Intrepid Travel has launched a range of female-led London day tours, aiming to give travellers an insight into several of the capital’s immigrant communities.
The operator has partnered with social enterprise, Women in Travel (CIC), to give three women the opportunity to take their first steps in travel and tourism and pursue a career as a guide.
Hailing from Ethiopia, Morocco and Albania, the new tour leaders will share stories about the customs and traditions of their home countries, and how they have found homes in various parts of the capital.
The trips, Ethiopian Flavours in Shepherd’s Bush, Balkan Tastes and Culture on the South Bank and Moroccan Tea Ceremony and Dessert (which will be a virtual experience) will be offered through Intrepid’s Urban Adventures brand, each highlighting the importance of traditional food and drink to these communities.
Intrepid and Women in Travel have worked with the three prospective tour leaders over the last six months to mentor and coach them ahead of their move into guiding.
All three women were previously unemployed, and approached Women in Travel to access the training and support they needed to pursue economic independence.
Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid managing director EMEA, said: “Women in Travel shares many of our values at Intrepid Travel, particularly our belief that we cannot have a sustainable travel industry without female empowerment.
"I am very proud to launch these tours for International Women’s Day, and hope that people will enjoy experiencing a new side of London after many months of lockdown.”
Klaudija Janzelj, managing director of Urban Adventures, added: “It’s been a privilege for our team to work with Ella, Sefanit and Kaoutar on their journey to becoming tour guides.
"Their passion for the culture and flavours of their home countries and appreciation of their new home London is truly inspiring.”
Alessandra Alonso, founder of Women in Travel, said: “Women in Travel is proud of and inspired by these women, who arrived in the UK with little money, limited English and no connections.
"Yet through sheer determination and hard work they have been able to forge a career in this great industry. We are grateful to Intrepid for their continuous partnership and hope that more travel and hospitality businesses will follow their lead.”
Ethiopian Flavours in Shepherd’s Bush (2.5 hours, departures from 29 May), led by 36-year-old Sefanit Mengiste, will cost £82; Balkan Tastes and Culture on London’s South Bank (2.5 hours, departures from 29 May), led by 30-year-old Ella Hoxhai, will cost £89; while Moroccan Tea Ceremony and Dessert (45 minutes, virtual departures from 19 April), led by 31-year-old Kaoutar Hafsi, will cost £19.
All three tours are on sale now; 15% of the tour fare will be donated to Women in Travel, which reinvests 100% of its profits into training and mentoring underprivileged women.