Alessandra Alonso, founder of Women in Travel (CIC), the social enterprise dedicated to empowering women through employability and entrepreneurship in the travel industry, has been shortlisted for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2019 in the Women in Social Enterprise category.

Alessandra is a trailblazer and women’s champion in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector and has continually worked to support women’s advancement in the industry. Since founding Women in Travel (CIC) in 2017, Alessandra has facilitated 17 events at leading travel industry trade show World Travel Market in four continents; launched a BAME initiative to support women from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; and established the Women Returners programme, which partners with charities such as Crisis UK and the Refugee Council to identify, train and match talented women from marginalised communities with employers looking to hire. During four London programmes, 25 women were supported, including a refugee who received a promotion just three months after being employed.

In January 2020, Alessandra will co-host the first International Women in Travel & Tourism Forum in Iceland, where Iceland’s First Lady will be the keynote speaker. Attendees already confirmed include a mixture of global private and public sector travel, hospitality and tourism industry trailblazers, and unlike other events tackling gender imbalance in the workplace, delegates must commit to attend in a duo: to qualify, an executive-level senior leader must pledge to attend with and host a next-generation female colleague.

The UK Social Enterprise Awards run by Social Enterprise UK, the national membership body for social enterprises, recognise the nation’s most pioneering social enterprises. Alessandra Alonso will be joining other shortlisted organisations at the prestigious awards ceremony held at London’s iconic Guildhall on 4th December 2019.

Commenting on being shortlisted, Alessandra said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been recognised by Social Enterprise UK in these awards. Women in Travel (CIC) works tirelessly to support women’s advancement in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry by providing women from all walks of life with employability and entrepreneurship skills.”

 Commenting on the Awards, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK Peter Holbrook said: “Every year the standards of applications for the UK Social Enterprise Awards gets higher and higher. At a time when public confidence in business is at a low and when we are facing crises both political and environmental – this year’s shortlist shows how business can be used to build a better world.”

Social enterprises are businesses which trade for a social or environmental purpose. There are 100,000 social enterprises in the UK contributing £60bn to the UK economy, each one being set up to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face, from homelessness to climate change.

For further information on Women In Travel, visit


Image Captions:
Image 1: Alessandra Alonso, founder of Women in Travel (CIC).
Image 2: Women in Travel (CIC) logo.
Image 3: (from left to right) Ghazal Ahmad, who took part in Women in Travel’s Women Returners programme, with Alessandra Alonso, founder of Women in Travel (CIC).

About Women in Travel
Women in Travel (CIC) started life as a gender focussed platform at World Travel Market flagship event in London, in 2014. Growing successfully from then onwards, in 2017 it was incorporated as a social enterprise dedicated to empowering women through employability and entrepreneurship in Travel Tourism and Hospitality. Its vision is to become a catalyst for sustainability by placing women at the heart of an industry which is inherently attractive to females and growing at a fast pace. It is the brain-child of Alessandra Alonso, who has been recognised as a trail-blazer when it comes to gender diversity in the industry and who has supported women in maximising their opportunity in the travel, tourism and hospitality (TTH) industry for well over a decade, originally through Shine & the Shine Awards. Women in Travel partners with employers to provide the first Women Returners service through which the industry can access a pool of marginalised but often highly skilled women who are eager to get back to work. Women in Travel also runs entrepreneurship focussed events, mentoring and networking supporting start up and early stage female entrepreneurs and those wanting to start a business, particularly of BAME background.

About Social Enterprise UK
Together with our members we are the voice for social enterprise in the UK. We build markets, undertake research, provide information and tools, share knowledge, raise awareness and campaign to create a business environment where social enterprises thrive.  Our members range from local grass-roots organisations to multi-million-pound businesses.

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