A Taskforce for Women in Tourism

12 Mar 19

In the framework of the UNWTO Women in Tourism Empowerment Programme – Focus on Africa (WITEP), the first meeting of the Leadership Taskforce was held on 25 January 2019 during FITUR at the UNWTO Headquarters. This is a forum for the debate of proposals and activities geared towards promoting women empowerment and leadership in tourism in the Africa region.

The meeting kicked off with the unanimous appointment of H.E. Catherine Afeku, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Ghana, as the chair of the Taskforce group. She will hold this position for a period of two years. Successive chairs will be appointed on a rotation basis between the member states of the taskforce group.

H.E. Catherine Afeku, upon addressing the participants at the meeting emphasized that “Women in the tourism sector are invisible but they contribute a lot; we need to give them that visibility”. It was agreed that the lack of skills in the women’s workforce is due to an absence of suitable programmes that could calculate the value of women in tourism.

Africa is a region that is seeing more and more appointment of women in key positions especially in the tourism sector.  The following African Women Tourism Ministers attended this first meeting: H.E. Ângela Bragança, Minister of Hospitality and Tourism of Angola, H.E. Nina Walet Intallou, Minister of Handicrafts and Tourism of Mali and H.E. Memunatu B. Pratt, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs of Sierra Leone. Representatives of the following member states were also present at the meeting; Mrs. Mouna Ghliss, Director General of Studies and International Cooperation, Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts of Tunisia, Ms. Maylene Broderick, Chief Director of Enterprise Development and Transformation from the Ministry of Tourism South Africa, Mrs. Marie Solange Tiesse, Director of Tourism from the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire in Spain, and Dr. Dimakatso Malwela, Women of Value SA (WOVSA) from the private sector of South Africa.

During the meeting, the taskforce discussed the results of the UNWTO Member State Questionnaire that was distributed among the members. This questionnaire helped to gather information from several member states about the situation of women in tourism in their respective countries. Furthermore, the taskforce established that the WITEP programme should focus long-term on the general theme of women in tourism, but short-term to focus on more specific topics developed through pilot projects. The members agreed that given the level of experience that South Africa has on this issue, the first pilot project of the WITEP programme will be launched in South Africa.