Celebrating women’s contribution to tourism
Tourism has The potential to be a major driver of economic transformation, as a handful of Western Cape women are showing.
The Department of Tourism plans to increase the number of women in ownership and managment positions over the next few years.
“Tourism is a key driver of our economy, with a immense potential to fast track radical and economic transformation,” the Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa says.
It is important for the tourism sector to take the lead in transformation through opening up opportunites for women.
Minister Xasa says one of the biggest obstacles to the empowerment of women in the tourism sector is access to funding and managerial skills. This is why government entities have set up programmes like the Industrial Development Corporation’s Women Entrepreneurial Fund.
The Park Inn Hotel by Radisson in Newlands, Cape Town, is special. Opened in 2014, the three-star hotel was designed and built to make it accessible to disabled visitors. It also houses the offices of Deaf SA and a third of its staff is hearing impaired.
Just as important, Minister Xasa said on a recent visit, is that more than 50 per cent of its staff are women, with 10 in managerial positions.
The minister was speaking during a recent tour of women-owned and managed tourism establishments in the Western Cape.
Transforming the tourism sector
It is important, she said, that the role women play in the industry be recognised.
“With a workforce comprised largely of women operating at the lower levels of the value chain, it is incumbent on our sector to lead the process of gender diversity and transformation that will result in more women occupying executive positions,” she said.
The minister also visited women-owned restaurants and a bed and breakfast in Khayelitsha. She had lunch with Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena at her 4Roomed eKasi Culture.
Mbalo-Mokoena, a trained dentist and contestant on MasterChef SA, dreamed of owning a restaurant at which she could serve local cuisine in a township setting.
Another woman entrepreneur, Nomalungelo Sotyingwe, owner of Lungi’s BnB, shared her experiences,
Tourism is a key driver of South Africa's economy.