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“Tourism for all” catching momentum as Association of Women Travel Executives speaks up on UNWTO elections

“Tourism for all” catching momentum as Association of Women Travel Executives speaks up on UNWTO elections

The Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE) is a member organization that offers networking and professional development opportunities to support the careers of women in travel.

The AWTE’s influence stretches across 6 decades, after it was founded in 1954 at a time when women were beginning to make travel a viable career option. Since then, it has continued to create an environment for the sharing of ideas; debating of trends; and networking with peers, associates, and other travel professionals to develop new business.

Membership is open to women whose business or career is predominantly in travel, whether they’re entrepreneurs or in a corporate role.

AWTE runs a program of professional development seminars and workshops, events for networking and business building (to which male colleagues are also invited!), and campaigns for improving the status of women in business and on the board.


The AWTE has its roots firmly in the UK but is now in the process of globalizing its reach and membership. With that goal in mind, it is particularly important for AWTE that the candidate for the UNWTO Secretary General is a person who understands, appreciates, and supports the growing importance of women in the travel and tourism industry.

Alain St.Ange, the former Minister of Tourism for the Seychelles, has clearly shown his support for women, as was demonstrated during Woman’s Day 2017 at ITB in Berlin.

Following that conference, many gathered at the Seychelles stand at ITB to see Lela Krstevska formally present Alain St.Ange, the former Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of the Seychelles, with a letter of endorsement.

Lela Krstevska said in the presence of a group of women who had attended the “Celebrating Her” conference that one of the main reasons for her endorsement of Alain St.Ange is his immense experience and positive attitude, which she believes is really important in maintaining the high profile and respect that UNWTO has achieved in recent years, not only in the tourism industry but across a broader spectrum. Guided by his extraordinary dedication, enthusiasm, and his vision, he will pitch UNWTO to a new position that will help to unify the industry.


“The tourism industry provides rewarding and important employment opportunities for women in developed and developing countries. This helps to provide women with economic independence and empowerment, and strengthens their position in society. As a woman myself, I am convinced that Mr. St.Ange will help the gentler sex and will drive initiatives that improve the position of women even further. I would be more than happy to assist him with this,” said Lela Krstevska of Macedonia.

“Mr. St.Ange’s extensive experience in tourism and hospitality and in the private sector are a great foundation for building a successful plan that identifies tourism development issues and opportunities, whilst at the same time forming long-term sustainable strategies.

“His political career in Seychelles has provided him with the knowledge and understanding that is crucial for the position, and his passion for the industry and for people have earned him the trust of value of the tourism industry.

“Mr. St.Ange achieved outstanding results for the tourism sector in the Seychelles in spite of the general downturn in the global economy. Thanks to his hard work and open-mindedness, he already demonstrated the capability and capacity of establishing cooperation in Seychelles between local stakeholders and representatives of tourism associations. This is one aspect that I believe is absolutely essential, since he stands for the idea of giving a chance to the member states to establish close collaboration with UNWTO through opening representative offices of UNWTO in their regions.

“Mr. St.Ange’s policies and commitment make him the ideal candidate that will provide a really meaningful contribution for substantial growth and development of the industry and will help to prioritize the implementation of important issues in the sector. He is also fearless about facing the challenges and constraints of the current political situations. He understands the real importance of some of the most pressing issues such as safety and security, climate change, and sustainable development, and he respects the rights of everybody being able to travel – this is important for us, and is also in accordance with his convictions.”

Alain St.Ange has welcomed this endorsement from Debbee Dale, the chairperson of AWTE, the Association of Women Travel Executives. “This organization, the AWTE, offers networking and professional development opportunities to support the careers of women in travel, and their support has shown that industry professionals are looking for a post Taleb Rifai UNWTO they will be comfortable with. Seychelles advocated in its bid that it was time for a ‘Tourism for All’ vision, and this includes the rights of women as well as the rights for every group inclusive of the rights of children, the LGBT, the disabled, religions, politics, and the rights of those with every possible color of their skin among others. Tourism for All is the respect of basic human rights, and if we stick together and elect the Seychelles candidate as the next SG of the UNWTO, this will be the way forward,” Alain St.Ange said.

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