Intrepid Travel has launched a new programme of women-only expeditions in Morocco, Iran and Jordan, available to book from today in honour of International Women’s Day.
The operator said the new tours were designed to encourage female empowerment and showcase the traditions and routines of local women in each destination.
The itineraries will be guided female tour leaders and will offer “a deeper understanding of female culture in each Middle Eastern nation”, Intrepid said.
It added that the trips would “expose female travellers to a range of fascinating local women – young, old, religious, conservative, rural, modern and liberal – while respecting traditional cultural values”.
Jenny Gray, regional product manager for the Middle East and Africa said: “With… an added focus on female travel and female empowerment, this new line of Women’s Expeditions offers a unique opportunity for female travellers from around the world to connect with each other and learn more about Middle Eastern women and their day-to-day lives.
“While Intrepid Travel believes in inclusiveness at all levels of our company, these female-led, women-only expeditions offer a socially responsible and culturally sensitive way for travellers to access female-only establishments, experiences and customs in these traditionally conservative countries.”
Elsewhere the operator has committed to doubling its number of female tour leaders globally by 2020.
“While this may not be a difficult target in many countries, in traditional societies recruiting women is a much greater challenge,” Gray said.
The company said it had already achieved a 50/50 gender split in new leaders hired in India after proactively advertising for female applicants, creating targeted social campaigns and educating women’s families on the importance and positive attributes of female employment.
Gray said Intrepid recognised “progressive movements don’t happen overnight”.
“There’s still a long way to go, but through our ongoing efforts and by launching these new expeditions, we’re making encouraging progress in promoting women’s independence and boosting female employment around the world.
“It’s a core value of Intrepid and something that we are constantly working to improve,” she added.