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Women are reaching for the stars

© Christian Lue

The ITB Berlin NOW honours three influential women from the tourism industry with the ITB IIPT Celebrating Her Awards

On Tuesday at the ITB Berlin NOW three influential women from the tourism industry received the ITB IIPT Celebrating Her Awards, which were being presented this year for the fifth time by ITB Berlin and the International Institute For Peace Through Tourism (IIPT), Section India.

The first of the three recipients was Petra Hedorfer, long-serving chief executive of the German National Tourist Board ( “Throughout my entire career sustainability has been a core objective, because tourism would not be possible without protecting the environment”, explained Hedorfer, whose own efforts have made a major contribution to establishing Germany internationally as a sustainable and barrier-free destination. Hedorfer expressed her delight during the virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, saying “I am very proud to accept the Celebrating Her Award".

The second recipient, Sonal Asgotraa from India, is a woman who is literally reaching for the stars. She is primarily concerned with combining astrotourism and homestay offers ( She has already implemented a number of successful model projects in the highlands of Ladakh in the Indian Himalayan region. “All too often astrotourism does not include local communities. We want to change this and combine it with a community experience. Instead of scientists, our approach is to let local people explain the stars, and they can describe their own connection with the stars”, according to Sonal Asgotraa.

The third award went to Natalia Bayona from Colombia, director of Innovation, Education and Investments for the World Tourism Organization. Her responsibilities include innovation and digital transformation, which involves cooperation with dedicated female entrepreneurs ( “Together with women all over the world I am working to achieve a more innovative and more peaceful future", asserted Bayona.

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