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International Institute for Peace through Tourism | India

IIPT India Presents Awards to Empowered Women in Indian Tourism

The Maharashtra International Travel Mart concluded on 29 Sep with a Valedictory function and the 1st IIPT India Awards for Empowered Women in Indian Tourism at the JW Marriott, International Airport, Mumbai.

The IIPT India Awards were hosted by Maharashtra Tourism. The event was attended by delegates, hosted buyers and sellers, travel agents, tour operators, airline and agency representatives and government officials. The Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra, Ch. Vidyasagar Rao presented the Awards in the presence of Shri Sudhir Mungantiwar, Hon. Minister of Finance, Forests & Planning, Hon. Minister of State for Tourism, Prof. Ram Naik, Smt. Valsa Nair Singh, Secretary for Tourism and Shri Paraag Jaiin, Managing Director of MTDC.

In his introductory speech, Mr. Ajay Prakash, President of IIPT India thanked Maharashtra Tourism for their support and recounted a brief history of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism. Founded in 1986 by Dr. Louis D’Amore, IIPT works closely with the UNWTO, various state governments and other like-minded organizations to promote peace. It is founded on the vision that tourism, the biggest industry in the world, can become the first global peace industry and that every tourist is potentially an Ambassador for Peace. He also advised the audience that though Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General on the UNWTO, could not be here in person, he had sent a personal video message of support and congratulations to IIPT India.

Expounding on the Awards, Prakash stated that the purpose was to recognize, honour and felicitate women who had not only empowered themselves through tourism but continue to empower others, too. The Award winners, he stated, were women who had contributed to the community in a meaningful fashion and were role models. IIPT India will conduct the International Awards for Empowered Women in Tourism at the ITB Berlin in March 2016. The Awards will be held in association with UNWTO and ITB under the title “Celebrating Her.”


  1. Ms. Anita Deshpande – Co Founder of “Temple Pilots” for contribution to Adventure Tourism
  2. Ms. Rashmi Sawant – Founder of “Culture Aangan” for contribution to Rural Tourism
  3. Ms. Pamela Gale Malhotra – Co Founder of “SAI Santuary” for services in Protecting Nature and Promoting Eco Friendly Tourism
  4. Ms. Sampada Kulkarni – Co Founder of “Aanadache Shet” for contribution to Agri Tourism and the Organic Greening of India
  5. Ms. Neelu Singh – COO of Ezeego1 for the Integration of Technology in Travel & Tourism

The Hon’ble Governor congratulated the winners and in his animated speech on the benefits of tourism Minister Mungantiwar said that any initiative or enterprise which honoured women was bound to be blessed by success.

IIPT India also conducted two Knowledge Sessions during the MITM. “Tourism – A Powerful Tool for Peace” was the first session on 28 Sep. The Speakers included Mr. Dipak Haksar, COO of ITC Hotels, Dr. Patrick Kalifungwa, ex Minister for Tourism & Industry, Govt. of Zambia & Vice Chancellor of the Livingstone International University of Excellence in Tourism and Business Management, Lusaka, Ms. Kia Scherr, President of One Like Alliance and Mr. Kiran Yadav, Vice President of IIPT India. The session was Moderated by Mr. Ajay Prakash, President IIPT India. “That peace is necessary for tourism is axiomatic,” stated Prakash, “The purpose of the session is to explore how tourism could foster peace.”

“The Critical Role of Women in Tourism & Strategies to Empower Women” was the subject of the second session on 29 Sep. Ms. Rika Jean-Francois, Commissioner for CSR at ITB, Ms. Archana Tomar, founder of Mountain People, Ms. Michelle Kakade the only Indian woman to have completed marathons in four deserts and Ms. Parvathy Omanakuttan, Miss India 2008 and 1st Runner-up Miss World 2008 were the Speakers. The session was moderated by Dr. Patrick Kalifungwa. Each of the Speakers drew upon her personal experience, thoughts and beliefs to highlight women’s contribution to tourism and peace.

IIPT India is a not-for-profit Section 8 Company registered with the Indian ROC.

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