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Celebrating Women Empowerment in Travel and Tourism

image courtesy of Praveen Raj from Pixabay

The newest initiative of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and Women in TAAI and Tourism (WITT) organized its first conclave in New Delhi to celebrate Women’s Empowerment. The event’s success can be gauged by the fact that more than 200 TAAI and WITT members along with extensive media were present during the deliberations. Initiated in 2021 by the dynamic president of TAAI, Mrs. Jyoti Mayal of WITT is an integral part of the TAAI.

Bettaiah Lokesh, Hon, Secretary General, delivering the introductory remarks and setting the tone of the conclave, apprised the attendees of the contribution of women in various sectors, be it politics, leadership, decision making on various fronts, education, healthcare, etc.

Taking the conclave forward, Jyoti Mayal, President, introduced the Office Bearers and Managing Committee members present at the August gathering. In her welcome address, Mayal introduced the idea, formation, and process involved in setting up WITT, which was well received and appreciated by the attendees. She shared a three-step approach to entrepreneurship, employment, and leadership based on which women are contributing to the world. Mayal also referred to the statistics issued by various organizations including the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), International Labour Organization (ILO), and UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), wherein the contribution of women has been recorded.

WITT achieved its core objective which is to involve “women in tourism” to join hands to empower the women of India, as Shri G. Kamala Rao, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, praised and appreciated the efforts made in his keynote speech. He went on to highlight the importance of women in Indian culture and quoted various verses from ancient Sanskrit texts wherein the importance of women has been demarcated.

Mr. Praveen Kumar, former Secretary of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) profoundly thanked WITT for organizing such a conclave. In his remarks, he agreed to the fact that:

Women’s contributions in the travel trade must be highlighted.

And the focus should be on turning the unorganized contribution into organized so that women get their due share of recognition and growth. Mr. Kumar also communicated that he would take up with the MSDE the sensitivity of having more women-centric programs initiated and floated to extend support to the community.

The first session, Weaving Tales, moderated by Jyoti Mayal, had the presence of esteemed panelists Rupinder Brar, ADG, Ministry of Tourism; Navina Jafa, Cultural Activist; Shazia IImi, Politician and Journalist; Jahnabi Phookan, Past President, FICCI Flo; Sanjay Bose, ITC’s Hotels; and Aarti Manocha, celebrated Wedding Planner. The deliberations and tales were around mentoring safety, security, hygiene, and also issues and challenges which are usually faced by women. Comprehensive capacity building programs at various levels and empowering women to lead were also deliberated.

The second session, Create your Sunshine, had esteemed panelists Sandeep Dwivedi, COO, Interglobe; Nandita Kanchan, Commissioner of Income Tax (Delhi); Charu Wali Khanna, Advocate; Parineeta Sethi, Publisher; Sonia Bharwani, VFS; and Aditi Malik, Soft Skills Expert. Moderating the session, Jay Bhatia sought input from everyone on various issues related to taxation, legal aspects, skills required, and the contribution of women in various sectors and how they today were empowered with skills to create their sunshine.

The SATTE team that partnered with WITT unveiled the Shakti Awards logo at the conclave and felicitated various women leaders: Rupinder Barar, ADG, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; Chef Manisha Bhasin, Sr. Executive Chef at ITC Hotels for the outstanding contribution in hospitality; Navina Jafa, Cultural Activist, Dancer and Academician for the outstanding contribution in promoting Heritage Tourism; Arshdeep Anand, Board of Director at Holiday Moods Adventures Groups of Companies, for promoting Adventure Tourism; Jahnabi Phookan, Founder of Jungle Travels India, for the outstanding contribution in the Holistic promotion of tourism in NE India; and, The Leader of Future – Kanika Tekaiwal, Founder of JetSetGo India.

To conclude, Shreeram Patel, Hon. Treasurer, delivered a vote of thanks with a special mention of VFS Global, SATTE, Indigo, the Government of India – Incredible India, and the Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council (THSC) for supporting the cause and making the conclave a success.

Managing Committee members Shri Anoop Kanuga, Dr. P. Murugesan, Shri Ramasamy Venkatachalam, and Shri Kulvinder Singh Kohli were an integral part of the conclave along with past President Balbir Mayal whose empowerment for President Jyoti Mayal was appreciated.

About the author

Anil Mathur - eTN India

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