Women leaders in Travel #ChooseToChallenge


As we celebrate Women’s Day in August each year, the rest of the world celebrated the power and perseverance of women yesterday, March 8, International Women’s Day …

Here, thinking women leaders in the tourism and travel industry share what their areas of focus were yesterday and 2021, and what advice they have for other women fighting for the good fight in the tourism and travel industry.

What encouragement would you like to give to women in travel and tourism?

Sue Garrett, general manager of marketing and product at Flight Center Travel Group, was just 27 when she took her first executive position in a highly male-dominated executive environment.

“It’s a tough, competitive world,” Garrett says, “and it’s not always easy for you to be recognized as a female leader for your ability, rather than being a witness. Certainly, there are times when the glass ceiling is it makes it very clear, however, that instead of using it to limit your potential, consider it an opportunity to open up to the use of your intelligence, determination and curious approach. “

Garrett offers the following tips for other women in the industry:

• Surround yourself with fantastic people.

• Take calculated risks knowing that you may fail, but fail quickly, admit it, learn from it, and never stop trying.

• Putting your people and their needs ahead of yours: Driving from behind has always been something I have believed in.

• Stay humble and open to learning.

• Stay determined no matter how many times things go your way.

• Maintain discipline: Most of the great leaders I have had the opportunity to work with are highly disciplined in all aspects of their lives.

“The tourism and travel industry has gone through incredibly difficult times since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, more so than in any other industry that comes to mind,” says Dorine Reinstein, leader of Big Ambitions ’corporate division .

“As a specialist in public relations and communications for the tourism and travel industry, I have witnessed from the sidelines the sand, determination, passion and courage that women in the tourism and tourism industry have shown south -African, in particular.

“I am amazed at how these powerful women, from cleaning women to CEOs, managed to continue to convey the warmth and hospitality of our industry as they dealt with returns, repatriations, stranded passengers and set aside their own concerns to help their clients Whatever happens next in our travel industry, I trust that women in tourism and travel will have a bright future. “

Mummy Mafojane, operations leader at FCM Travel Solutions: “It’s important to grow and support each other, especially in such difficult times. When women raise each other, it benefits not only the industry, but the nation at large.”

“Never think you’re not good enough,” says Chantal Gouws, CEO of independent brands at Flight Group Travel. “We are suppliers: we have a different value in our heart that is unique. We can do various tasks and be based on our values. Stay true to yourself, be humble and remember that heaven is the limit. No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed, show up and never give up. Hard times don’t last, but hard people do (women)! ”

Nirosha Sidat, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Business Development Manager: “Embrace change and stand up for what you believe in. Women are resilient to today’s times as the best example. In honor of the 110th anniversary of International Women’s Day , NCL launches a month-long effort to encourage team members to “go up, talk, stand up, and never, ever give up.” NCL women leaders share personal messages of empowerment in this video message Next:


“Things will pick up again and we will get back to where we were before, if not stronger and better as an industry,” adds Bongi Keswa, Flight Marketing Travel Group’s leisure marketing manager. “Also, the most positive thing is that we would have opened up South Africa for residents to explore,” citing the importance of supporting our local businesses.

“I’m very fortunate to work with a powerful women’s team,” says Kim Taylor, director of customer experience for the Flight Center travel group. “My message of encouragement would be to continue collaborating, having honest conversations and never losing sight of a common goal. When we lean on each other and learn from each other, we can do remarkable things.”

“We look after your goals and vision and realize your worth. We are much stronger, creative, intuitive and tenacious than we are,” says Elmarie Rabe, marketing director of Visit Stellenbosch.

“A woman’s role can never be underestimated,” says Megan Vorster, general manager of Peopleworks Flight Center Travel Group. “The career woman, the entrepreneur, the mother, the housewife, the married, the single, the sister, the niece and all of us who play various roles. Remember that we can do anything we set our minds on, without limitations “.

Cindy Sheedy Walker, CEO and Founder of Extraordinary: “We celebrate our industry sisters today, their achievements and tenacity. They contribute so much to this wonderful industry that it is remembered to what extent women have advanced and nurtured the tourism around the world “.

What are you focusing on on this International Women’s Day 2021?

Riet Goetschalckx, director of sales and marketing at Oceania Cruises: “Travel is an important and valuable part of women’s lives around the world, as they can see amazing views, experience new cultures and people. Be part of this vibrant industry and working with colleagues and global communities is a privilege and it is so important to open up the world to make it accessible to women from all backgrounds. ”

Visit Stellenbosch CEO Jeanneret Momberg: Continue to challenge the status quo, build and share opportunities and advice with travel and tourism entrepreneurs. Support each other as we find strength in collaboration and togetherness.

Bonnie Smith: “Covid-19 gave everyone a lesson in disruption. This Women’s Day focuses on the soft skills that are so needed in the travel industry. Travelers are now looking for their travel advisor for information. on border control guidelines, security protocols, departure and arrival requirements, and more, but they will also seek empathy from their travel advisor.

Although technical and difficult skills are required, travel and tourism remain the issue for people. Soft skills like empathy, communication and the ability to listen are more important than ever. So as women in the travel industry, we need to be committed and sensitive (especially when things are not going well) and be willing to put in the extra effort. Grain, adaptability and flexibility: the list goes on. The travel agent of the future is an expert, a specialist, a therapist and someone to lean on.

Sue Garrett: Be kind to yourself: After a year of uncertainty and assumption, it’s hard to find the right measures of success because they’ve changed so significantly, so don’t be too hard on yourself . Be kind to others – everyone goes through what you are. Celebrate your resilience: we will continue to need it.

Chantal Gouws: “International Women’s Day is a day where we can celebrate and remember all our strong, loving and courageous women in our country and in the world. We remember that all women deserve respect and recognition for their contribution and the value they give should not be just a day when women are appreciated. ”

Dorine Reinstein: “This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Choose a Challenge’ (#ChooseToChallenge). In the last year, women in the tourism and travel industry have become powerful leaders. they have shown that empathy and understanding are incredibly strong attributes for anyone who wants to rebuild an industry.

“We focus on challenging the status quo and rebuilding a stronger and more sustainable tourism industry for all.”

Bongi Keswa: I have always been a focus of my seeing and growing up with women around me, both personally and professionally. Supporting each other through various milestones and helping each other navigate the complexities of working life. It is important to have these groups of women to support themselves especially during these Covid times.

Cindy Sheedy Walker: The elevation of women on staff is a core value within the extraordinary. Within our operations teams, women-owned properties and divisions outperform male leadership by three to one.

Kim Taylor: “I think the #ChooseToChallege theme is very appropriate for this year’s Women’s Day celebration. My focus this year is to reflect on the resilience of women around the world in the face of an extremely difficult year. carry.

“While there have been many ups and downs and false starts, especially in the travel industry (where we feel we are moving forward, only to be left behind by fluid travel restrictions), we don’t always focus on our growth and how we have changed in the face of so much uncertainty. Reflection is a powerful tool for realizing the resistance we are. “