Increasing the participation of women in the travel and tourism industry is critical to future growth, said the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) during this year’s Women Deliver Conference (WD2023) held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Addressing the conference, WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson underlined the importance of promoting women’s involvement in the sector and finding ways to overcome challenges.
Indicatively, females make up 54 percent of the workforce in the sector but at the same time despite available opportunities for women, issues such as lower pay and job security are still widespread. Add to that the Covid pandemic, which led to the loss of 62 million jobs in travel and tourism, the majority of those held by females.
The event, which explored strategies to overcome disparities and promote equal opportunities for women in the sector, highlighted the challenges they face, including barriers to entry, operational obstacles and ecosystem limitations.
Ways recommended to improve women’s participation in travel and tourism include public-private collaboration which will ensure they receive training, the need for mentorship programs aimed at empowering young women and girls in business, the creation of networking opportunities, and easy access to resources which will help build secure careers.
The WTTC is calling on governments to adopt policies that promote women in senior management, including introducing mandatory quotas for publicly listed companies and state-owned enterprises.
It is also urging the private sector to offer targeted professional development programs for women and to create networking and mentoring opportunities.
“It is proven that companies that have 50 percent 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 percent of global talent,” said Simpson.
“Putting women center stage in travel and tourism will ensure a better future for the sector and the global economy,” she added.