In an industry dominated by females, both in terms of passenger counts and employment ranks, it seems to me that men get too much of the credit in the travel business.

While females account for 7 in 10 jobs in this industry, males typically dominate c-level leadership positions, grace halls of fame and hold the lion’s share of board-of-director seats.

Even though the industry seems a bit out of whack, this edition of Leisure Group Travel isn’t. Our second annual women’s travel issue focuses on unique challenges facing women in the travel business, profiles successful women’s travel companies and provides destination inspiration for new girls getaways.

In “Women’s Travel Companies Take Center Stage,” I interviewed the leading women’s-only, women-run tour companies to better understand the dynamics of tours designed for women. We learn how this sector started, where groups are traveling and why there’s a growing demand for vacations designed exclu-sively for small groups of female travelers.

As contributing writer Lisa Curtin illustrates in her article “Female-Owned Companies in the Travel Business,” it’s a balancing act for female leaders who strive for success in their business and home life. (See page 16.)
Our Industry Spotlight focuses on the only group travel conference that’s run exclusively by women-owned businesses, Spotlight Travel Network. Sue Arko and her regional (all female!) partners now have four regional shows under their umbrella. Read about the latest event in Mississippi and upcoming shows for the remainder of 2017 and 2018.

Destination coverage in this edition uncovers unique vacation spots that appeal to women travelers. From “Bonding in Budapest” and “Girlfriend Getaways in Mississippi” to Gone with the Girls itinerary options in Georgia and Alabama’s female tourism leaders sharing their local favorites, we’ve packed a lot of female-friendly trip ideas into this issue.

As we were assembling this edition, I thought of my own mother countless times. She worked for United Airlines in the early days when it was headquartered at Chicago’s Midway Airport. Back then, airplane travel was a novelty reserved for the rich and famous or business executives, not the huddled masses that I typically sit next to.

She’d often relay tales of boardroom battles at UAL where tight-fisted executives chain-smoked, started in on highballs at 3 each afternoon and, from what I could gather, swore and shouted their way to the top of the United food chain. She’s the reason I’m in the travel industry, telling this story to you today.

  • Jeff Gayduk