Firstly allow me to take this opportunity to salute all our mothers today and wish you all a happy mother’s day. In our culture, you do not need to birth a child to be a mother – my child is your child.In this vein, I warmly welcome you to the Women in Tourism Cocktail.
In 2010, the UNWTO released a Global Report on Women in Tourism; in the same year, South Africa commenced with various consultation with women in the sector to address so of the economic issues pertinent to women in this sector. The numerous consultations advanced to an establishment of the Women in Tourism Forum in 2014.
In light of the established Women in Tourism forum, a ‘soft launch’ for the forum was held at the 2014 Tourism Indaba where the official launch date was announced. The Women in Tourism forum’ s agenda is centred on ‘Commanding Respect, ascertaining Recognition of women contribution in the sector, encouraging Representation in economic activities and leadership, and producing Results which will enhance the supply and demand for domestic tourism’.
Subsequent to the Indaba launch, a formal launch conference was held on 08-09 October 2014 in Benoni. The conference received sponsorships for gifts and prices from some organisations such as Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Tourvest, Blue Train (through TBCSA), Ocean Therapy Salts, and many more.
The launch focused on unpacking the forum’s agenda, and touched on some fundamental attributions in business development and sustainability, such as mentorship, coaching and personal development. The opening speaker said ‘investing in women is a bankable investment which will alleviate poverty and unemployment’; this statement echoed the message communicated by the forum’. Speakers included some of the “heavyweights” in the tourism industry.
One of the highlight for the conference was the audio presentation by Ms Lucy Ferguson from UNWTO, who presented on the Women in Tourism Empowerment Programme.
The outcome of the conference included:
Accessibility and awareness: Creating online visibility through social media page, website to communicate the forum’s mandate.
Development of website in progress through Flow Communication
Structural arrangement: Establish provincial chapters
Letters were sent to provincial HOD requesting assistance with the establishment of provincial chapters.
EC, KZN, NW, NC have committed to assist, still awaiting feedback from other provinces
Participation in the NWTO Women in Tourism Empowerment Programme.
This is an item for discussion at the closed session with industry playersContact made with UNWTO in December 2014;
In a process of drafting a proposal and organising logistical requirements.
STPP and other partners are ready to be part of this programme
Development of skills database for the women in the industry
The database is developed and is being populate. It will be shared with forum members
The launch conference was succeeded by the launch of the Tourism Incentives Programme on 10 March 2015 in Gauteng.
We would like to make sure that more women-owned tourism enterprises are aware, and benefit from available government support. Earlier this year we announced the introduction of the Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP).
The programme offers financial support to tourism enterprises that aims to reduce the cost of doing business and to stimulate business growth and development. The pilot phase of the TIP in this year (2015/16) focus on reducing the cost of tourism grading and making it more affordable for small businesses to participate in international trade exhibitions and marketing roadshows.
In terms of grading support the TIP offers rebates between 30% and 50% on the assessment fees paid to the Tourism Grading Council. This will assist in reducing the input and operational costs for your business.
To improve access new international markets, the TIP provides support to qualifying businesses through subsidising the cost of participation and exhibition fees, and large rebates on the cost of airfare and accommodation.
We would like to encourage women-owned tourism enterprises to apply for the support offered under the TIP. The support for tourism grading and market access is only the start. In the years ahead, we will refine and expand the programme to support the accelerated transformation and growth of tourism enterprises. We are already planning a new programme subsidise tourism enterprises to retro-fit their facilities with renewable and more efficient energy systems.
The report on the State of Tourism Transformation In South Africa presented to parliament in September 2013, highlighted the discrepancies in the statistics for BEE compliance and the participation of female on ownership and management control. The statistics reflected that:
Approximately one-tenth (12%) of large enterprises had already achieved the 50% target for black directorship.
Only 4% had achieved the 25% target for black female directorship.
More than four-in-ten large enterprises had already achieved the 2012 target of 63% (Generic Target) for black middle/ junior management.
About two-in-ten of these enterprises had achieved the target of 32.5% (Generic Target) for black female middle and junior management.
Moreover, the current board composition for most organisations still depicts low women representation. For example South African Tourism Board of Directors has only 3 women out 11 members, Tourvest 1 out of 6, Imperial 2 out of 8, and City Lodge 1 out of 6.
These statistics are disappointing and undermines the transformation agenda. There is definitely a need for robust interactions within the industry to improve and obtain a fair representation of women in the sector. Amongst other things, the Women in Tourism platform becomes critical to harness this disjointed leadership representation in the sector
One of the key success factors in economic development and excellence is benchmarking. The UNWTO‘s Women In Tourism Empowerment Programme is a great programme to be associated with; it addresses women empowerment issues at a global scale, giving an opportunity to learn global tourism standards and norms, as well as enhancing the country’s comparative advantage. A pilot opportunity was presented to any willing country, and by assessing the credibility, added value and benefit attached to the UNWTO, it makes it a suitable vehicle to advance the agenda of WiT forum. Moreover, the NTSS and the rural tourism Strategy also focuses on skills development as one of the key objectives for development. The WiT Empowerment Programme focuses on four components, namely:
Employment SkillsSupply ChainCareer Advancement Gender Awareness
The Department will consider two components for piloting this programme, namely empowerment skills and career advancement.
Furthermore, continuous engagements with RETOSA are underway. RETOSA is also facilitating a Women in Tourism at a regional scale, thus, it is critical for the South African WIT forum to align to the regional and international standards and best practices.
Further engagements with RETOSA will include possible partnership in the UNWTO’s WITEP opportunity.
Moving forward, the Women in Tourism Forum is focusing onProvincial chapter mobilizationHosting a 2015 Women in Tourism Conference in September/ OctoberParticipation at the RETOSA 2015 conferenceTaking up other international opportunities
I would like to conclude with the quote: “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” Malibongwe!
I thank you