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How can Tourism help #BreakTheBias?

Holiday Travel Increases By More Than A Third, New Allianz Travel Insurance Survey Reveals


The President of the Commission on Human Rights, Charles Malik once said “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” But women face many disadvantages, globally: biases that stop them from accessing education and opportunities, while leaving them vulnerable to violence and oppression. That’s why this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #Breakthebias – imagining a gender- equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.


In tourism, women are often concentrated in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs. But it doesn’t have to be like this. By opting to support female-led tourism experiences when we travel, the industry can give women opportunities they have genuine ownership over, and amplify their voices. This can empower communities to #breakthebias, and have a lasting impact on societies – particularly in developing countries. In this sense, travel has a genuine ability – and responsibility – to level the playing field.


That’s why Contiki – the social travel operator for 18-35s – seeks out female-led community experiences for its travelers.


Contiki’s Sustainability officer Tasha Hayes said “MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences give our travelers the opportunity to make a positive social or environmental impact on the communities and places we visit.  For many of the destinations we visit women and girls aren’t afforded the same rights or opportunities as our travelers would in their own countries.   Therefore any opportunity to support or promote a female led business or initiative is genuinely important alongside being an excellent learning opportunity for our travelers. We seek to demonstrate the great community benefit from travel and tourism while in turn educating our travelers on pressing global issues like women’s rights. Most importantly it’s about highlighting  the actions being taken to address these issues and what they can do as advocates after finishing their Contiki trip.


Here are some of the female-led MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® experiences it runs across the world.


The Dhonk Centre












Dhonk founder Divya Khandal has created a beautiful opportunity for growth and change in her home of Ranthambhore, India. Dhonk was created to provide alternative job opportunities in Ranthambore and to discourage participation in the region’s tiger poaching crisis. Working to reform this poaching pattern, Divya has created a place where the women at Dhonk can ethically provide for their families by creating handcrafted apparel and home products, while honoring Indian craftsmanship and design.


Thanks to Dhonk’s focus on education for girls and employment for women, Ranthambore is destined to create many more community leaders to follow in Divya Khandal’s footsteps for generations to come.


Real Country – New Zealand




Southland native Laura Douglas started Real Country in 2016, in an effort to share the real New Zealand with her visitors. She focused on taking women hunting before turning Real Country into a legitimate and thriving farm full of animals and rugged experiences.


Real Country offers a workshop for young girls that’s structured like a finishing school. Laura focuses on instilling confidence and independence in young girls, providing them with practical skills that they’ll have in their arsenal for life. This includes teaching them skills in hunting, farming, basic construction, changing tires, and jumpstarting vehicles. Laura now offers interactive tours at Real Country and teaches some of these skills to the public, along with running workshops for young women.


Ock Pop Tok – Laos




Combining great minds and cultures can be one of the best recipes for success and innovation. This is evident in the work done by the women of Ock Pop Tok. Meaning “East Meets West” in Lao, Ock Pop Tok was created by Joanna Smith and Veomanee Douangdala, of English and Laotian origin respectively. These two inspiring women have worked together to create one of the top textile and artisanal organizations in South East Asia. The company was founded in 2000 when the two women bonded over a love of traditional and innovative textiles, and weaving methods. They’ve grown their business from a small shop in Luang Prabang to a successful business, focused on providing a sustainable livelihood for local weavers – a job traditionally reserved for women.


Ock Pop Tok champions competitive wages, professional development, and opportunities for learning. It now employs over 90 people with a senior staff team of women.


Amal Women’s Cooperative – Morocco



Nora Fitzgerald Belahcen founded the Amal Women’s Cooperative in Marrakech in 2012, initially as a small haven for local women to master culinary arts.  She now has two training centers and accepts 60 women per year into her program, a non-profit that’s dedicated to the empowerment of Moroccan women through culinary training and job placement. Nora has put all her focus into improving her community and created Amal as a free-of-charge program, which even covers student living expenses.


Amal’s students are all young Moroccan women of low income, who are determined to better their situation. The training at Amal sets these women up for success in the culinary field, allowing them to be financially independent. Amal offers cooking classes to visitors and provides daily service at their restaurant as well.


Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco – Peru



 Founded by Nilda Callanuapa in 1996, the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (CTTC) is a traditional weaving centre in Cusco, Peru. It’s been pivotal in its preservation of Peruvian culture, offering employment to local men and women to maintain the importance of this 10,000-year-old practice.


Nilda was determined to maintain her own cultural heritage while also finding employment opportunities for the locals. Now, CTTC is female managed, operated, and founded, and its focus is on keeping indigenous traditions alive by teaching the younger generations how to weave. CTTC also provides a place where local weavers can sell their crafts, creating revenue streams for the community.


The Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Co-operative – Jordan




In Jordan, female unemployment is high, and organizations such as The Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative aim to provide opportunities to combat employment disparity.


Iraq Al-Amir was founded in 1993 by the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation; a non-profit founded by Queen Noor of Jordan. Its aim is to teach and equip Jordanian women with new skills, business opportunities, and greater financial independence.


Iraq Al-Amir is not only managed and run by local women, but has provided handicraft training for more than 150 women from local villages. These handicrafts are sold in the gift shop and online, to both provide income and help to preserve local heritage. This ripple effect of women helping women has begun to change the lives of many families and single women in Jordan.




Contiki are the world leaders in social youth travel. We’ve been providing amazing travel experiences for young travellers, from 18-35 years old, since 1962. Imagine how good you would be at something if you had been doing it for more than 60 years?


Everything about Contiki is deeply rooted in our core values ‘Make Every Moment Count’ and ‘We’re about people’. We don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk and live by our brand philosophy of ‘Travel.Together.’ which means to travel with one another, the destinations we visit, the cultures we enjoy and the environment, too.



The Travel Corporation (TTC) is a highly successful, stable, and solvent family-owned and passionately run international group of 40 award-winning brands, which celebrated its first 100th Anniversary in 2020. Our exceptional portfolio of brands spans across 70 countries and offers an extensive selection of international travel and tourism companies, encompassing a variety of guided travel experiences, independent holiday packages, boutique river cruising, luxury hotels and safaris. We are committed to consistently delivering outstanding service, experiences and value to each and every one of our guests and we do so through continuous innovation. Beyond our commitment to provide the world’s leading holiday experiences, TTC reassures travellers in these uncertain times that their future travels are safe with us. The financial strength and future longevity of the business is backed by the transparent exposure of the companies Red Carnation Hotels unencumbered fixed assets in excess of US$300,000,000 as of December 31, 2019. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter and Instagram while using our hashtags #TravelWithTTC and #MakeTravelMatter.



Contiki is a founding partner of TreadRight, a not-for-profit foundation established by The Travel Corporation in 2008 to encourage sustainable tourism within its family of amazing travel brands. The TreadRight Foundation supports projects that help the environment, protect and conserve ecosystems, and benefit communities. See more about TreadRight at The TreadRight Foundation – TTC – Make Travel Matter