Most women working in the country’s tourism sector are employed in unskilled and low-paid jobs, according to the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).
This is despite the gender comprising 54 per cent of the total workforce. KTB Business Development Manager Fiona Ngesa however said the challenges were not unique to Kenya, but affect other countries.
According to the World Bank report titled ‘Woman and Tourism” 2017, women in the sector are yet to receive the same privileges, opportunities and rights as their male counterparts. The report cites gender pay gaps and under-representation in key decision making State or global organs as some of the challenges affecting the women in the tourism sector.
Fiona said women in the hospitality sector still play low roles and hold junior positions in comparison to their male counterparts. “Women have been known to perform a large amount of unpaid work in family tourism businesses,” she said during a webinar on hospitality organised by the Kenya Utalii College.
The event was to deliberate on the challenges facing women in the hospitality industry.
Fiona urged women to take up their rightful positions and influence key decisions in the sectors at higher levels.
On Covid-19, the speakers said the pandemic has presented new travel trends where holidaymakers stay for long in hotels or up to a week or more. The speakers lauded the rise in eco-travel, where tourists visit the least known and remote locations.
“Kenyan tourism will continue to rely to a great extent on the exploits of the local market up to 2024 when the international travel market is expected to be back to normal,” she said.
Kenya Utalii College Chief Principal Hashim Mohamed said the tourism industry remains heavily affected by the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenya National Convention Bureau Chief Executive Jacinta Nzioka urged women in tourism to upgrade their skills through mentorship.
Kenya Association of Women in Tourism National chair Jane Adam said the lobby presents a good forum to nurture women in hospitality.