Women in Travel conference to feature area for neurodivergent guests

The International Women in Travel and Tourism Forum (IWTTF) 2023 is claiming an industry first by offering a “quiet hub” with meditation zone for guests who are neurodivergent.

The area, next to the main conference room, will also boast a mindfulness zone and a relaxation zone.

IWTFF founder Alessandra Alonso said: “We believe we are the first travel industry conference in the UK, and perhaps globally, to offer such a facility.”

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The conference, which is being hosted by Google at its King’s Cross office, London, on Wednesday, June 21, and Thursday, June 22, will also have events on neurodiversity as part of its programme.

Within the quiet hub, the meditation zone’s seats will be equipped with a device offering meditation, autonomous sensory meridian response, and white, pink and brown noise. Guests will also have use of a noise-cancelling bluetooth headset.

The mindfulness zone will have colouring books, puzzle books and jigsaws, while the relaxation zone will have bean bags, floor cushions and noise-cancelling ear muffs. Other features include a “decaf coffee and herbal tea bar with infused water and fresh fruit bowl”, sensory lighting, calming mists and massage cushions.

The conference sessions will include a conversation between Alonso and Attraction World chief executive Olly Nicholls, who has spoken previously about his experiences of living with ADHD.

Alonso said: “IWTTF will be an opportunity to discuss embracing hidden talent in our industry and we are grateful to Attraction World Group and in particular to Olly, for not only facilitating the quiet hub, but for sharing how a better understanding of his ADHD has helped him and his business to thrive.”

Nicholls said: “I want to recognise Alessandra and IWTTF for not only seeing the value of adding a quiet hub to the facilities at IWTTF, which I and many others in the room will appreciate, but for giving neurodiversity such prominence on the IWTTF agenda.

“With an estimated one in seven people being neurodivergent, it is really important to be having these conversations.”

Jaz Ampaw-Farr, IWTTF’s keynote speaker, described the quiet hub as a “fantastic” addition.

She added: “As someone with lived experience of neurodiversity, in myself, in students I have taught and in people around me, I know that the more we empathise and support these needs, the more we are helping to nurture and grow talent.”

Tickets are sold out, but there is a waiting list.

Photo: Alessandra Alonso

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