#InspireInclusion: Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

by Khaila Gentle

Did you know that approximately 54 % of the tourism workforce worldwide is female? From breaking barriers to breaking records, and even breaking stereotypes, women are and have been at the heart of travel for a very long time. This year, International Women’s Day – observed on March 8th – is being celebrated under the theme #InspireInclusion.

Through this year’s theme, IWD is sounding the call to work towards a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.


Tourism must continue to deliver on its potential as a driver of women’s empowerment and opportunity”.


-The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)


In Belize and beyond, there are countless phenomenal women, including entrepreneurs, leaders, cultural ambassadors, and adventurers, whose achievements and contributions – no matter how big or small – are worthy of praise. Here are just a few of them.

From Belize to the World: the Trailblazing Destiny Wagner 

Photo courtesy of Photography by Quilz Tamay

Most know her as Miss Earth 2021, but Belize’s Destiny Wagner dons many titles. That includes entrepreneur, poet, traveler, influencer, and, undoubtedly, a “PG gyal” at heart. Hailing from the quiet town of Punta Gorda, Destiny made history when she won the title of Miss Earth. She became the first Belizean woman to ever win a crown in any of the major international beauty pageants, making her country proud. Since then, Destiny has traveled extensively, visiting countries like South Africa and Puerto Rico. She also earned the title of Belize’s Sustainable Tourism Ambassador.

Honouring Our Tourism and Hospitality Heroes 


Belize’s hospitality world is filled with hardworking and dedicated women who go above and beyond to provide memorable experiences to those who opt to explore Belize. That includes:

Dasha Shivers – The Managing Director at Ray Caye Island Resort, Dasha has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years now. As a woman in tourism, Dasha makes it her duty to lead by example. She’s also never one to shy away from hard work or a challenge.

Mariam Roberson and Paulita Bedran – The Bedran sisters of San Ignacio Resort Hotel are both hands-on when it comes to running the legacy left behind by their father Escandar Bedran, alongside their siblings. In August 2023, the SIRH celebrated 47 years in the business.

Magali Perdomo Gabb – A woman known as one of Belize’s leaders in rum making, Magali Perdomo Gabb is the General Manager of Travellers Liquors Ltd. In a heavily male-dominated industry, Perdomo Gabb stands out as a true inspiration for women in rummaking.

Meet South Africa’s First Black Female Freediving Instructor 

She’s been nicknamed the black mermaid, and with her striking blue tresses and ocean blue wetsuit, it’s a nickname that Zandi Ndhlovu wears well. A woman who is breaking both barriers and stereotypes, Ndhlovu has been challenging the long-held narrative that people who look like her “don’t swim.” Today, she is South Africa’s first black female freediving instructor.

I looked beneath the surface of the water and couldn’t believe the overwhelming blue, the yellow fish, and the sun rays on the coral reef. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.”


Ndhlovu also helped to establish the Black Mermaid Foundation. Through it, she has been working to ensure that marginalized children have access to the ocean. Last year, she was named one of the BBC’s 100 Women of 2023.

How CC+L Is Celebrating International Women’s Day

From the multifaceted Destiny Wagner to leading travel expert Louise Roe Courtenay, Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle is shining the spotlight on women who are fueled by wanderlust. Celebrating Women Who Travel is a mini-blog series that aims to get to know some of the country’s adventurous women a bit more. Check out our interviews and our other Women’s Day features here.

Happy International Women’s Day from the CC+L Team! 

Featured Photo by Gaia Riverlodge

Related Articles