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The first year of the We Lead project has been a productive one, and it concludes with
the publication and dissemination of our first two resources as part of Eye-Opener
Work Package 2.

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Unlock the power of women's leadership in tourism with the We Lead project. From engagingmeetings in picturesque Iceland to the upcoming rendezvous in Ireland, get inspired by the stories ofwomen leading sustainable tourism across Europe. Join us indriving the change and making adifference in the tourism industry. Curious? Dive into our newsletter to discover more!

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Some 10 years ago, when he worked for a corporate company in London, Dr Darren Thomas Baker saw that a confidence course was taking place in-house.

“I remember thinking, ‘Gosh, I could really do with going on a confidence course to progress in my career’. I had a conversation with my mentor at that time; these were people more senior in the organisation who looked after our careers. But when I asked him, it transpired that the course was only for women.”

This was Baker’s “first interaction” with the promotion of confidence at work. Some years passed, he made a career move into academia and lecturing on business in society in University College Dublin. (He has since gone on to Monash University, Melbourne.) Along the way, Baker observed “the saturation of confidence in our personal and working lives”.

The beauty industry uses it to sell products to women — “Dove is an obvious example” — and women are advised to ‘lean in’ and to adopt ‘power poses’ ahead of interviews and meetings.

He noticed how confidence was “always a good thing. And I think anything that we assume is good always has to be held with some suspicion”.

Baker’s suspicions were well founded. For his PhD, he conducted psychoanalytically informed, in-depth interviews with 30 male and 36 female senior leaders who work as directors, partners and executives in accounting and finance in the UK and found that not only is confidence gendered, but it is weaponised against women and other underrepresented groups.

“It’s Darren’s research but I suppose I had the lived experience of seeing women counselled around confidence — negotiating that knife-edge — so I could contextualise the research. I was a partner at Deloitte for 10 years,” says Bourke. “If you go into any of the large multinationals around the world, they will all have a confidence-building programme for women. It’s still going on today.”

Baker describes confidence as “a distraction” from the real structural workplace issues that prevent women from progressing. “Confidence is used politically as a way to continue processes of inequality,” he says, and it is quite the damning statement.

Read more at:

From Generative AI to Biometrics


The travel industry has always been quick to adopt new technology, and as we approach 2023, it's no different. The industry is set to witness a plethora of new technological advancements that will completely transform the way we travel. In this blog post, we will be discussing three tech trends that are set to revolutionize the travel industry in 2023 and beyond.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) are rapidly gaining popularity in the travel industry. Travel companies are now using these technologies to provide immersive experiences to their customers. AR and VR can be used to create virtual tours of destinations, allowing travelers to experience a place before they visit it. This not only helps travelers plan their trips more effectively, but it also creates a sense of excitement and anticipation for the trip.

Virtual reality is also being used to enhance the in-flight experience. Airlines are experimenting with VR headsets to provide passengers with an immersive experience during their flight. This could include virtual tours of the destination, immersive movies or games, and even virtual reality experiences of the airline's premium cabins.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already being used in the travel industry to improve the booking process and customer service. However, AI is set to become even more prevalent in the industry in 2023. Travel companies are using AI to personalize the travel experience for each customer. This includes personalized recommendations for destinations, activities, and even restaurants based on the customer's preferences and past behavior.

AI is also being used to enhance customer service. Chatbots powered by AI can answer customer queries in real-time, providing quick and efficient solutions to common problems. This not only improves the customer experience, but it also reduces the workload for customer service agents, allowing them to focus on more complex issues.


Blockchain technology is being adopted by the travel industry to improve the security and transparency of transactions. Blockchain allows for secure, decentralized transactions that are transparent and immutable. This can be used to create a more secure booking process, ensuring that travelers' personal and financial information is protected.

Blockchain can also be used to create loyalty programs that are more transparent and fair. Blockchain-based loyalty programs can provide travelers with more control over their rewards and a more transparent view of how their rewards are earned and redeemed.

Women dominate the travel and hospitality industries as sellers, consumers, and workers. It is also estimated that women make 70% of all travel decisions. While women have founded and run many property management companies, the proportion of women in business often decreases as one rises through the ranks. However, this phenomenon is not limited to the hospitality industry and can be found in the majority of industries. The World Economic Forum confirms this, revealing that women account for only 10% of CEOs and 15% of senior management. 

Within the hospitality industry, things are particularly precarious with women holding only 12% of leadership positions in the industry making the odds of a woman becoming CEO being one in every 20 men. Organizations themselves promote this gender segregation in this industry by managing recruitment processes with stereotypical stances of women's appropriate work roles.

