Peak DMC has reached its 2020 goal of doubling the number of female tour leaders it employs six months early.
The organisation – which is made up of more than 20 destination management companies across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, and is an operational arm of the Intrepid Group – increased its number from 153 to 314 between March 2017, when it set the target, and June 2019.
Zina Bencheikh, regional general manager EMENA at Peak DMC, said: “Globally, we have dozens of employees who started out working as tour leaders and are now in managerial positions. However, hardly any are female because in many countries tour leading is seen as ‘unsuitable’ for women.”
“Unless we took proactive steps to support women to become tour leaders, it just wouldn’t happen,” she added.
But reaching the goal has had its challenges.
In Morocco, Bencheikh had to lobby the government to make tour guide licence tests available to women and, in countries where women needed permission from parents to take the test, the Peak DMC team contacted the families directly to assist in the process.
Bencheikh is “incredibly proud” of the female-focused expansion and feels it is “changing attitudes” in-destination.
Peak DMC is also working towards a more equal gender split in its supply chain of locally owned businesses by giving preference to those owned by women.
“Brands want to work with us, as they can see our commitment to gender equality is genuine and for the long-term,” concluded Bencheikh.