Women in Travel (CIC) started life as a gender focussed platform at World Travel Market flagship event in London, in 2014. Growing successfully from then onwards, in 2017 it was incorporated as a social enterprise, meaning a commercial company that reinvests all profits into its mission.
We still run events with our partners at World Travel Market, in London, Dubai (Arabian Travel Market) and Cape Town (WTM Africa) but also engage with other organisations such as Travel Tech Lab, Hotelympia and more. In the latter part of 2017 we have held a BAME focussed women entrepreneurs’ event and more recently have proudly launched women returners services working with Crisis UK to get women back into travel, tourism and hospitality jobs.
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Alessandra Alonso, MBA, MSc – Founder
Alessandra is a senior professional with 20 years of experience in and around the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industry. Alessandra started her career as a trainee in Tourism at the European Commission. Having held senior positions in prestigious companies including The World Travel & Tourism Council and KPMG she subsequently pursued her passion for supporting women and diversity more generally in the industry by setting up consultancy Shine and co-founding the Shine Awards for Women’s Achievement in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality in 2004. Recognised as a trail-blazer in the sector, Shine mentored and coached hundreds of female mentees from the sector and run highly successful tourism skills programmes across the UK, between 2003 and 2010. The Shine Awards remain the original women focussed awards and still run today through sector skills council People1st. While continuing her activity as coach and consultant, Alessandra’s commitment to gender led her to lunch a women in travel focussed programme at World Travel Market in London. Since 2014 the event has grown to a half –day programme and 3 countries, covering WTM London, Arabian Travel Market and now WTM Africa.
In January 2017 Women in Travel was registered as a social enterprise, with the aim to leverage a thriving global travel and tourism industry and its suppliers to provide women with the opportunity to fulfil their economic and individual potential through employability and entrepreneurship. Alessandra’s vision is to provide communities in key regions (UK, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) with a sustainable livelihood by enabling women to become economically independent through entrepreneurship and a thriving career in the travel and tourism industry and in so doing, to become a recognised catalyst for women empowerment in the international travel and tourism sector. Women in Travel is growing from strength to strength with entrepreneurship events, mentoring and a soon to-be-launched Women Returners service at its heart.
Alessandra’s expertise and passion for gender diversity and mentoring women has long been recognised. She has served on many industry committees/boards and is regularly called to advise, speak at conferences and contribute to articles and blogs. Alessandra is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire’s Business School and at the University of Normandy. She has enjoyed guest speaking opportunities at a number of other academic institutions. Alessandra is a qualified coach –mentor for performance in the workplace. She is Italian but multilingual and has lived in London for over 20 years. She has two boys and loves the outdoor, keeping fit and cooking.
Women in Travel (CIC) could not be where it is today without the support of some remarkable, committed and experienced industry professionals. They are: