“We want to be a part of the story of how we reshape the future of travel.”

My favorite quote: You’re only as good as the people around you. My happy place: With a book on the beach

Janine Salame

Reshaping the future of travel

MOVING FAST BEYOND EXPECTATIONS. If there’s one word that best sums up Janine Salame’s entrepreneurial path so far, it would be ‘resilience’. The concept for her latest venture, Travel Creators, can be traced back more than 20 years ago, when she completed her studies in travel and tourism in South Africa. Her father, a vegetable trader, gave her an ultimatum: if she didn’t find a job within a month, she would work for him. “That's when I found my first travel agent job. I just took it because I didn't want to go back home.”

In less than ten years she had worked her way through the corporate travel industry to become the youngest female managing director in South Africa. Keen to gain a fresh perspective on the business, in 2015 Janine moved to the UK with her partner Chanti. The industry was booming until 2020, when COVID quickly decimated it.

“It was difficult to watch, but at the same time, we had always seen a super fragmented, antiquated and bureaucratic industry across the board within travel. And that's where Travel Creators was born.”

SETTING A NEW STANDARD. Janine founded Travel Creators with Chanti. The vision is to create a travel marketplace that empowers creators so that they can inspire the next generation of travellers with authentic, curated travel experiences. “We are super passionate about rebuilding the travel industry. We've seen so many of our family and friends impacted during COVID. But we've also seen how travel truly unites different cultures. We want to be a part of the story of how we reshape the future of travel.”

Janine’s decision to pursue a career in travel is incredibly personal. The daughter of parents who fled Lebanon in the 1970s and moved to South Africa as part of the Lebanese diaspora, her family were ultimately displaced across the world. “I saw how my family worked so hard to save money to put us on a flight so they could all meet in Lebanon for this big holiday once every five years. And that was the true inspiration, the defining moment.”

For Janine, being a lesbian hasn’t negatively impacted her journey – “people know me for my authenticity and who I am as an individual” – but she is acutely aware of struggles faced by females, BAME and LGBTQIA+ communities in their entrepreneurial journey. “We as the older generation in some way, shape, or form, have to open up those doors for the individuals that are coming through. I surround myself with people that are authentic to who I am, and that resonates with me.”

Janine has another crucial piece of advice for hardy young entrepreneurs, imparted to her when she was 20 years-old by the CEO of a multinational global company: “Don't fuck it up.”

“It is a boys club, it is white collar. You’ve got to know people who know people, that's the reality of it. But I suppose if there's anything I've learned out of the entire process is resilience and patience, to keep knocking the door open, and to not stop.”

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.