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Celebrating Her 2017

ITB Berlin 2017 - Celebrating Her: Global Awards for empowered women in tourism - Group photo

The Celebration of the International Global Peace Award for Empowered Women in Tourism in 2017 was held on International Women’s Day – Wed 08 Mar, at ITB Berlin in the historic Palais am Funkturm. In association with ITB Berlin, the UNWTO, IIPT India is conducting the 2nd edition of the with the title “Celebrating Her”

The IIPTI Global Awards, “Celebrating Her” are intended to acknowledge and felicitate exceptional women in the fields of travel, tourism and hospitality; individuals with a clarity of vision and mission  who understand and believe that tourism, perhaps the biggest industry in the world, could become the first global peace industry and who have relentlessly worked towards fostering the tourism business as a vehicle for peace and sustainable development.

Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO was presenting the awards to the women.

You can find all original pictures at ITB Press Platform  (Awards): and some 365 Degree Photos at Panono:

Following some quotes from the organizers and the Awardee women:

The Initiators

Ajay Prakash, President, International Institute for Peace Through Tourism – India

"Gender equality and gender justice are critical to realizing the vision of Peace. You cannot achieve anything meaningful if you leave out half the world's population! Each one of us has a stake in Peace, and none more so than women. Through the Celebrating Her awards we hope to create a global community of powerful women in the fields of travel & hospitality - IIPT's global Ambassadors of Peace, who will network and collaborate as they inspire other women to take up the challenge to Make Peace."

Rika Jean-Francois, Commissioner ITB Corporate Social Responsibility, CompetenceCentre Travel & Logistics, ITB Berlin – The world’s leading travel trade show ®

“ITB wants to send out a signal to all these women in tourism who carry all the work on their shoulders but are never put in the spotlight even though they would really deserve it. We want to rise awareness for gender equality and help stagnant structures to be dismantled.”

The Awardees 2017

Ruth Hopfer-Kubsch, Germany. Director of Studiosus Foundation, for Responsible Tourism

The Initators about Ruth:

A true pioneer of initiatives focused on addressing human right imbalances and the ability to mobilise tourism as a means of addressing same, Ruth is well know and regarded for her creation in 2005 of the STUDIOSUS FOUNDATION. In her own words:

“This non-profit association promotes projects worldwide to improve living conditions, protect nature and preserve cultural heritage. Till today more than 120 projects have been supported, actually I am working actively with 30 projects. Currently, the focus is on supporting projects to strengthen gender equality, as well as the development of educational opportunities for children, young people and women in different countries.”

“I see this award as a great honor. It is an encouragement to step forward with my activities and to find new ideas. The “Celebrating Her” Award connects me with other powerful women working for similar objectives. It will be great to exchange experience and to learn from each other. If this award can be a starting point for a new network of powerful and committed women we will make our engagement even stronger and encourage others to do the same.”

Ha Lam - Vietnam. Co-founder of, for using technology to empower local communities

In her own words: “At the time I founded Triip, I was already a eight -year hospitality & tourism industry veteran. However, I was extremely dissatisfied with the nature of the industry on three levels: negative local business & environmental impact, unequal compensation for local guides, and lack of cultural depth for travelers. Today, we have 6,000 local experts in over 100 countries on our platform, and thousands of travelers have used Triip with a 98% Happiness Rate after experiencing one of our triips.”

Ishita Khanna - India. Co-founder of Ecosphere, for Eco Tourism

ISHITA KHANNA– India, Cofounder of Ecoshpere – an organisation clearly well ahead of its time.

Born and raised at the foothills of the Himalayas, the mountains have always been close to Ishita’s heart. In 2002 she co-founded Ecosphere, a social enterprise that works in the remote Spiti valley, a high altitude cold desert in the Trans-Himalayan ranges of India that shares stark cultural and ecological similarities with its neighbor Tibet.

In her own words,: “Ecosphere is a social enterprise working in the high altitude cold desert valley of Spiti using tourism as a tool to address conservation concerns and development needs linking these to local economies to enable a more sustainable and holistic development of the region.”

Mmatsatsi Ramawela - South Africa. CEO of Tourism Business Council of S.A. for Tourism Leadership

MMATSATSI RAMAWELA - South Africa, the CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa

Now, technically speaking I could read out to you her numerous roles, expecially her being at the forefront of lobbying nationally for critical advances in tourism in a country in which 1 in 8 people look to Tourism as a means of daily stability, opportunity, identity, pride and hope. She is fearless, truly fearless, in tackling head-on industry issues critical to sector and national growth: transformation, gender equality, policy development, air access, visas, cultural preservation, taxation. When she gets that look in her eye,things get done!

There are many ways to describe Mmatsatsi. But for me, she is best described as one of Africa’s greatest LIONESSES.

Claudia Brozel - Germany. Professor, University for Sustainable Development, for eTourism and Entrepreneurship in Tourism

Prof. Dr. Claudia Brözel, Germany, a critical source of communication of our industry as a force for good.

In her own words: “I started with an apprenticeship in a hotel in the black forrest. Then I travelled and worked for 2 years on the canary islands and got an idea of how tourism changes a destination. When I came back a started a study program for tourism and economics. I was very unsatisfied with the content of the program so I searched for critical words and ideas about tourism development. And how to change this industry

Today after a long experience in the industry, as a professor in eTourism and Entrepreneurship, as she says,

it is great if I can encourage my students to think on their own - it is one of my biggest aims mainly the women - in the tourism education we have a lot of women but if you look outside in the industry we are missing more women as CEOs or leading positions in the companies- to get things changed!

“I feel very honored and I think the Award „Celebrating Her“ is the starting point of a very powerful network of engaged women that starts now to make the positive power of women in tourism more visible and appreciated. Academic education is like seeding. If I can inspire my students to think different, we can make the difference.”

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