BARBADOS – The chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Kenneth Bryan said the focus of International Women’s Day (IWD) this year reminded him of how much women have contributed to the success of the region’s most dynamic economic driver, tourism.
Bryan, who is the Minister of Tourism and Transport of the Cayman Islands, said the IWD theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” aligns with the intergovernmental organization’s aim “to put more women in positions of influence so they can not only enhance the efficiency of our region’s major economic earner, but also be an exemplar for women everywhere.”
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The tourism leader stated, “We want to strengthen our efforts to give women the technical education needed to enable them to explore, learn, and rally for their rights, which will enhance the ability of the CTO to coalesce its best and brightest people for the betterment of our tourism product, and for the people of the Caribbean.”
“We must work to redress the imbalance and inequity in tourism with increased recruitment, training and education of women to rebuild the pandemic-affected workforce into a more equitable and productive sector,” Bryan said.
Bryan, who chairs the CTO’s Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, said he wanted to ensure young women were fairly represented among new recruits into the sector, and that the industry was diverse enough to incorporate the entrepreneurial skills of a new generation of professionals.
He added that women had to be elevated from being among the lowest paid and lowest status jobs in tourism to being recognized for the significant amount of unpaid work they often perform in family tourism businesses.
Minister Bryan reasoned that there is no need to reinvent the wheel because thanks to the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) there are published guidelines on how the public and private sectors of Caribbean and other countries can provide specific tools to support tourism institutions and businesses to integrate gender considerations into their policies, programming and strategies and boost the opportunities tourism offers for women’s empowerment.
He said International Women’s Day is an excellent and timely reminder of the need of Caribbean women for employment with equitable remuneration, entrepreneurship, leadership, community and education “to ensure that tourism in our region can act as a vehicle for the empowerment of women whilst highlighting and dealing with the remaining challenges for gender equality in tourism.”