THE chief executive of a luxury travel business has been short-listed for the 2011 First Women Awards.

Jennifer Atkinson, of Chester-based International Travel Connections (ITC), has been picked out in the Tourism and Leisure category.

She is hoping to attend the awards ceremony at the Grand Connaught Rooms, London, this evening (Thursday) where the winner will be unveiled.

Jennifer, 36, who lives in Manchester with husband David, said it was ‘very flattering’ to be short-listed.

She does not set out to be a role-model for other women but is pleased if she has a positive influence.

“It’s very much a female industry. If you go into any travel agents you will see many women but there are not many women at the top of travel companies,” she said.

Jennifer joined ITC in 2004 as marketing director and was promoted to CEO in recognition of her determination and strong business acumen in what has been a challenging time for the luxury travel industry.

She had been groomed for the top job by the company’s founder Drew Foster, a pioneer in the luxury travel industry, whom she regarded as her mentor but who unfortunately passed away in 2009 aged 65.

Now in their seventh year, the First Women Awards, in association with Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, recognise pioneering women across business and professional life, who are leading the way for the next generation.

The awards were created, and are hosted, by Real Business and the CBI.

Helen Alexander, the first female president of the CBI, said: “The 2011 short-lists are some of the strongest yet, showing how talented women are shaping the future of many of our most significant organisations.”