How Trailblazing Women Are Driving Recovery In The Tourism Sector

“Women should not have to prove themselves any more. We’ve always worked hard to deliver results. I am proud of what we have accomplished in this industry and what we continue to achieve.”

If there’s one thing COVID19 has taught the tourism and hospitality sector, it’s that women are the backbone of our industry and the cornerstone of growth, demonstrating enormous strength and resilience in times of crisis. Indeed, I think women have played a pivotal role in helping the brands they work for survive the global pandemic.

I am constantly impressed and inspired by the women around me. They are natural-born leaders in a landscape that has always been filled with exceptional women doing extraordinary things, driving a lot of the strategies that have enabled hotel brands to overcome the critical challenges the pandemic presented us with.

We understand that during turbulent times women know how to cope and excel at weathering crises, driving innovation and trailblazing as they go.

I didn’t study hospitality or tourism, but started in a position with one of the major hotel groups in 2003. That’s where I fell in love with this industry and all these years later that love affair continues. Over the years and now in my current position, I have seen first-hand how the glass ceiling that has frustrated women in the tourism industry for decades, has now been removed.

More and more women are moving into tourism and hospitality as owners and stakeholders, as well as running tourism authorities and industry associations. Here in South Africa there are more women at executive level than ever before. There are enormous opportunities now for women in this industry and those brands that understand the value of women in leadership positions are now relying on them even more as we recover from the pandemic and rebuild our industry.

What Does the Future Hold?

Fortunately, the tourism industry is coming back and quickly.  It was critical during the time of lockdown to re-strategize and re-target quickly.  Especially for well-known international brands that relied heavily on international tourists.  Likewise, the conferencing & MICE markets when companies not only stopped business travel but also incentive and motivational visits to other countries.

Engaging with online marketing and digital marketing campaigns was a lifeline.  As well as embarking on more creative social media to increase engagement so as to work with both traditional and online agents.

I firmly believe that going through the pandemic has helped future-proof tourism, not only locally, regionally but also worldwide. We have had to change the way we did things and focus on new markets and it was good to create and implement the strategies that helped us to survive where so many others didn’t.

I am passionate about driving transformation and empowerment for women across the tourism industry.

One of the things important for me is uplifting each other as women.

There are some very strong women who are pioneering and trailblazing in the hospitality sector, but progress is painfully slow. It’s not enough to own small bed and breakfast establishments and guest houses, we have to be out there  playing in the major hospitality group landscape. The opportunities are there, we just need the backing of serious funding to be made available and actual investment made into women ownership. As women, we need to stand together. COVID19 taught us during lockdown how resilient and strong this industry is and how important it was working together. That’s what we need to do now to help the cause of women.

Women should not have to prove themselves any more. We’ve always worked hard to deliver results. I am proud of what we have accomplished in this industry and what we continue to achieve.

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