These biases are frequently systemic and deeply ingrained, and they exist with the underlying stereotype of the ideal worker in the hospitality industry still being male, stifling women's career advancement. Women's professional status reflects this bias, with lower pay, low-status jobs at entry levels, stagnation at middle management levels, and obstacles as they work their way up to boardrooms and senior executive roles.

There is a clear case for increasing gender diversity in business, as well as a moral imperative, so why aren't more women climbing the ladder in the hospitality industry?

Early in our careers, a large portion of our industry's workforce is evenly distributed across both line and staff roles. By the time they reach the director level, women begin a disproportionate shift into staff roles. While some attribute the disproportionate shift of women in staff roles, it can be attributed to limited networking opportunities. We all know that networking is essential for leadership success. Even so, many women face difficulties using and accessing networks. Many talented women still consider networking to be a sleazy, inauthentic interaction. Apart from this "moral judgment" about networking, new research indicates that "gendered modesty" also prevents women from networking.

These obstacles also stem from culturally ingrained gender dynamics to the struggles of prioritizing family over the advancement of their careers. The sociocultural expectation from women that they will sacrifice their careers for their partners also dampens their motivation to take more responsibility that comes with higher positions. Research also demonstrates that women are more likely to pull themselves out of their career progressions due to the unbalanced burden and sociocultural expectations. 

However, things are changing in recent times in the hospitality industry. With leaders like Alison Gilbert from "The Lake Distillery", Angela Brav from "IHG", Hemma Varma of "Marriott" and Jean Winters from "Jean’s Kitchen", the future of hospitality is bright. But when it comes to the majority of other organizations, we need a lot of work to be put in.

Organizations must develop programs that actively promote gender equality to facilitate change. Gender equity, as well as other diversity strategies, must be planned for and built into the fabric of a company's mission, vision, and values. Policies and procedures can make a significant contribution to gender equality in the workplace, as evidenced by the increase in remote job opportunities, which have demonstrated increased innovation, productivity, employee well-being, and job satisfaction, as well as unlimited vacation programs that promote work-life balance. The future of our industry is dependent on positive changes in our workforce, from interns to CEOs. More women must be prepared to take on leadership roles and gain access to the C-suite. It will only help our industry in the future.

Welcome to the official blog of the WE LEAD project! We are excited to embark on this journey to promote gender equality, empower women in tourism leadership, and emphasize the crucial role women play in addressing climate change. This project aims to improve the quality and relevance of women's leadership in tourism education and equip them with the skills to embrace leadership roles and face challenges, especially as we transition towards climate neutrality.

The tourism sector is the third-largest socio-economic sector in the EU, with women making up 56% of the workforce. However, women are often underrepresented in senior positions and face various challenges, including wage gaps and weakened career opportunities. Through WE LEAD, we seek to address these challenges and ensure that women can thrive in the tourism industry.

Our objectives include:

Equipping VET educators with EYE OPENER knowledge of current facts and best practices relating to challenges, development needs, and opportunities faced by women in tourism, hospitality, and leisure.

Developing pedagogic and digital competencies of 60+ VET educators aligned with the principles of SDG5 to develop practical skills needed to become agents of change.

Empowering women to develop their 'voice' and become confident about taking on greater challenges in their professional careers.

Improving the health of our planet by creating awareness of associated links between tourism and climate change and how successful female leadership is in the realm of climate action.

Building the capacity of 40+ industry players and stakeholders across Europe to become advocates for gender balance and equity in tourism, hospitality, and leisure.

Optimizing the scalability and sustainability of our resources and actively promoting and sharing our work to reach more teachers and students.

Over the course of the project, we will develop three work packages and six project results to achieve these objectives, including discovery reports, best practices compendiums, educator guides, open educational resources (OERs), advocacy toolkits, and an interactive online forum.

Stay tuned to our blog as we share updates, insights, and success stories from the WE LEAD project. We will be featuring interviews with industry experts, showcasing best practices, and highlighting the achievements of our project participants.

We invite you to join us on this journey to empower women in the tourism sector and address the pressing issue of climate change. Together, we can make a difference and create a more sustainable, equitable future for all.

Don't forget to follow us on our social media channels for regular updates and to join the conversation using the hashtag #WeLeadTourism.

The European E-learning Institute (EUEI) is committed to providing high-quality learning experiences and innovative educational programmes which engage learners from a range of sectors and socio-economic backgrounds. EUEI is committed to promoting inclusive approaches to learning, sustainability and innovative teaching  across Europe, making them a perfect fit for the WE LEAD project!

