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Women: Treat us better to boost tourism

By Philip Mwakio | October 25th 2021
CEO and Secretary of Kenya Association of Women in Tourism, Nyandia Nyamu speaks during the associations Annual General Meeting cum celebrations to mark its 10th anniversary at the Voyage Hotel. Looking on is National chair Jane Adams. The theme of the meeting is 'empowering women in Tourism' on 24th October 2021.[Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Kenya Association of Women in Tourism (KAWT) marked its 10th-anniversary celebrations in Mombasa with calls for women empowerment in the tourism sector.

Veteran hospitality expert and investor Jane Adams was re-elected to the post of national chairman during the event, which also served as the association's annual general meeting.

More than 60 per cent of workforce in the tourism industry is women, but they remain under-represented in key leadership positions.

KAWT said the situation was similar across the globe, where most female employees were in junior positions.

Tourism Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe said the government was keen to ensure it continues to offer support to women in the tourism sector. "We are in very depressing times, and it is through collective approaches, empowerment and ensuring that women play decisive roles in the sector that we will achieve," Kwekwe said.

During the event held at Voyager Beach Resort & Spa, Ocean Beach Resort general manager Maureen Obunga was named the national vice-chair. Nyandia Nyamu was confirmed as the KAWT chief executive and secretary.
Janet Chamia retained her seat as the KAWT Mombasa County chair.

Ms Adams was delighted to see a full-house attendance. "We have all suffered due to Covid-19. I thank KWAT members who in their respective roles offered support to the needy during the pandemic," she said.

She said they conducted a survey last year and identified the partner they could work with to boost women in tourism.

She expressed confidence that the number of new entrants in the association would grow. "We are currently in 16 out of the 47 counties. We hope to be in all the counties soon," she said.

Adams said they were happy with efforts by the government to employ some of KWAT members in various government posts.

She singled out Kenya National Convention Bureau chief executive office Jacinta Nzioka and Lake Bogoria Resort & Spa general manager Lydia Dentewo, who was appointed director at the Kenya Ports Authority. 

Nzioka said the Meetings Incentives, Convention and Exhibition remained a highly resilient sector of the larger tourism and hospitality industry. "Of the total number of visitors who come into our country, a record 35 per cent come for business, tourism meetings and other events," she said.

KAWT serves as a professional platform for women empowerment and helps unite and mobilise women in the tourism and hospitality sector to take active roles in tourism promotion.  

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