Here’s how Air Canada, Insight, AmaWaterways & Intrepid are celebrating International Women’s Day

TORONTO — The travel industry is celebrating International Women’s Day today, with several top suppliers marking the occasion by showcasing the social and cultural achievements of women.

Air Canada, Insight Vacations, AmaWaterways and Intrepid Travel are all saluting the contributions of women in the industry today, March 8, a global day of recognition to help advance women’s rights and raise awareness of gender equality. Celebrated since 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, International Women’s Day 2021 takes on the theme of #ChooseToChallenge, a direct call to everyone to choose a gender-equal world.

After a year of unprecedented challenges in the travel industry, the leadership and ingenuity of women in particular hold extra significance today. Here’s how Air Canada, Insight Vacations, AmaWaterways and Intrepid Travel are commemorating the day:




The airline is recognizing the achievements of four Air Canadian women who have successfully navigated through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of Air Canada’s efforts to promote non-traditional aviation careers, it established the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship in honour of the airline’s first female pilot. The scholarship is open to young women pursuing non-traditional aviation careers such as commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers who may not have the financial means to do so.

This year’s winners are: Kahina Gagnon, Urooz Ali, Winnie Ho and Caitlyn Lam. Each of the winners will receive $5,000 toward their studies in aviation; all four are also pursuing their commercial pilot’s licence.

Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President Chief Human Resources Officer and Public Affairs at Air Canada noted that women hold professional positions at every level at Air Canada, including C-suite executives, and that the airline credits the significant contributions of women for finding solutions that are helping it meet COVID-19’s complexities.

“Women operated repatriation flights to bring Canadians home, handled the logistics of and operated cargo-only flights to transport medical suppliers, PPE and vaccines, qualified as loadmasters to operate converted cargo-only aircraft, liaised around the clock with government agencies to implement dynamic travel restrictions, developed and implemented medical support services to support Air Canada’s frontline employees, assumed critical leadership positions to advance practical, science-based testing measures as part of a multi-layered approach to managing COVID-19, in addition to delivering customer service to our customers who needed to travel and much more,” said Meloul-Wechsler. “We are proud to be recognized for our leadership in advancing diversity, and for promoting and mentoring the next generation of female aviators.”

Air Canada has exceeded its previously established targets to have women represent at least 30% of senior management by 2020 and to have at least 30% of its Board of Directors comprised of woman. It was also recently recognized for the sixth consecutive year as one of Canada’s best diversity employers.




To connect female travellers with women artisans, entrepreneurs and community leaders, Insight has launched a new 12-day premium guided journey, ‘Venice & The Croatian Coast, A Women’s-Only Tour’ as part of its ‘Wander Women’ series of journeys created for women, by women. The first women’s-only trip, ‘Inspirational India,’ was launched last year and is set to depart in October 2021; it currently has booking availability.

The new Croatia journey will take place in summer 2022 and include three new #MakeTravelMatter Experiences designed to uplift local women in their communities and ensure Insight is using travel as a force for good while supporting the United Nations’ Global Goals.

#MakeTravelMatter Experiences occur nearly almost every day of the journey, which begins in Venice and ventures across the Dalmatian coast. These experiences include a short boat ride to a fish farm with Irena Fonda, a renowned molecular biologist working to protect the indigenous species of the Gulf of Piran, a visit to the workshop of DESA, a humanitarian organization that helps women and their families promote their traditional cuisine and handicrafts, and a meet-and-greet with artist Antonia Ruskovic Radonic, who is working to preserve local 15th-century silk traditions. Also, in the Plitvice Lakes area, guests will meet the hardworking women of the Tara Community Centre who through their traditional handicrafts, enable employment and community engagement.

‘Venice & The Croatian Coast, A Women’s-Only Tour’ is available with limited space as a single departure date. Clients are encouraged to book early to secure their spot.




AmaWaterways is hosting a special ‘Sip & Sail’ today in celebration of International Women’s Day with Executive Vice President Kristin Karst, who’ll be joined by Samantha Brown, AmaMagna’s Emmy award-winning Godmother, and Chef Joanne Weir. Taking place at 5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST, the virtual event will include personal insights into travel and tourism as well as insider tips from female cruise managers on how best to personalize a river cruise for any type of traveller.

First launched in April 2020, the virtual ‘Sip & Sail’ series was created to help AmaWaterways remain personally connected with travel advisors and past guests until the company’s much anticipated return to the rivers. Its actual onboard complimentary ‘Sip & Sail’ pre-dinner cocktail hour was first introduced on its ships in 2018 and has received rave guest reviews.

To tune into today’s ‘Sip & Sail’ go to or Travel advisors are encouraged to sign up for the even via the Travel Advisor Portal on




Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest B Corp adventure travel company, is celebrating the groundbreaking initiatives led by three of its female team members who are striving towards a more equitable tourism industry in 2021:

Here’s how Air Canada, Insight, AmaWaterways & Intrepid are celebrating International Women’s Day

Dr. Susanne Etti

  • Susanne Etti, Intrepid’s Environmental Impact Specialist: As one of travel’s only female climate scientists, Dr. Etti led Intrepid Travel to declare a Climate Emergency in January 2020, underpinned by a seven-point climate plan that included setting emission reduction targets based on science as well as empowering women. In April 2020, Dr. Etti published an open-sourced guide to decarbonizing your travel business that has been downloaded by over 180 businesses, and has since conducted over 50 free consultations.
Here’s how Air Canada, Insight, AmaWaterways & Intrepid are celebrating International Women’s Day

Zina Bencheikh

  • Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid Travel’s managing director in EMEA: Hailing from Morocco, Bencheikh spent nearly five years successfully lobbying the local Moroccan government to include women in the government-regulated tour guide licencing program. From there, she was the driver behind Intrepid Travel’s Women’s Expeditions, which launched in 2018 and has become one of the company’s most successful range of tours in its history. Launching today, March 8, Bencheikh is leading Intrepid in collaborating with social enterprise ‘Women in Travel’ on three-day tours in London, created to empower immigrant women from difficult backgrounds. The women, who are from Ethiopia, Morocco and Albania, will share stories about their customs and traditions.
Here’s how Air Canada, Insight, AmaWaterways & Intrepid are celebrating International Women’s Day

Natalie Kidd

  • Natalie Kidd, Intrepid’s Chief People and Purpose Officer: Kidd has led Intrepid’s gender diversity goals across 20 global officers and championed the development of local operations teams and tour leaders. Her work includes helping double the business’ female tour leaders from 154 in 2017 to more than 342 in 2020. Kidd continues to lead Intrepid’s diversity and inclusion efforts that include mandatory anti-racism training released in 2020. Going forward, she’ll lead the business to work with its 200 largest suppliers to create opportunities and improve workplace practices for women.
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