Kigali, Rwanda: The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reiterated the importance of women’s engagement in Travel & Tourism to catapult its growth and achieve a thriving and resilient sector at the Women Deliver Global Conference, in Kigali, Rwanda.
Speaking at the conference, Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, emphasised the importance of promoting women’s involvement in the sector and overcoming challenges for success in the business world.
The event served as a platform to address the challenges faced by women in the Travel & Tourism sector and explore strategies to overcome them, aiming to inspire change and promote equal opportunities for women in the sector.
The panel discussions shed light on the challenges faced by women in various aspects of the business, including barriers to entry, operational obstacles, and ecosystem limitations.
The event underscored the vital role of mentorship in empowering young women and girls in business. Through networking, opportunities, and resources, mentorship programs unlock their potential for economic transformation.
During her address, Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “It is proven that companies that have 50% women in their leadership make more money. This makes even more sense in travel and tourism where women make the buying decisions on where to go on holiday.
“It also makes good sense to employ women in senior roles; why would you exclude access to 50% of global talent.
“Rwanda has a great track record with a majority of women MPs in the Parliament. President Kagame addressed the Women Deliver, for the first time held in Africa, with real passion and a track record of gender equality.
“Putting women centre stage in Travel & Tourism will ensure a better future for the sector and the global economy. Currently, more than half of the sector is made up of women.
“By addressing the barriers and inequalities they face, we can unlock immense potential and drive sustainable growth.
“The ‘Women Deliver’ event serves as a catalyst for change, bringing together sector leaders, policymakers, and advocates to work collectively towards a more diverse and prosperous future.”
According to the global tourism body, women constitute approximately 54% of the workforce. Travel & Tourism provides accessible opportunities for women, but it also faces disparities such as lower pay and job security.
These disparities were reflected in the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, where a majority of the 62 million jobs lost in the travel and tourism sector were women’s jobs.
WTTC urges both the public and private sectors to play their part in promoting women’s participation in the Travel & Tourism sector. It says governments should adopt policies that promote women in senior management, such as mandatory quotas for publicly listed companies and state-owned enterprises.
The private sector should offer targeted professional development programs for women and create networking and mentoring opportunities.
WTTC remains committed to advocating for gender equality, working closely with its members, governments, and industry partners to foster an environment where women have equal opportunities to excel, lead, and shape the future of the travel and tourism sector.