WITT to empower women

TAAI, along with DDP Group, has launched a new avenue and stream for women in the travel trade. Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI, shares details on the initiative that has been aptly named ‘Women in TAAI and Travel’ (WITT).

Nisha Verma

Jyoti Mayal feels that the women in the tourism industry haven’t been represented well. “After a long time, there was a woman in this chair, and the first one was literally 15 years back. We felt that women in the industry were missing out. Despite being everywhere, they are not mentioned or hold important positions. We also want more women to be skilled and come into this industry,” she says.

Mayal believes that travel and tourism can provide women with a plethora of opportunities. “Across the world, the tourism industry has always had twice as many female employers as other sectors, providing significant opportunities for women in terms of workforce participation, leadership, entrepreneurship and empowerment than many other sectors, particularly in developing countries, and as such it can have a tremendous effect in poverty reduction in rural communities. At a macro level, a stronger representation of women in the travel and tourism industry is really needed, and I reiterate that by saying that more women should come out and utilise their knowledge and talent. More women joining the industry would make tourism and our country a safer place to move around, with women being in all sorts of jobs including cab drivers, guides, handicraft makers, police officers, as well as in hospitality where they are in big numbers. But, more women should take up leadership roles as well,” she asserts.

Explaining the idea behind WITT, Mayal says, “Women in rural areas should be skilled and those in urban areas need to take more leadership and front-office work and come forward. That’s where we want WITT to come in. We have already tied up with MOT and FICCI-FLO to see how we can encourage more women to come in front and at all levels,”

The TAAI President believes that there is a dire need to educate women right from the roots. “We will be taking this up in phases. We will be involving our 20 regional chapters and are already in talks with the chairpersons of these chapters to see how we could adopt certain clusters where there are more women and educate them in life skills and bring them to the forefront. We could be the link to the product to sell it, especially in tourism, which is a huge value chain, where everything is interlinked,” she says, adding, “Initially, we will use FICCI-FLO’s strength.”

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