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General News of Sunday, 30 June 2019

Source: GNA

Women in tourism significant to speeding up economic growth - South Africa High Commissioner to Ghana

The inclusion of women in the tourism industry is necessary to speed up economic growth, reduce poverty and unemployment, Madam Lulu Xingwana, South Africa High Commissioner has said.

Speaking at the launch of the Women in Business and Tourism Organization (WIBAT), Madam Xingwana said tourism played an important role in boosting economies, especially those on the African continent.

She explained why African countries were striving to increase their tourist numbers due to the significant contributions the sector made to their economies and urged women in tourism to take advantage of the growth in the sector and make use of its benefits.

Unlike the natural resources, which would deplete one day, she said, tourism was a ‘Never ending industry’, hence, the need for African countries to market their arts and culture, heritage and local made cloths like the kente, parks and beaches.

She said Ghana would host the regional conference on Women and Youth Empowerment slated for the November 25 to 27, 2019 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and pledged South Africa’s support to Ghana to ensure the two countries became leaders in the sector across the continent.

She commended the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture on her appointment as the chairperson of the leadership taskforce of the UNWTO adding that, it was an indication that Ghana had the potential to lead tourism in Africa.

She also congratulated WIBAT for launching the organization and Ghanaian women for their enormous contribution to tourism and business and urged WIBAT to create opportunities for women by facilitating access to jobs and career advancement as well as encourage exchange programmes between countries.

Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, in a speech read on her behalf said, tourism cut across most economic sectors, hence, the need to position women in the value chain.

She believed that WIBAT was aimed at building strong business skills and leadership capabilities amongst women in the tourism sector to lead key areas to tourism businesses and form a pool of future top leadership, entrepreneurs and industrialists.

Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said more needed to be done and results would accrue when citizens projected unity adding that the public should build competencies that would improve the organization.

She called on WIBAT to put in much effort into achieving its objectives and strive for the best.

Ms Eunice Ogbugo, President of WIBAT said the organization was partnering with many agencies and ministries like the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ministry of Business Development, Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Gender, Women, Children and Social Protection that worked within the framework of its objectives both nationally and across the African continent.

She said the organization’s membership was open to all businesses like small, medium and big enterprises and encouraged all women in business to come on board to collectively work in enhancing the growth of the country’s economy through tourism.