The UK CEO of Cosmos and Avalon Cruises, Giles Hawke, is yet another heavy-weight speaker confirmed for the first International Women In Travel & Tourism Forum, taking place in Reykjavik on 23-24 January 2020. Giles will explore a pertinent and global question for our times, around what successful leadership looks like in travel and tourism. Which traits and attributes make for successful leaders? And how do we make sure these are recognised and nurtured in all individuals?Hawke will be joined by three other senior leaders, plus a moderator, who will debate how the travel and tourism industry can accelerate gender balance at the top.

Giles has over 25 years’ experience in the UK tour operation and cruise sectors of the travel industry so brings a wealth of practical know-how to this exciting Forum session. As well as holding the position of UK CEO of Cosmos and Avalon cruises, Giles cites his first role with the UK’s largest ski tour operator as a determining factor in developing his clear focus on putting the customer first in everything he does.

Giles is an Executive Committee member of the Association of Tourism and Adventure Suppliers (ATAS), having been Chairman in its first year, and a member and past deputy Chair, of the Executive Committee for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK. Giles also runs his own small tour operation, South Downs Way Tours, and is on the ABTA Membership Committee and a non-Executive Director of the Institute of Customer Service.

Registration is now open for the Forum event, which was developed by Women in Travel (CIC) in partnership with Promote Iceland, Carnival UK and PEAK DMC and will be held at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel in Reykjavik in Iceland.

Speaking about his attendance at the Forum, Giles Hawke said: “I look forward to travelling to Iceland in January to work with Women in Travel on the first International Women in Travel & Tourism Forum. Encouraging diversity and supporting good people to fulfill their potential, whatever their background, gender or ethnicity is vital to create future successful organisations and societies.”

Event organisers have limited attendance for the Forum to 60 industry chiefs and 60 next-generation female professionals from across the globe who are passionate about sharing, learning, challenging and furthering their understanding of diversity and inclusion, so those interested are urged to register their interest as soon as possible here –

Attendees already confirmed will be travelling from all over Europe, Africa and the Americas, and unlike other events tackling gender imbalance in the workplace, delegates commit to attending in a duo: to qualify, an executive-level senior leader must pledge to attend with and host a next-generation female colleague.

In addition to this leadership session, Forum delegates will:
• Attend a full day of sessions led by international travel and tourism leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers
• Understand the needs and aspirations of next-gen female leaders in group and reverse mentoring sessions
• Take away practical tools to implement ‘at home’
• Network with broad global travel industry peers passionate about gender diversity, equality and inclusion
• Receive a preferential rate to stay at the host hotel Radisson Blu Saga
• Explore Iceland via an exclusive extended social itinerary on 25-26 January following the Forum, courtesy of PEAK DMC


To register your interest and receive further information about the International Women in Travel & Tourism Forum, please visit

To explore event speaker or sponsorship opportunities, please email

For further information about Women in Travel, visit

Image Captions:
Image 1: UK CEO of Cosmos and Avalon Cruises, Giles Hawke
Image 2: International Women in Travel and Tourism Forum Logo
Image 3: 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.

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