The World Travel & Tourism Council () reiterated the importance of women’s engagement in Travel & Tourism to catapult its growth and achieve a thriving and resilient sector at the Women Deliver Global Conference, in Kigali, Rwanda.
Speaking at the conference, Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, emphasised the importance of promoting women’s involvement in the sector and overcoming challenges for success in the business world.
The event served as a platform to address the challenges faced by women in the Travel & Tourism sector and explore strategies to overcome them, aiming to inspire change and promote equal opportunities for women in the sector.
The panel discussions shed light on the challenges faced by women in various aspects of the business, including barriers to entry, operational obstacles, and ecosystem limitations.
The event underscored the vital role of mentorship in empowering young women and girls in business. Through networking, opportunities, and resources, mentorship programs unlock their potential for economic transformation.
During her address, Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “It is proven that companies that have 50% women in their leadership make more money. This makes even more sense in travel and tourism where women make the buying decisions on where to go on holiday.
“It also makes good sense to employ women in senior roles; why would you exclude access to 50% of global talent.
“Rwanda has a great track record with a majority of women MPs in the Parliament. President Kagame addressed the Women Deliver, for the first time held in Africa, with real passion and a track record of gender equality.
“Putting women centre stage in Travel & Tourism will ensure a better future for the sector and the global economy. Currently, more than half of the sector is made up of women.
“By addressing the barriers and inequalities they face, we can unlock immense potential and drive sustainable growth.
“The ‘Women Deliver’ event serves as a catalyst for change, bringing together sector leaders, policymakers, and advocates to work collectively towards a more diverse and prosperous future.”
According to the global tourism body, women constitute approximately 54% of the workforce. Travel & Tourism provides accessible opportunities for women, but it also faces disparities such as lower pay and job security.
These disparities were reflected in the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, where a majority of the 62 million jobs lost in the travel and tourism sector were women’s jobs.
WTTC urges both the public and private sectors to play their part in promoting women’s participation in the Travel & Tourism sector. It says governments should adopt policies that promote women in senior management, such as mandatory quotas for publicly listed companies and state-owned enterprises.
The private sector should offer targeted professional development programs for women and create networking and mentoring opportunities.
WTTC remains committed to advocating for gender equality, working closely with its members, governments, and industry partners to foster an environment where women have equal opportunities to excel, lead, and shape the future of the travel and tourism sector.
Nigeria Holds $783 Million in Blocked Funds, IATA Engages with Government for Resolution
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that as of August Nigeria holds approximately $783 million in blocked funds belonging to various airlines.
This significant financial concern was communicated via an official statement released by the trade association.
Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, has been actively engaged in discussions with the Federal Government in an effort to find a resolution to this pressing issue.
Foreign airlines operating within Nigeria have faced ongoing challenges in repatriating their commercial revenues due to a prolonged shortage of foreign exchange in the country.
The official statement from IATA stated, “Mr. Al Awadhi also held discussions with Nigeria’s newly appointed Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, the Honorable Minister Festus Keyamo. During these discussions, he urged the new government to maintain and strengthen consultations with the industry while developing both short-term and long-term solutions to address foreign exchange access issues for both domestic and foreign carriers.”
Highlighting the severity of the situation, the statement said, “As of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783 million of airlines’ blocked funds.”
According to the statement, IATA commends the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for its commitment to enhancing infrastructure and service standards at Lagos’s Murtala Muhammad International Airport within a twelve-month timeframe.
In related news, IATA had previously raised concerns about safety, security, and passenger service levels at Lagos Airport in the past year.
A recent high-level meeting between IATA and FAAN, represented by Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Kabir Mohammed, concluded with FAAN committing to expedite improvements in these areas as part of a corrective action plan.
Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, said, “We welcome FAAN’s commitment to upgrade Lagos Airport, which serves as a vital domestic and international hub connecting Nigeria to the rest of Africa and beyond. This strategic focus not only strengthens the aviation sector but also acts as a catalyst for Nigeria’s broader economic and social progress. IATA is ready to provide support and expertise to FAAN to ensure that international standards are met through the corrective action plan. Safety, security, and efficient infrastructure are crucial for a well-functioning air transport system, as is the ability of airlines to access the revenues they generate in Africa.”
Federal Government Reopens D Wing of Murtala Muhammed International Airport
In a bid to address the escalating flight disruptions and enhance the efficiency of air travel, the Federal Government has officially reopened the D Wing of the old international terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
The move is part of a broader effort to tackle the challenges faced by both travelers and airlines operating in Nigeria.
This challenge emerged following the sudden relocation of foreign airlines from the international terminal of the Lagos airport to an adjoining new terminal that opened in March.
The announcement of the reopening of the old international terminal, which had temporarily closed for renovation, was made by the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, on Monday.
According to a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs & Consumer Protection at FAAN (Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria), Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, Minister Keyamo emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to improving the aviation sector and ensuring passengers enjoy a seamless travel experience.
The statement reads in part, “We are pleased to inform the traveling public that Hon. Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has graciously permitted the use of the D Wing of the Old Murtala Muhammed International Terminal to complement the New International Terminal, aimed at facilitating the smooth movement of passengers through the airport.”
Minister Keyamo had originally ordered airlines to relocate to the new terminal starting on October 1, 2023. However, FAAN took the initiative to forcibly relocate the international carriers to the new facility on Wednesday.
The sudden relocation by FAAN coincided with a fire incident that occurred in part of the baggage hall of MMIA on the same day. This incident compelled the agency to evacuate passengers and personnel from the facility.
In response to the situation, Mr. Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, the Director of Media at FAAN, stated that the airport fire and other developments affecting power supply had necessitated the abrupt relocation of foreign carriers. He assured the public that FAAN is actively addressing the situation.
The utilization of the D Wing for passenger processing has already commenced, promising improved travel experiences for all passengers.
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