Trailblazers in travel: celebrating inspiring women shaping the industry 

By

As the world celebrates the inspiring achievements of women on International Women’s Day, this year on March 8th, we turn our focus to the remarkable women shaping and redefining the landscape of the travel industry. From pioneers challenging stereotypes to advocates championing inclusivity, these trailblazing women are breaking barriers, challenging norms and questioning underrepresentation.  

Award-winning content creator, travel writer, public speaker, and advocate Annette Richmond is the driving force behind the plus-size positive travel community, ‘Fat Girls Traveling’. With a dedicated blog readership and nearly sixty thousand members on Instagram, Richmond’s platform has become a haven for those seeking travel inspiration beyond conventional norms. Originally immersed in the fashion industry, where she forecasted trends and managed public relations, Richmond’s passion for travel led her to establish ‘Fat Girls Traveling’ in 2017. Her mission extends beyond showcasing picturesque destinations; Richmond is a trailblazer, giving a voice to underrepresented groups in the travel industry and exemplifying that travel is for everyone. On her website, Richmond fearlessly addresses the challenges she encounters in an industry often unsupportive of diverse needs. She amplifies black-owned travel agencies, hotels and businesses to support, offering a wealth of plus-size travel advice and destination suggestions. In addition, she organises plus-size positive “Fat Camps” in both the US and the UK, fostering a sense of community and empowerment. 

An industry often unsupportive of diverse needs

Sylvia Longmire’s journey from the Air Force to becoming an accessible travel writer and disability rights advocate is nothing short of inspiring. When diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Longmire left the military and redirected her energy towards advocating for accessible travel. Her blog, ‘Spin The Globe’, serves as a beacon of inspiration for wheelchair users eager to explore the world. Despite facing physical challenges, Longmire learned to travel with a walker and, later, with an electric scooter. Her determination knows no bounds as she explores the deserts of Dubai and the glaciers of Alaska, selecting destinations based on wheelchair accessibility and her ability to travel independently. Longmire’s dual goals are to educate people about the needs and capabilities of disabled travellers and to encourage those with disabilities to embrace adventure without fear. 

She serves as a beacon of inspiration for wheelchair users eager to explore the world

Zara Rutherford, a British-Belgian teenager, made headlines in 2021 as the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world. At just 19 years old, Rutherford’s accomplishment is particularly noteworthy in an industry where only almost five percent of pilots in the UK were female that year. Learning to fly since the age of 14, she studies computer engineering at university, hoping to inspire young women to pursue careers in STEM fields where men still outnumber women. 

In the context of a global pilot shortage affecting flights and schedules, the aviation industry is actively recruiting underrepresented communities. Rutherford’s journey serves as a beacon of inspiration, potentially sparking a new wave of young women pursuing aviation careers. 

Entrepreneur Beth Santos is the visionary founder of Wanderful, a membership platform fostering an international community of supportive travellers. Wanderful challenges traditional travel platforms by encouraging more inclusive travel content from companies, supporting female small business owners and creating global travel hubs. Santos spearheaded the world’s first major outdoor travel festival by and for women, Wanderfest, which launched in downtown New Orleans in March last year. The festival, embodying the spirit of female empowerment, features female speakers and performers as well as hosts female owned travel businesses. 

Following success last year, Wanderful plans to embark again to Antarctica in 2026 and Jordan this year. Her trips are hosted by, and made for women. Santos also serves on the board of the Black Travel Alliance, a non-profit organisation that supports, amplifies and equips Black travel professionals around the world. She emphasises the need for increased representation of women in travel leadership. Despite women making up to 85 percent of travel decisions at the consumer level, they remain underrepresented in leadership roles. Santos aims to challenge this status quo, ensuring that the travel industry recognises and celebrates the diverse voices and experiences of its female travellers.  

Illustrations by: Carly Tait 

One thought on “Trailblazers in travel: celebrating inspiring women shaping the industry 

  • “Trailblazers in travel” celebrates women reshaping the industry. These inspiring figures pave paths, break barriers, and redefine norms, from entrepreneurship to leadership. Their contributions empower and inspire countless others, shaping the future of travel with innovation and inclusivity. Nile cruise

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.