The session was introduced by Mrs Ekta Watts, Chairperson of Women Empowerment and CSR activities, ADTOI with a brief about the vision and activities under the post of “Lady Entrepreneur Officer (LEO)”, which is a pioneering initiative of the Women Empowerment and CSR Wing of Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI). The position was conceived and created in 2019 with the support of other Governing Body Members of ADTOI. Few events have already been conducted for women were the Breast Cancer Awareness Camp held in Delhi for ADTOI ladies and also CSR activities like the Full day excursion for blind children of Andh Mahavidyalaya New Delhi.
The vision of Lady Entrepreneur Officer is to empower women and bring them forward in the field of tourism. Each LEO takes initiatives according to her vision, interest and expertise for women empowerment and CSR activities. The Lady Entrepreneur Officer is envisioned for each one of the 10 Chapters of the Association. Their profile is to work as a team on a PAN India basis to meet the below objectives:
- Connect and provide a platform to the lady entrepreneurs of ADTOI in promoting the tourism industry and empower the women leaders within.
- Further, assist in empowering lady professionals in tourism, who are non-ADTOI members but engaged in tourism and allied activities
- To reach out to female students in Colleges / Universities who are undergoing Tourism Courses and guide them, be a part of the tourism industry and grow their potential through entrepreneurial education and training.
- To reach out to women and work at the grass-root level to encourage more and more women to be a part of the tourism industry.
- Last but not least, welcome more and more lady entrepreneurs into the ADTOI family.
Currently, the following are the ADTOI Lady Entrepreneur Officers in our ADTOI chapter:
- Mrs. Ekta Watts , Chairperson Women empowerment and CSR Activities
- Mrs. Irshad Patel, Maharashtra Chapter
- Mrs. Shilpa Patel, Gujarat Chapter
- Ms. Shishta Sharma, Punjab and Haryana Chapter
- Dr. Shreya Barbara, North East Chapter
- Mrs. Puja Karar, West Bengal Chapter
- Ms. Unmani Rana, Rajasthan Chapter
- Ms. Shweta Chopra, Madhya Pradesh Chapter
- Ms. Padmini Narayanan, Tamil Nadu Chapter
Mrs. Irshad Patel LEO of Maharashtra Chapter briefed about her initiatives on increasing lady entrepreneurs in Maharashtra Chapter and also in other Chapters of ADTOI. Further, through the Lady Entrepreneur Facebook Page, many ladies have expressed interest to be ADTOI members and the LEOs are in the process of welcoming them to the ADTOI family.
Mrs. Shilpa Patel of Gujarat Chapter highlighted some Pilot Projects that have been taken up by the Women Empowerment and CSR wing. These projects have been to encourage cuisine and handloom handicraft specialists from rural regions to gain empowerment in tourism allied services. It was also briefed that efforts to reach out to female students in Colleges / Universities undergoing Tourism Courses are being made by giving lectures to encourage the students and acquaint them with the tourism industry.
Dr. Shreya Barbara of North East Chapter updated on a prominent initiative, the formation of the Women Empowerment Cluster, which aims to form a network of women tourism professionals who can benefit from the women-specific and tourism-related training, webinars, events that the ADTOI plan. Inclusions in the Women Empowerment Cluster would be women employees/executives of ADTOI members and spouses of the ADTOI members who are not tourism professionals. Further, Women Entrepreneurs Network For Non-ADTOI members was also introduced which would form a network of Women Entrepreneurs engaged in services of Handloom, Handicraft, Cuisine and Tourism (tour guides, cuisine specialists etc.). Women who need support to enter the tourism industry and allied services to become future entrepreneurs will also be included in this network.
Mrs. Puja Karar of West Bengal Chapter apprised that the LEO in each of the Chapters will be initiating some CSR activities in the near future. Further, as Lady Entrepreneur Officers we would be a support system to people in the tourism sector, especially women, who have been mostly affected at this time, by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope for the best and will continue to work with positivity.
Ms. Unmani Rana of Rajasthan Chapter acquainted with efforts to provide digital support with an exclusive Facebook Page and Instagram Account for ADTOI lady entrepreneurs which were launched in May 2021. The aim is to provide a social media platform for all ADTOI lady entrepreneurs. Moreover, these platforms will also promote tourism, CSR initiatives and women empowerment works to connect ADTOI members. She also noted that the LEOs would try to connect with each and every woman whosoever is working in the Travel Trade and Hospitality sector and assist them to grow and support each other for women empowerment to promote domestic tourism.
Ms. Shweta Chopra, Madhya Pradesh Chapter highlighted that tourism is an industry that can do wonders in giving economic empowerment to women through various opportunities. As it is, women play a vital role in tourism, in offices as well as on the field. The LEO in each of the Chapters would try to support women in tourism with technical and non-technical skill development. The LEOs also aim to connect and promote domestic tourism within ADTOI members by bringing together local tour operators for mutual business and also promote responsible tourism with campaigns on following SOPs and guidelines and other crucial topics.