Women-led Indian community tour launches in Ealing

A tour celebrating Indian culture in North London was launched in collaboration with a social enterprise bringing women into the travel industry. 

Vaishali Patel, a graduate of Women in Travel’s tour guiding academy, launched the Immersive Indian Community Tour of North London, which travels along Ealing Road to uncover Indian flavours, clothing and traditions.

The tour, which has run since in December 2023, takes visitors to explore the Shri Santana Hindu temple made of imported Indian limestone, sample Indian sweets, visit a family-run sari shop, and try typical street food.

Patel said: “Seeing this area through the eyes of other cultures has made me appreciate my culture more. 

“Everything is on this one road that you could experience in a town in India and it focuses predominantly on Western Indian culture.

“All the things that I take for granted my mentor was wowed by, so I started to see Ealing Road from different eyes and I could see why somebody who doesn’t come from Gujarati culture or maybe Indian culture might find these things really insightful.”

Patel confirmed a percentage of the proceeds from each tour goes back into supporting Women in Travel CIC, to help further other women’s employability.  

The social enterprise aims to connect underserved female and diverse talent, many of whom are refugees or survivors of domestic abuse, human trafficking or homelessness, to employment opportunities in the travel and tourism industry. 

Alessandra Alonso, MD and Founder of Women in Travel CIC, said: “You may think that the industry is inherently diverse, but actually when it comes to looking at the composition of the industry it is not as diverse as you would expect.

“There are a lot of commercial reasons why you need women to be involved in the decision making, to take leadership positions and have their view represented in industry and tourism, because women are buying, spending money and women are the customers.”

Alessandra added the social enterprise helped 139 women in the pandemic and supported 30 women to return to tourist jobs.

Another graduate Sefanit Meganiste runs the Ethiopian Flavours of Shepherds Bush tour, available through Intrepid Travel’s Urban Adventures programme. 

The three hour Immersive Indian Community Tour of North London costs £65 and runs on Saturdays.

All images provided by Women in Travel CIC

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