Our experienced team of trainers, researchers and technical experts are uniquely placed to guide educators from VET, HEI, Adult and Youth sectors to harness the opportunities that innovative and collaborative e-learning and digital tools offer for learners.

We specialise in the delivering of high quality, responsive   and innovative projects to educators and learners in the topics of pedagogic approaches, entrepreneurial competences, digital skills, inclusion, and sustainability.

Meet our team working on the WE LEAD project

Canice Hamill- Managing Director

Canice has worked in the field of lifelong education for over 20 years and is recognised as an expert in instructional design and the development of e-learning solutions for education and training. A former trainer and lecturer, Canice utilises a holistic approach to creating innovative, interactive learning environments and works closely with tutors, trainers, and development teams, emphasising the importance of empathy and user experience in every learning solution.

Our Logician -Innovative Inventors with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge

Catherine Neill- European Project Manager

An experienced EU project manager, Catherine is an integral member of our team. She is an effective communicator and has a strong background in areas of Inclusion. The oldest of 5 children Catherine quickly learned how to lead the pack, utilising organisational skills alongside her passion for helping others, she is committed to making the world a more accessible, sustainable, and friendly place.

Our Protagonist -Charismatic and inspiring leaders, able to mesmerise their listeners.

Aine Hamill- European Project Officer

Aine plays an important role in the learning design and subsequently in evaluating the effectiveness of our eLearning products on completion. Aine is always keen to engage with her creative side and implement the newest digital tools, pedagogies, and trends into our e-learning solutions. She is passionate about finding effective and relevant ways to engage learners from all walks of life.

Our Defender-dedicated and warm protectors, able to implement ideas and “create order from chaos”.

Including our key role in the initiation of the WE LEAD project we will also work tirelessly alongside our project partners to deliver the highest quality project results as possible. Within the project EUEI will develop the project website and be responsible for the technical realisation of the materials.

Learn more about EUEI



Duncan O’Rourke, CEO Accor Northern Europe


Karelle Lamouche, Chief Commercial Officer, Accor Northern Europe


Led by CEO Duncan O’Rourke, Accor Northern Europe is a leading territory for Accor, consisting of more than 1,100 hotels and 160k rooms across a portfolio of 28 brands spanning 31 countries from Ireland to Russia. More than 40,000 hotel Heartists welcome more than 55 million guests every year. Accor Northern Europe is a manager, operator, franchise partner, service provider, brand owner and experience creator. We are a business committed to people; our guests, partners and talents; and the environment and local communities which we are part of.

The Return of travel Towards the end of last year, and again just days ago, across five European countries - UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Russia - we surveyed 6,000 people about their travel plans for 2022 and beyond. The results were highly positive. Despite recent setbacks with the Delta and Omicron variants, more than 80% plan to travel in 2022. They want to travel a lot. And after two years of restrictions, they want to spend significant sums. In fact, Accor’s research reveals people intend to spend 39% more on travel in 2022 than they did in 2019, with plans for between three and four trips across the year. Beach holidays top the wish list for travel in 2022 with 33% planning sun and sand. City breaks (26%) are expected to return strongly as the desire for cosmopolitan culture returns. The rewilding of mindful travel continues, heighten by Omicron. Research pre Omicron indicated one in five (20%) sought country escapes, but the recent pandemic surge resulted in an increased desire for nature, with 30% of travellers seeking holidays in nature in 2022. Omicron has also doubled our desire to explore our own country – at the end of 2021 just 14% of travellers were planning staycations and at the start of 2022 that number has doubled to 28%. Overall 25% of respondents are more likely to staycation as a result of Omicron. Also, after two challenging years, 14% of those polled are planning all-out luxury, the trip of a lifetime, to make up for all the lost travel in the pandemic years. Almost half (48%) agreed with the phrase: “Leisure travel is important for my work life balance”, a notable mind-set shift that has seen people the world over re-address their priorities and seek more from how they spend their time. People want to travel, they also want to be safe and are now adjusting to the fact that the two can go together. Reassurance is a must for travel in 2022 and beyond.

And we want to go to ... Just over half (55%) of those we surveyed in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Russia want to stay in Europe in 2022. The three most desirable destinations within Europe are seen as Italy (36%), Spain (30%) and Greece (28%), all of them offering an enticing combination of shorter flight times, warm climate, coastlines, family-friendly food, fashion and culture but there is also strong interest in other areas of Europe. When asked about worldwide destinations to visit this year, Europe still scores extremely highly but the USA and Thailand also feature. And we expect more long-haul travel in 2023 and beyond.

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