By Marita van Rooyen
History was made this morning with the first ever Women in Tourism meeting hosted in the capital. The event was held as part of the exciting build up to the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit (99 days and counting!), bringing women achievers from the Namibian tourism sector together for an indaba around tourism and women.
The patron of the event, the honourable minister of Foreign Affairs, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who formerly served as minister of Environment and Tourism, stressed that tourism is not only a mega contributor to GDP, but also has the power to transform society. She specifically mentioned the crucial change in attitudes in terms of gender equality, adding, “we need to share our dreams in order to make it a long-lasting experience. We need to inspire and empower others, because inspiration is a two-way street.”
A number of inspirational women addressed the crowd, which was mainly made up by women in the tourism industry. Maggy Mbako, PRO of the Namibia Tourism Board, explained, “The Namibian tourism sector has become a source of empowerment for many Namibian women from both the rural and urban areas. Today we are seeing a cadre of committed women in various positions across the different sub-sectors of the Namibian tourism sector. Many of these women have risen to become pillars of hope and agents of change for the families, their communities, and the nation.”
The minister ended with the message, “our voices deserve to be heard, loud and clear! Let us women make the tourism industry move forward; our mark must be even bigger than it is today!”
The Women in Tourism indaba is set to become an annual event, providing a platform for Namibian women in the tourism sector to celebrate their achievements, share their different paths through the tourism landscapes, and share their hopes and dreams.