Women in tourism have called for an enabling environment that allows for increased participation by female entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector and adequate representation at decision making level.

The tourism sector has emerged as a critical industry with the potential to contribute to poverty alleviation, inclusive growth and empowerment of disadvantaged groups.

Despite the huge opportunities, female entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism sector said the industry remains male dominated, with calls for adequate representation at key decision making level.

With the entire world currently reflecting on the important role women play in society this March, women in the tourism sector said the government should do more to create equal opportunities, capacitate female entrepreneurs and to integrate gender equality in tourism planning.

As part of proposals, women in tourism have called for strengthening of legal protection for women and equal access to critical resources and investment in training.

In a statement to mark the International Women’s Day, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili called upon the tourism community to capitalise on every opportunity to raise awareness on gender inequality in the sector and to help mainstream gender in tourism policies.