TOURISM GHANA HOSTS FIRST REGIONAL CONGRESS ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN THE TOURISM SECTOR
As Acclaim Nigeria makes participated and covered the Accra event
As one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is increasingly recognized as a vital contributor to economic growth, job and wealth creation, poverty alleviation and environmental protection.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability, and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
Gender equality is crucial for the prosperity and sustainable development of all societies and countries, The importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls have been underscored in SDGs five of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,
Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyas: Minister for tourism,
Arts & Culture of Ghana during her opening remarks.
which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.
In view of the above, the first Regional Congress on Women’s Empowerment in the Tourism Sector-focus on Africa, took place in Accra, Ghana from 25 to 27 November 2019. The Congress, the first of its kind to be held in Africa aims at:
● working towards mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment within policy frameworks.
● analyzing the current challenges and opportunities for women’s empowerment in the tourism sector.
● exchanging and share national experiences on women’s empowerment.
● engaging stakeholders to support and increase the participation of women in education, entrepreneurship and leadership.
● exploring new opportunities for women’s empowerment using technology.
● creating synergies among African countries and key stakeholders for greater cooperation in the promotion of women’s empowerment in the tourism sector.
● identifying gaps in the collection of sex-disaggregated data collection and areas for future research.
The regional meeting brings together a number of tourism stakeholders in a series of panels to share best practice and set common proposals to address gender equality in the tourism sector for inclusive development in Africa, present proposals to improve women’s participation in the workforce, increase women’s entrepreneurship and women’s leadership in the sector. The panelists also sensitized all stakeholders to work to end sexual exploitation in tourism and the exploitation of women as cheap labour.
The continent’s Congress was attended by important actors in the tourism sector, including : Tourism stakeholders, National Tourism Administrations, Tourism Ministers, Public authorities, public gender-equality Institutions and private sector representatives with interest in working on women’s empowerment in the tourism sector in Africa.
Declaring the event opened, The Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture in Ghana, Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the host minister, highlighted in her welcome address the importance of the theme, “Building the Future Together“, stating that the theme in her opinion validates the important facts and issues
surrounding women in tourism and reflects a symbiotic relationship between women entrepreneurs and women in tourism and by extension, development.
The Honouable Minister added that the Congress has been a conjuncted idea that will help put tourism at the forefront of gender equality and women’s empowerment efforts across Africa. Furthermore, she urged the participants to raise awareness about great impact and role women are making in the travel and tourism sectors which makes the sector blossom and attractive.
Secretary General of the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvil, The Chair of the UNTWO Commission for Africa Zambia’s Tourism Minister, Roland Chitotela and the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Hon. Mrs. Auxillia Mnangagwa, in their respective keynote address spoke on the theme for the event and emphasized on the need to continually and consciously promote women in the tourism sector in Africa.
Mr. Pololikashvili stated that the “UNWTO is firmly committed to breaking down the barriers women face in the tourism sector so that tourism may stay at the forefront of gender equality efforts here in Africa and across the world
Mrs. Elcia Grandcourt, the UNWTO regional director for Africa during her general recommendation of the Regional Congress on day 2 of the event stated that tourism has acted as agent of positive change and contribution towards the 2030 agenda and Sustainable Development Goal particularly the goal 5: achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girl child.
Moreso, she highlighted the endorsement of the leadership taskforce group organized for women empowerment in Africa led by the Honorable Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture in Ghana Hon. Barbara Oteng Gyas and supported by other tourism ministers and panelists during the Congress to work on the UNWTO action plan for women in tourism.
The taskforce will be concentrating their effort to elaborate practical pilot projects on women empowerment and will continuously encourage all UNWTO member States to work closely with the organization on this subject.
Mrs. Grandcourt finally spotlighted eight key areas as conclusion and recommendation of the Regional Congress: these include: Policy, Entrepreneurship, Employment, Financing, Education and Training, Technology, Leadership, Community and Civil Society.
Mr. Zhu Shanzhong the Executive Director of the UNWTO gave a brief closing remark by appreciating the Vice president of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia for his presence, which is a testimony of the engagement of the Government of Ghana towards women empowerment and gender equality.
He expressed deep appreciation to all ministers, dignitaries and all participants of the Congress. He mentioned that tourism in Africa is a flourishing sector that supports more than 10 million jobs and in the near future more opportunities will be created, urging all to invest more in tourism as the sector is fast growing and becoming a front voice in community growth and development. He said UNWTO enhances positive perspectives of tourism particularly the contribution to the eco-treatment to the empowerment of women.
The 3-day event witnessed unsual liveliness in the city-state as various destinations from all over the world led to Accra-Ghana. Global visitors who attended the programmed experienced the enviable hospitality, friendliness and courtesies of Ghanaians and look forward to visiting the country as occasion demands. The presence of the Spanish Fist Lady, wife of the current Prime Minister, H.E Mrs. Maria Begona Gomez Fenandez was duly acknowledged and applauded. Gracia Espana for continued contributions to women growth and global development
Acclaim Nigeria magazine was fully represented by its senior diplomatic correspondent, Mr. Moses Oyeleye Taiwo. Welcome to Accra.., Africa…Welcome to World Tourism Promotions…AKWAABA!