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WTM London Joins BAME Women in Travel for Virtual Webinar Sessions

WTM London Joins BAME Women in Travel for Virtual Webinar Sessions

WTM London has joined forces with Women in Travel (CIC), the social enterprise dedicated to empowering women through employability and entrepreneurship, to host a series of webinars and blogs on race, allyship, risk and diversity in the travel industry.

The partnership began with the first BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Women in Travel virtual panel discussion on Thursday 10 September 2020, called Allyship: The driving force for diversity and inclusion in the travel industry? The session will take a ‘deep dive’ into the concept of allyship and how this can be used to drive diversity and inclusion within the industry.

The panel was hosted by Jamie-Lee Abtar, Executive Director, BAME Women In Travel, who is a marketing, media communication and brand partnership consultant at 22:19, where she has worked with brands and destinations such as the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and Sri Lanka Training Program to attract new diverse audiences through compelling campaigns.

She was joined by insiders in order to get to the core of addressing racial equality as a social, moral and business issue through the lens of fostering allyship in the workplace.

The panel covered how employers can cultivate a sense of belonging for employees and provided practical examples form the travel industry, drawing on BAME Women in Travel’s work through customised training and mentoring.

On the panel were:

Eulanda Osagiede, Co-Founder, Hey! Dip Your Toes In, an award-winning blog that promotes creative digital content with a focus on global travel and food culture. She has helped travel, tourism and food culture brands such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Virgin Voyages and Etihad Airways to tell their stories and create compelling digital content. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Lonely Planet, House of Coco magazine, Culture Trip, Matador Network, Voyager, CULTURS, Blogosphere magazine, and others.

Uwern Jong, Experientialist-in-Chief, OutThere magazine, the luxury and experiential travel journal rooted in diversity, discovery and discernment. Through OutThere, Uwern also delivers bespoke content creation and creative branding, primarily working with destinations and travel brands, specialising in luxury and inclusive LGBT+ and diversity-driven content for the modern traveller.

He is the founder of the global LGBT+ Travel Symposium series, helping and training travel brands to be more inclusive in their outreach; co-founder of Stockholm LGBT, a members-based destination marketing platform, and a board director at International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA). He was the 2020 winner of Editor of the Year at the Campaign Publishing Awards and led the title to win Travel Media’s Publication of the Year 2018 award.

Bex Shapiro, Senior Editorial Manager, Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest adventure travel company and an industry leader in responsible tourism. In her role, she partners with content creators aligned with Intrepid’s passion for travel as a force for good. When she is not managing blog and social content at work, the Vancouver-based Brit is also a freelance writer. She has been published in the Guardian, VICE, ELLE, and the Huffington Post.

Alex Temblador, freelance travel writer and award-winning author of Secrets of the Casa Rosada and the upcoming Half Outlaw. She is a Mixed Latinx writer based in Dallas, Texas, and is best known for her work on diversity and inclusion in the travel, arts, and design spaces. Bylines include Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, TravelPulse, The Daily Beast, Architectural Digest, and Lonely Planet.

Roberto Balasco, Direct Sales Manager, Celebrity Cruises and co-lead of the MORE ERG group at Royal Group. He has been in the travel industry for 22 years, starting as an apprentice at the age of 18 at Thomas Cook. Roberto joined the MORE group as he wanted to see a change in the society we live in and to see equal opportunities provided for everyone no matter of what race, colour, sex or background someone was from and to help push diversity and inclusion in the work place to greater levels.

Jamie-Lee Abtar said: “Allyship is the driving force for encouraging diversity and inclusion in the travel and tourism industry, so working closely with WTM London to promote this offers a fantastic opportunity for BAME Women in Travel to publicly foster greater inclusion for the black, Asian, and minority ethnic community in this sector.”

Simon Press, WTM London Senior Exhibition Director, said: “Our partnership with Women in Travel promises to provide thought-provoking sessions and talking points, with the aim of creating greater representation to make the travel industry the most successful it can be.”

Alessandra Alonso, Founder, Women in Travel (CIC), added: “Through teaming up with WTM London, a formidable travel industry ally, Women in Travel aims to empower women by educating men and women across the industry of the importance of acting as an ally and promoting allyship in order to drive change, and to ensure that travel organisations attract, recruit, retain and develop BAME and diverse talent.”

Allyship: The driving force for diversity and inclusion in the travel industry? took place on Thursday 10 September.

Virtual Webinars in November

Women in Travel will also host two virtual webinars during the first ever WTM Virtual event on 9-11 November 2020.

The first will see Women in Travel unpick the concept of risk by looking through the lens of diversity. The webinar, led by Women in Travel Founder Alessandra Alonso, will focus on how the perception of risk is changing. During the webinar the expert panel of speakers will discuss the risk related to travel safety in light of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The second virtual webinar, hosted by BAME Women in Travel, will uncover racial risk and during WTM Virtual Women in Travel will also offer live mentoring sessions to foster support for women and help develop their entrepreneurial and employment goals and perspectives.

The partnership with WTM London will also see Women in Travel publish content about the importance of allyship as the key driver of fostering inclusion in the travel industry on WTM‘s Global Hub Blog, with the first post available to view here: https://bit.ly/3ljxU1q.

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, editor and proofreader for 53 years, and ITTN's News & Features Editor for 43 years. His travel blog is at www.thetravelbuddhist.com.

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