IIPT announces the winners of the 6th celebrating HER awards at ITB Berlin on International Women’s Day


The International Institute for Peace (IIPT) has announced the award winners of its 6th global Celebrating Her awards. The event was held in ITB’s hybrid studio which facilitates simultaneous physical and virtual participation, considerably multiplying the audience numbers.

Instituted as a joint venture between IIPT India and ITB Berlin in 2016, the Awards return after a two-year gap on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. TravelBiz Monitor is the official Knowledge Partner of the Awards. Over 20 outstanding women from across the world have been awarded over the years and the Celebrating Her awards have become a marquee event at ITB Berlin, the greatest travel and trade show in the world.

The 2023 winners:
Carol Hay – for Tourism Resilience

After heading Antigua and Barbuda’s UK and European Marketing division, followed by 11 years with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation as Director for UK and Europe, since 2020, Carol has headed her own tourism development agency McKenzie Gayle Limited which advises the Caribbean Tourism Organisation Chapter UK and Europe.

Caeol Hay

Carol’s passion for the tourism industry has spanned over three decades, she continues to make a solid impact through her consulting, training, coaching and mentoring, whilst raising her voice for her personal mission of diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry.

Rupinder Brar – for Tourism Leadership
As Additional Director General in the Ministry of Tourism, Rupinder Worked in the Ministry of Tourism during the precarious time for tourism and hospitality when COVID completely halted travel and tourism. The need was to devise out-of-box strategies to keep the industry alive. The innovative Dekho Apna Desh campaign which Rupinder headed, played a huge role in keeping the domestic industry afloat. She collaborated with the Ministry of Home in enabling a pan-India framework for increased safety in tourist spaces and was awarded the Director General Police’s Commendation disc for developing a plan for the same. She also spearheaded the pan-India employment generation digital training plan for tourist guides 

Rupinder Brar

Iaia Pedemonte – for Responsible Tourism
Iaia is a freelance journalist, the founder of the Gender Responsible Tourism Association (GRT), a team of communication, responsible tourism and gender experts promoting women’s empowerment in tourism. Iaia has undertaken assignments for international organisations, including the UNDP for a sustainable ecotourism project in Yemen. She has reported worldwide about women’s empowerment and tourism development in destinations.

Iaia Pedemonte

As a communications and information group, GRT publishes information about the best travel destinations where women are the protagonists. It is also the antenna of a global network, receiving, transmitting and linking up with initiatives, individual women, enterprises, associations and institutions.

Ajay Prakash, Founding President of IIPT India and global President-Elect of IIPT who joined the event remotely from India said, “The IIPTI Global Awards, Celebrating Her are intended to acknowledge and felicitate exceptional women in the fields of tourism; individuals with a clarity of vision and mission. Individuals who have demonstrated strong personal values and
determination to make a difference are worthy of recognition and reward. They need to be felicitated and held up as role models for the younger generation to follow.”
 He extolled the success of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign which he said has transformed the lives of young women even in remote villages and said that the Celebrating Her awards are aimed at making women agents of change and drivers of growth, not mere beneficiaries of concessions.

Ajay Prakash

The event was conducted on-site by Daniela Wagner, Business Development Director of Jacobs Media Group and a Celebrating Her award winner from 2018, and Rika Jean-Francois, CSR Commissioner for ITB Berlin. Daniela explained the background and the rationale of the Awards and invited Rika for her welcome address. Expressing her satisfaction at the physical resumption of the Awards, Rika Jean-Francois said “The IIPT awards are an integral part of ITB Berlin. They stand for inclusivity and are an important step in the realization of the United Nations SDG 5 – Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

We are happy to continue our partnership with IIPT and to see the awards return in a physical form.” In a written statement, Louis D’Amore, Founding President of IIPT, thanked Rika and ITB Berlin for their continued support, lauded the achievements of IIPT India, led by Kiran Yadav and Ajay Prakash and stated that he would be handing over the baton of global Presidency to Ajay before the end of the year.

Noredah Othman, CEO of the Sabah Tourism Board recounted her journey of 32 years in the tourism industry from her start as a receptionist The awards were preceded by a lively discussion on Gender and Tourism for Peace which was moderated by Daniela Wagner. The panel comprised Debbie Flynn, Managing Partner at FINN Partners, Helena Egan CSO Adventure Tech SA and former Director of TripAdvisor and Rika Jean-Francois.

In their acceptance speech, the winners thanked IIPT and ITB Berlin for the honour and vowed to continue their efforts to spread awareness of Tourism as a powerful tool for Peace.