Accra, June 28, GNA – A summit aimed at advancing the status of women in tourism in Ghana has opened in Accra.
The summit the second in the series is also to provide the necessary exposure and platform through which women would be empowered.
It is on the theme: “Women empowerment, catalyst for establishing a sustainable tourism Business.”
It is being organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Africa Tourism Partners.
Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the theme for the summit validated the significant role of women in tourism, and provides the signpost for the empowerment of women.
She said no development was complete without women being factored in as a major index of the development process, adding that women can adequately drive goals in tourism at the different levels of endeavour to ensure sustainable tourism.
She said tourism provided great opportunities for women’s participation in the workforce, women’s entrepreneurship, women’s leadership than any other sector of the economy.
“According to the UNWTO, in certain countries, tourism has almost twice as many women employers whiles in other countries, more than 70 percent of business owners are women, compared to just about 20 percent in other sectors of the economy.”
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi noted that in leadership women were more likely to have a voice at the decision making level in tourism business association, and tourism governance than in any other sector.
She said the tourism arts and culture sector provided various entry points for women’s employment and opportunities to operate self-employment in small and medium size income generating activities.
She, however, noted that, despite these advantages and advancements for women, significant inequality also persisted and to better address these inequalities, gender needed to be incorporated into tourism projects designs from inception.
She said income generation opportunities for women in tourism could be more effectively realised if the challenges confronting women entrepreneurs and business owners were identified and tackled.
The sector Minister said challenges such as access to credit, management training and access to market remained significant challenges to women in the tourism small and medium sector, saying women were endowed with entrepreneurial skills where creativity and remuneration were key.
She urged women operating in the sector to take the commanding heights of business opportunities in the sector by forming partnerships both locally and internationally with other successful businesses in the sector.
She expressed the hope that the summit would create the platform for stakeholders to deliberate on the critical issues and agree on a common roadmap to help achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The Minister charged them to come out with solid and definite actionable proposals for the empowerment of women in the industry, assuring that the Ministry would look at those proposals and receive the needed and requisite attention for implementation to ensure the success of women businesses in the tourism sector.
Mr Akwesi Agyemang, Chief Executive Officer, GTA, said tourism was considered as one of the world’s largest economic stimulators, and the increased contributions of women in the sector in recent years had positively impacted the industry.
He said despite their impact, women continued to be underrepresented in management and leadership, saying the goal of the summit amongst others was to discuss how they could provide the enabling environment to empower and encourage more women to reach the upper echelons of tourism practice.
He said the summit would not only focus on panel discussions, but serve as a platform for gender training and learning, and provide knowledge to assist tackle inequalities and discrimination against women in the tourism industry.