Cel­e­brat­ing women’s con­tri­bu­tion to tourism

Vuk'uzenzele - - Front Page - Su­laiman Philip

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.

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