Women In Tourism Event Key Highlights

Key Insights from the Women in Tourism Discussion organized by the Tourism Alliance and Market Development Facility (MDF) on March 27th, 2024:

In the dynamic realm of tourism, the spotlight is increasingly turning towards the pivotal role of women. The recent Women in Tourism Event organized by the Tourism Alliance in collaboration with Market Development Facility (Australia Aid), held at the Hilton Colombo, served as a platform for industry stakeholders to delve into the challenges, opportunities, essential insights and possible solutions surrounding gender diversity in the sector.

As the tourism landscape continues to evolve, understanding the unique contributions and experiences of women is paramount to shaping a more inclusive and sustainable future. Given below are some of the key take away points from the event, shedding light on the transformative potential of empowering women in tourism.

Empowering Women’s Leadership: Highlighted the importance of elevating women to leadership positions within the tourism industry

Leveraging Association Influence: Recognized the influential role of associations in other sectors in raising awareness and driving female participation in the workforce, suggesting similar initiatives within the tourism sector.

Role Modeling for Inspiration: Emphasized the importance of role models in inspiring women to pursue careers in tourism, starting from educational institutions and extending to professional environments.

Education as a Starting Point: Proposed initiating a communication strategy targeting youth, both male and female, to raise awareness about the tourism sector, covering aspects such as hotel operations, stigma surrounding women working in hotels, working conditions, accommodation facilities, safety, and security.

Digital Communication and Media Support: Suggested implementing a digital communication strategy supplemented by support from mass media, local news channels, and donor agencies to ensure broad reach and exposure across the country.

Establishing Business Case: Advocated for articulating a clear business case for increasing female participation in the tourism industry, focusing on the benefits and necessity of gender diversity.

Learning from Other Sectors: Recommended studying successful strategies from other sectors and adapting scalable solutions to encourage female involvement in tourism.

Offering Competitive Opportunities: Stressed the importance of providing competitive opportunities within the tourism industry to prevent talent from seeking opportunities abroad.

Efficiency Improvement for Better Wages: Highlighted the correlation between efficiency improvements and better wages within the industry.

Creating an Enabling Environment: Recognized the pivotal role of middle management in shaping organizational culture and emphasized the need to create an enabling environment that fosters female participation.

Sustainable Implementation Plan: Proposed developing a sustainable 2-3-year plan to ensure continuity and effectiveness of initiatives aimed at promoting female participation in tourism.

Long-term Legislative Changes: Anticipated eventual legislative changes to further support and institutionalize gender equality within the tourism sector.

Panelists at the event:
Shiromal Cooray – Chairman Jetwing Travels
Manesh Fernando – Group General Manager Hilton Sri Lanka and GM Hilton Colombo
Chandi Dharmaratne – Chief People Officer Dialog Axiata PLC
Mathi Thayanan – Tourism Country Team Coordinator – MDF Sri Lanka

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View the report – Women In Tourism