Agents and operators are highlighting travel partnerships and holidays which tie into the spirit of International Women’s Day on Monday (March 8).

Online agency and social enterprise Charitable Travel will launch a partnership on Monday with Girl About Travel Club – an all-female online travel community.

The partnership aims to “harness the community spirit” of the Girl About Travel Club, with the range of holidays offered by Charitable Travel.

Club members can donate a percentage of the holiday cost to a choice of charities, such as Young Women’s Trust, Freedom4Girls, Bloody Good Period or Women For Women.

Melissa Tilling, founder of Charitable Travel said the community of women in the Girl About Travel Club are “thoughtful and discerning about the travel experiences they seek, and this care leads to responsible decisions about what and how they choose their next holiday, staycation, cruise or adventure”.

Meanwhile, Exodus Travels is highlighting its sponsorship of a scholarship fund which gives Tanzanian women the chance to train as mountain guides on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The adventure operator says the Mountain Lioness Scholarship ties into the IWD theme for this year, which is #ChooseToChallenge.

Exodus is funding and facilitating 10 scholarships per year for three years for women to be trained as Kilimanjaro guides.

The first group of 10 Mountain Lionesses were selected in 2020 and graduated from the programme in October as fully qualified Kilimanjaro guides.

One of the graduates, Kitaba Wadia Kapanya (pictured left), said: “Being a female safari and mountain guide has always been my dream. I hope we’ll be an inspiration to other women in the local community and encourage them to follow their dreams to become a mountain guide.”

The operator has two Kilimanjaro tours, during which guests may be guided by one of the Mountain Lionesses.

Its Kilimanjaro Climb – Lemosho Route – is part of Exodus’s new 2021 collection called Epic Adventure Challenges.


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Elsewhere, cruise line Viking is highlighting the “inspiring” women who have become godmothers to its cruise ships, and “pioneering, trailblazing” women who have been featured on its Viking.TV channel.

Wendy Atkin-Smith, managing director of Viking UK, was made godmother to Viking Sigrun in 2019 and UK team members Clare Armitage and Faye Pirie were both honoured with the titles in 2015 when Viking named 12 of its longest-serving employees as ceremonial godmothers.

Developed by Viking’s executive vice-president, Karine Hagen, Viking.TV has hosted interviews during the pandemic with some of the “most ground-breaking and successful women” from around the world.

They include broadcaster Anne Diamond – soon to become godmother to Viking Venus, the cruise line’s seventh ocean ship – and musician Debbie Wiseman, composer of Viking’s signature score, The Traveller.

Others include yachtswoman, author and activist Tracy Edwards; polar explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft; and astronaut Dr Anna Fisher.

Another cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, will celebrate the first anniversary of its inaugural all-female bridge and onboard leadership team.

The women behind this maritime first are reuniting online to discuss the challenging year that followed. Some will take part from home and others will be onboard Celebrity Edge in the Bahamas.

Those taking part include captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain; Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the first female president and chief executive of Celebrity Cruises; and chief officer Rachel Arnold, from Bristol in the UK.

The discussion will be on Celebrity Cruises’ Facebook Watch Party at 5pm (GMT) on Monday (March 8).

Meanwhile, all four bosses of Internova Travel Group’s UK businesses have pledged to continue to challenge gender bias.

Three quarters of the most senior positions at the group, which includes Altour UK, Barrhead Travel, Global Travel Collection and Your Event Solutions, are filled by females – and women represent 56% of the brands’ wider leadership teams.

Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said: “I am proud to say that seven out of nine of our directors are female, many of whom started as trainees or travel consultants and have progressed as the business has expanded and grown – myself included.

“I have worked more than 20 years in almost every part of our business.  In a culture where having a family was an asset, not a hinderance to career advancement and where there were plenty of female role models to mentor and inspire.

“That strong and diverse leadership team has been essential as we navigated through the challenge of pandemic, supporting colleagues and customers alike.

“The key is not parachuting in female talent from outside into senior roles, but to grow and nurture our own.”

Maria Baty, managing director of Altour UK, added: “The theme this year for IWD of ‘Choose to Challenge’ is very relevant. The travel industry has been challenged like no other during the last year of the pandemic and my team has been challenged by the events of this year and worked hard to ensure the continued success of the business.

“They have challenged themselves not only in the workplace but outside in their communities. Choosing to support other women and their local communities to make a difference to those around them benefits society as a whole as well has having a meaningful impact on how we value one another in the workplace.

“We’re proud to be working on an initiative to encourage and foster an environment of support and mentoring amongst our colleagues.”