We’re delighted to reveal our shortlist for Gender Equality Champion of the Year 2024, with an extra special announcement – we’ll be crowning two champions at ITB Berlin this year. 

After receiving a number of high-quality applications, we’ve separated the award into two categories, Accommodation and Travel and Destinations. 

Our judging panel will meet this month to decide the winners, both of which we will announce and honour at ITB Berlin on 6th March. In the meantime, allow us to introduce the shortlisted candidates who proved they’re pushing forward gender equality in the industry, from Barcelona to Brazil. 

Accommodation Shortlist 

NH Hotel Group part of Minor Hotels

NH Hotel Group, part of Minor Hotels, has made DEI a pillar of its corporate culture, including robust policies and initiatives on gender. Its Second Equality Plan focuses on eliminating gender inequalities, covering everything from recruitment and work-life balance to awareness training. The measures are continually monitored to check progress too.

The chain also fosters job security with indefinite contracts and has a Protocol Against Sexual Harassment to provide a safe and respectful environment for all employees. 

Two women working on front desk at NH Hotel

Accor Brazil Embrace Program

Accor Brazil‘s application stood out for their Embrace Program. Women who have experienced violence receive accommodation in their hotels, emotional support, social reintegration and training through the Accor Academy, creating opportunities to join the labour market. 

Accor Brazil also advocated for the ratification of International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions aimed at eliminating workplace violence and harassment, particularly gender-based violence. The Guide of Good Practices for Hosting also helps general managers tackle gender discrimination within their roles. 

Brazilian beach

CETT Barcelona School of Tourism, Hospitality & Gastronomy

Tourism school CETT is also home of Hotel Alimara Barcelona, where students put theory into practice. The company has an Equality Plan that promotes gender balance at all organisational levels, as well as empowering women in leadership roles. 

By reviewing and adjusting salary structures so all employees receive fair compensation for their contributions, CETT has achieved pay equity. The institute has also taken steps to raise awareness about gender equality issues through educational programmes and workshops. 

Hotel Alimara Barcelona

London Heathrow Marriott

As mentioned in our round-up of 2023 good news stories, Marriott is a leader in tourism when it comes to DEI. Its London Heathrow hotel takes pride in its high percentage of women compared to men and especially of the fact its executive committee consists of more women than men, with a ratio of 4:2. They actively promote sustainable development within the business, focusing on the well-being and engagement of staff.

Exterior of London Heathrow Marriott

Travel and Destinations Shortlist

Solidestinations India

Through their tours, Solidestinations India champions the female tea-growers in Tamil Nadu – the people at the heart of the lucrative industry, who usually feel the smallest economic and social benefits. All those working with them benefit from training to move towards more responsibilities and autonomy. 

They also support girls and young people in the community through educational scholarships, preparing them for a future professional life. 

Tea farm Tamil Nadu with Solidestinations logo

3 Sisters Adventure Trekking

Based in Pokhara and leading Himalayan adventures for women, 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking empowers Nepalese women in the tourism sector. The company collaborates with Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN) to offer free, skill-based training programmes and employment opportunities for women. The organisation addresses the gender gap in Nepal’s tourism industry by training women as trekking guides, challenging societal norms and providing well-paid positions.

3 Sisters also ensures professional growth and creates a safe, women-friendly work environment through actions like offering educational scholarships and prioritising safety measures for women.

Tour group with 3 Sister Adventure Trekking guides

Eternal Landscapes 

Since its beginnings in 2010, tour operator Eternal Landscapes has been steadfast in promoting gender equality and empowering women in Mongolia’s tourism sector. They create employment and training opportunities for women from outside the industry, helping them become guides and benefit from local tourism. 

A training programme builds skills, confidence and knowledge, benefitting the guides both professionally and personally. Looking ahead, Eternal Landscapes aims to create a community-based centre where they can formalise and further develop this programme.  

Collaborations with international women-only tour operators also further enhance the skills and career prospects of female team members. 

Group of Eternal Landscapes tour guides in Mongolia

Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board

The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board in India is responsible for increasing tourism in the state and runs a range of initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality in the local sector. Notable efforts include launching the Responsible Tourism Mission, which encompasses a range of projects where women play a pivotal role. 

For instance, the Responsible Souvenir project empowers local women through art and craft training, while Project Clean Destinations involves female community members in operating a Material Recovery Facility. 

Orchha Chattris at sunset in Madhya Pradesh

Responsible Travel Ecuador 

Ecuadorian travel operator Responsible Travel strives to embed inclusivity in its operations. Women’s leadership is encouraged and they have certifications in LGBTQ+ inclusion and initiatives against violence towards women.  

Their dedication to gender equality extends beyond the office walls too. The tour operator sources their supplies from women-led ventures, such as the Inti Sisa sewing centre in Guatote, which supports vulnerable women. Meanwhile, their travel packages for female passengers are led by women guides and showcase women-led community-based tourism initiatives. 

Responsible Travel team photo

Join Us at ITB Berlin

Both winners will be announced at 4.30pm on the 6th March, on the Hybrid Stage in Hall 5.3 at ITB Berlin. Everyone is invited to join us for the presentation and panel discussion, followed by a drinks reception. 

We can’t wait to connect with more organisations and people in the industry excited about spearheading gender equality. Let us know if you’ll be there and spread the word on LinkedIn

About our Sponsors: The SHA

We’re thrilled the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) is sponsoring Gender Equality Champion of the Year for a second time. Their support for the Award is in keeping with their mission to inspire and facilitate lasting positive impact in the industry. 

SHA CEO Glenn Mundziak has said, “Inspiration ignites change, and as we proudly sponsor the Gender Equality Champion of the Year Award for the second year, we embrace the opportunity to celebrate organisations that embody the spirit of progress. In our collective journey towards Net Positive Hospitality, let us acknowledge and honour those who prioritize gender equality. 

“This award not only illuminates best practices but also serves as a catalyst, propelling the hospitality sector towards a future where fairness and inclusivity are the cornerstone of excellence.”