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Evolving Women - Evolving Tourism Sector

Women are overcoming and evolving from the so called web of stereotypes flying towards the expanse of vast sky of tourism.

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Women and tourism and hospitality are closely connected. Women have a genetic configuration that makes them perfect hosts and planners. Haven’t we all seen this in our households- small or big - the woman ensuring her home is all set and well decorated, neat and in order? Usually it always used to be our Mom’s planning the vacations, ensuring the minute details of packing, all things needed etc are all checked. Or packing that picnic basket and lunches on sunday outings.... Women evolving in tourism and hospitality are a natural corollary to who we are!!

So when one speaks of “empowerment -why do we need that word - why is it used? Perhaps what one wants to do is give women an opportunity to move ahead as equals - in the tourism industry or for that matter in any profession.

In the 80 ‘s and 90’s women in this sector usually got frontline roles - like welcoming guests or front office managers, guest relationship officers , housekeeping, air hostess , ticketing front line managers etc while the management roles were usually dominated by males ! Seldom would you hear about a woman GM of a 5 star hotel or a Lady Captain commanding an aircraft!

Gender bias and vertical growth challenge was a common practice.

It was a tough time. Most of us have experienced in the 90’s despite of our capability, commitment and ten times more smartness and common sense, promotions in leadership roles were doled out conveniently to male colleagues. Women were often reduced to adding a glamour quotient in big sales pitches. It wasn’t easy to make way in a male dominated industry- and there was always this fear of losing out and sexual harassment- a common occurrence in this industry. Well those were tough times but some women were tougher. They stood their ground, Moved ahead, spoke up and these women then “encouraged” other women too.

No one empowers anyone- you alone have that power to empower yourself.

Tourism as an industry can provide innumerable opportunities for women.

Whether it’s the hospitality, aviation or travel sector women are evolving and forging ahead! This sector is actually recognized as an important contributor to help creating new job opportunities to women. Indeed, globally, in the tourism industry 46% of the workforce are women.

Does the gender aspect affect women’s employment and selection in leadership roles in planning and management in tourism sector? Today most of us would like to believe that has changed. Tourism has evolved and glass ceilings are slowly and steadily shattering. Leading roles for women basis capability and merit is the norm.

There is a surge in women entrepreneurs across all sectors and Tourism is leading this surge.

We, as new age woman entrepreneurs running successful businesses have a welcoming and flexible approach. We come across women across the country running small home-stays and boutique hotels , wellness resorts or small restaurants with local food -one feels proud to see strong entrepreneurs and a professional approach- yes women today have recognised opportunities in eco tourism, sustainable tourism development and have empowered themselves .

Women are overcoming and evolving from the so called web of stereotypes flying towards the expanse of vast sky of tourism. Our flight includes the following areas:

1. Top management roles in tourism and hospitality and improving the business environment;

2. Entrepreneurship-Expanding market opportunities;

3. Strengthening productivity and opening new avenues and experimenting in tourism with great ideas

World tourism trade council (WTTC) reports tourism contributed to 6.8% of Indias GDP in 2019!

Not only is tourism known to be the third largest foreign exchange earner, it is also a key growth driver. In 2019 alone it supported 8% of employment!

We all are hoping that going forward tourism will offer incredible opportunities and growth for gender equality and also women in LGBTQ community are part of our inclusive growth. LGBTQ and solo women travel is on rise as well. This sector is definitely evolving.

During the last decades, tourism grew steadily, and is expected to be USD 460 billion industry for India by 2028. By evolving from stereotypes state of women and tourism is going to transform in coming years.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tanuja Pandey

Founder Director & Chief Experience Officer, Uniqstays - curated experiences

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