More than 70% of the tourism and travel sector comprises women. This could mean that, potentially, 70% of the sector’s families face major hardship with an estimated 600 000 jobs at risk.
To address this, in the lead-up to Women’s Day on August 9, Big Ambitions MD and one of the drivers of the #SouthAfricaisTravelReady campaign, Natalia Rosa, has started a campaign – #IAMTOURISM – celebrating the women who make up the heart of the tourism industry.
“They may not sit on Steering Committees or walk in the so-called corridors of power or conduct Skype Interviews on national television, but their tenacity, selfless contribution and unwavering belief in serving their communities is the stuff of legend and deserves to be recognised publicly,” says Rosa.
She adds: “These women have shown up in ways I can never fully describe. They have done all the hard work in the background, and sometimes in the foreground, giving generously of their time, their talents and their voices to bring hope when we’ve felt no reason to hope.”
Rosa emphasises that this is our chance – as women who make up the tourism industry – to demand change and to open up the industry. “A simple act, on a grand scale, can grab the attention of our government, and of the world.”
One of these simple acts is to get a minimum of 3 000 images of women in the tourism sector – holding up a banner stating #IAMTOURISM – by August 9. These images will be shared online and on social media.
Women in the industry can submit their images to firstname.lastname@example.org or Whatsapp 061 354 3286.