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Visit Zimbabwe: First Lady Hails Women in Tourism

Previously the focus for women was to produce for family consumption but today they have become pivotal in the nation-building and encouraged to have a broader scope how much their businesses are contributing the economy.

First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa commended and showed admiration for the Zimbabwe tourism sector for recognizing and empowering women in the sector while officiating at the at the launch of the national chapter of “Women in Tourism” in Harare today.

“Firstly, I would like to congratulate the members of the National Chapter for being nominated to represent the Women in Tourism at a national level.  This is the beginning of a new chapter which needs seriousness, commitment, and engagement in an initiative and innovative mood,” Mrs. Mnangagwa said.

The formation of the Women in Tourism National Chapter
was long-overdue. 
Women in Zimbabwe are known to be hard working and given the opportunity
they can do wonders and made a difference. 
What was required is to get organized and have a standing structure to
proffer an effective channel of communication in order to promote and inspire
entrepreneurship in the tourism sector.

This structure is aimed at integrating women from different
backgrounds and spectrum within the sector to further a common goal of socio
and economic development. It also gives the platform for effective networking
and knowledge sharing.

Globally, tourism is a sector having the highest share of women employment with 49% of the workforce in hotels and restaurants, however, most of them assuming lower ranks, according to UNWTO.  

The establishment of Women in Tourism gives women an opportunity to be masters of their own destiny and be able to run their businesses sustainably, create employment and sustain livelihoods.

“Women in Tourism National Chapter, you have a mammoth task before you which require dedication and willingness to work with other women at all levels.  The trust of the people is invested upon you as their representatives, therefore, be prepared to delivery and stand for others in every situation for the benefit of Women in Tourism,” she continued.

“I would like to commend the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry for coming up with this initiative which is aimed at driving programmes that support the development and empowerment of women in the tourism sector.”  

The First Lady further advised that programmes for mentorship and training should also be introduced in order to enhance scope and capabilities.   “It is within our interests as Government to help women run sustainable tourism businesses that will compete regionally and globally, ” she said.

Women participation in mainstream economy is key to the development of the nation.  The Government of Zimbabwe recognizes the importance of Women to a greater expectation.  Policies were put in place to empower women in Zimbabwe, stand-alone Ministry responsible for women affairs and financial facilities to support women projects.  

Woman participation in the economy has been raised to a higher level where tourism structures are encouraged at national, regional and international levels.  Zimbabwe had an opportunity to attend the UNWTO Commission for Africa Meeting which was held in Nigeria last year.  Women empowerment in the tourism sector was a topical issue for discussion.  Key issues raised during deliberations include:- 

  • Appointment
    of an African Leadership Taskforce for Women in Tourism;
  • Introduction
    of Women in Tourism Empowerment Programmes to improve employment and
    entrepreneurship opportunities;
  • Provision
    of career advancement for women in the tourism sector;
  • Hosting a Regional
    Congress on Women Empowerment in Africa in the Tourism Sector with the
    inaugural Congress being held in Accra Ghana in 2019; and
  • Publishing
    of the Second Edition of the Global Report on Women in Tourism (2019).

With this in place, Women in Tourism we are being
challenged to take up businesses in tourism to a higher level.  We need to compete with other women at
regional and international level.  This
can only be achieved if we maintain our oneness. Let us thrive to excel in
whatever we are doing so that the Zimbabwe Women in Tourism success story can
be heard across the globe. 

“My hope in the future is to host the Regional Congress on Women Empowerment in Africa creating an opportunity for networking, sharing experiences and expand the business horizon,” she concluded.

Prisca Mupfumira, the tourism minister, said the contribution of the tourism industry to the economy was well above the 1 Billion Dollar mark and to this end women played a significant role in that historic achievement.

“It is our wish to see more contributions and activities coming from women in the sector and through these initiatives, Your Excellency, we are confident of an even bigger contribution,” Mupfumira said.

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