Monday, 7 May 2012

Tanzanian Women in Tourism Sector Launches Association

Women in the tourism sector now have a platform to address their issues thanks to the launching to the Women in Tourism Tanzania Chapter (AWOTTA). The AWOTTA first Chairlady and Cluster Development Specialist of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation, told the Daily News in an exclusive interview that the association would help bring professional women in the sector together.

"Women have the unique talent of being able to do a number of tasks at the same time, this association will help tap this quality and help bring development to them," she said. Ms Kalikawe said that the formulation of the association started seven months ago but already the process of registering it was almost complete and that a website was ready and a constitution is in place. Five areas had been identified that aimed at bettering the lives of its members who are 30 at the moment. The areas include erecting signposts which will help show where tourist attractions are, career development programmes for youths such that they know which areas pay well in the sector, outdoor entertainment activities especially during weekends as well as incorporating marginalised groups into the association.

Other areas include soliciting pieces of land and other opportunities to enable establishment of production and display of tourist products to sell productivity to tourists and to work towards enhancing domestic tourism. "Experience shows that there are many women in the tourism sector but it is quite unfortunate that many operate informally and miss out on benefiting from the numerous opportunities and also getting employment in lowly paying jobs, this association is there to change that."

The association would serve as a step forward of brining gender aspects of tourism to policy makers, especially issues of women employment in the tourism industry as well as women's participation in tourism planning, management and development. "We will stand for women empowerment, and advocate towards gainful and respectful livelihood from employment in tourism towns and rural areas.

AWOTTA will aim to harness opportunities for creating self employment in small and medium sized income generating activities for economic and social empowerment," Following last week's launching, a lot of interest has been shown towards joining the association but they insist that their biggest challenge will be how to maintain the members of the association. There was need for creativity especially on how women in the industry can benefit from tourists who prefer using credit cards as well as having programmes that are relevant to women.

Launching the association recently, the Director of Tourism in the Ministry of Natural resources and Tourism, Mr Ibrahim A. Mussa, urged the members to promote gender equality, women's empowerment and take proactive steps to mainstream gender in tourism policies, planning and operations. Mr Mussa commended the women in tourism for the initiative to come up with the association.

He said empowerment of women through tourism was possible and promised AWOTTA that his office would be willing to work on recommendations made by the association to the government. Quoting Global Report on Women in Tourism 2010, the director said tourism offers the potential for women's leadership. "However, women still only represent one fifth of all tourism ministers and tourism board chairs. While tourism often contributes to Community development and provides opportunities for women's self-employment, the report finds that women are contributing a large amount of unpaid work in tourism family businesses, especially when compared to other sectors," he said.

The director also officially launched the association's website- at the emotionally charged meeting, which was attend by over 100 women and a few men, in tourism sector from across the country. Mrs Kalikawe, the founder and first chairperson of AWOTT A said the association will work with stakeholders to identify tourist activities that it can support and it will be active around land issues for women in tourism activities.

"AWOTT A will work with planners and owners of land to assist women in tourism business," she said adding that placing women tourist activities at strategic places will help boost local economy. "More women will be able to control their own income," she said. Mrs Kalikawe said AWOTTA will be supporting women in tourism businesses and other tourism engagements, economically, legally and socially among other things.

Kenya Association of Women in Tourism (KAWT) chairperson Faith Kithu said the launching of AWOTTA was a big milestone for Tanzanians women in tourism industry. She told the director of tourism, that any time Tanzania government needed to work with women in tourism, AWOTT A members were available.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info, it was really helpful. I'll surely visit back again later.Thanks & Regards

    Pacific Dreams