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International Institute for Peace through Tourism | India

IIPT India Confers 2nd "Celebrating Her" awards at ITB Berlin

IIPT India successfully concluded the 2nd Celebrating Her awards at ITB Berlin on 8th March, International Women’s Day, conferring awards on five exceptional women from across the world. Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General UNWTO, delivered the keynote address and gave away the awards to five outstanding tourism professionals from across the world. Organized in association with UNWTO and ITB Berlin, IIPT India’s Celebrating Her awards have now become an important calendar event at ITB Berlin.

The Awards ceremony was preceded by a panel discussion on tangible steps that can be taken in 2017, the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, to further empower women in the fields of tourism and hospitality. Panelists included Ambassador Gurjit Singh – Indian Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Alain St. Ange – former Minister of Tourism for Seychelles, Ms. Sunita Rajan – VP Asia-Pacific Advertising Sales for CNN International and Ms. Rika Jean-Francois – Commissioner for CSR for ITB Berlin. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Anita Mendiratta, celebrated tourism author, Special Advisor to UNWTO Secretary General and Lead Consultant of CNN´s International T.A.S.K. Group.

 Speaking at the event Ajay Prakash, President IIPT India said it was coincidental that the awards were being held this year on International Women’s Day but in order to be meaningful the spirit of the Awards needed to go beyond mere tokenism.  

“The three biggest threat facing the planet today,” he said, “are the state of the environment, widespread poverty and the threat of global terrorism, and to counter them we must strengthen the three pillars of peace – Environmental sustainability, Economic development and Social empowerment but in order to do this successfully we must include the other half of the world’s population – womankind.”

“There’s nothing to be achieved by coming here and honouring five women every year if we do not honour all women for the other 364 days of the year,” he said.

In her opening remarks, Rika Jean-Francois welcomed IIPT India’s commitment to promoting gender equality and welcomed the 2nd edition of the Celebrating Her awards which, she said, served to put the spotlight on women who are doing excellent work and could serve as role models for others in the industry.

In his keynote address Dr. Taleb Rifai lauded IIPT India’s initiative and stated that the declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations is a clear recognition of the potential contribution of tourism to social progress, equality and prosperity and peace and that tourism must be at the forefront of the 2020 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He went on to add that women are still grossly underrepresented at decision making levels in the tourism industry and that initiatives like the Celebrating Her awards are a good way to raise awareness of the role of women in sustainable development leading to peace. He congratulated the award winners and expressed the hope that the award would motivate them to achieve greater ambitions.

This year’s award winners:

  • Ishita Khanna - India. Co-founder of Ecosphere, for Community Eco Tourism
  • Ha Lam - Vietnam. Co-founder of, for using Technology to Empower Local Communities
  • Claudia Brozel - Germany. Professor, University of Sustainable Development, for Tourism Education
  • Ruth Hopfer-Kubsch - Germany. Director of Studiosus Foundation, for Responsible Tourism
  • Mmatsatsi Ramawela - South Africa. CEO of Tourism Business Council of S.A., for Tourism Leadership