditions in the industry for women are of satisfactory standards, the scope is abundant. Organisations can benefit from improved gender equality and women can break through pre-existing barriers.

Seema Luthra, Founder, Travelmetrics

“I am a believer of meritocracy. However, social demographics of any industry are reflective of the society at large and I don’t see it any different in the travel and tourism industry. When you see the corporate structure in airlines, large TMCs or OTAs, including MNCs, almost all key management positions are held by men. I would like to believe that this is a mere coincidence and that the best person for the job is selected.

Huzan Frazer, Director, Beautiful Planet

“Primarily because of our intuitive service delivery standards, dedication and a deep understanding of client’s needs, we are able to succeed in this sector. With the role of the traditional Indian woman changing from a housewife to one that seeks a career, women have been able to drive the travel industry to new and better heights. The main challenge that women face is balancing their professional and personal life.”

Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism

The travel industry is one which has nurtured its women leaders over the years, empowering and encouraging them to spread their wings. The industry has been defined by some of the most commendable and inspirational female personalities who have gone against the tide of challenges through sheer dedication and determination. As with any role in life, women will continue forging ahead.”


The meritorious make it big


Taruna Soni, Head – Marketing, ITQ

“In the industry today, prominent women are holding key leadership positions in leading travel agencies, travel management companies, airlines and other segments. Women are also breaking socioeconomic and cultural barriers, and stigmas by building their own travel business from scratch as entrepreneurs and founders. The key is to identify the challenges faced by women in the industry and overcome them, as much as possible, with company-wide policies and programmes, such as adopting family-friendly policies and increasing their representation.

Tasneem Udaipurwala, Director, Wingspan

“Let me start by stating that leadership has no gender. Women with qualifications and qualities have risen in various industries over the last decade. Their leadership has taken their companies places. As leaders, the most significant aspect about women is that they take their workforce for- ward along with them. In India, the trend of working women is on the rise and women are going all out to achieve greater heights. While there still are several challenges that women face while climbing the ladder, it is the self- belief which is significant.”

Sheetal Munshaw, Director – India, Atout France

“Our industry is powered predominantly by women who have found their rightful place of pride. In today’s day and age, our focus should be more on making room for new talent instead of creating gender-specific roles. Talent should be one of the main selection criteria. Women make good leaders, and multi-tasking and problem solving comes naturally to them. One must also factor in the EQ quotient when it comes to women. A challenge that is specific to women is finding the right balance between the various roles they plan in their everyday lives.”

Sucheta Nagpal, Director & CEO, Travstarz Global Group

“Over the years, the tourism industry has seen the influx of women. Many  of the top positions are led by women and there is no gender bias. All-women groups are being formed, which not only work for the empowerment  of women, but also work for social welfare. In the tourism and hospitality business, we can see various examples where women have led from the front in creating big brands and have shaped their entrepreneurial journey. Now, more women are active participants of the industry.

Beena Menon, Director, Beautiful Planet

The travel industry is one that offers women the perfect opportunity to break the glass ceiling. Today, so many travel agencies, hotels and airlines have women at senior positions. They are extremely competent and are able to take on leadership roles with ease. Today, there is an emergence of women travelling on business trips as well as group and solo holidays, and women understand the needs of women travellers best. There are hardly any challenges for women in our industry, only opportunities to prove themselves. This industry is growing rapidly.”

Shalini KJ, Chief Travel Curator, Click2Travel

“Women in the travel industry are doing brilliantly well. I think, women have always been a part of the travel industry as much as the men. I have always had women bosses, and I’ve been one as well. We try our best and take initiatives to empower our women staff to grow, right from allowing them to work from home or granting extended maternity leaves. We are very happy to accommodate all their requests. We do what we can to offer an understanding work environment.”

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