Team Destination Namibia pays tribute to women in tourism

19 Jul 2013 13:24
WINDHOEK, 19 JUL (NAMPA) - As part of the build-up to the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) slated for October this year, Team Destination Namibia held a ‘Women in Tourism’ indaba in the capital on Friday.
The indaba, which will now become an annual event, provided a platform for local women in the tourism sector to celebrate their achievements in the sector.
Speaking during the event at the Warehouse Theatre, former Minister of Environment and Tourism and now Minister of Foreign Affairs, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the Patron of Women in Tourism, paid tribute to women working in the sector and facing multiple challenges such as working long hours and being away from their loved ones.
“Long working hours in isolated places, social, educational and economic challenges, entrusting the raising of their children upon others, yet these women are rising to the challenge to unlock the true empowerment of Namibian women in the tourism sector,” she said.
According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, Government needs to take a closer look at national development plans, labour laws and industry charters to ensure that women in tourism are part of an environment which enables Namibians to be the best they can be.
She said tourism should be the industry which “allows a woman her rightful voice in decisions that affect the future”.
Meanwhile, at the same occasion, President of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun, who is also the Chairperson the United Africa Group echoed her sentiments, calling on Government to take a closer look into women’s participation in key economic sectors.
“Government must build capacity to empower more women. Women must get access to tools to sustain business ventures,” she noted.
The United Africa Group, a multi-million dollar business empire, continues to soar in the mainly male-dominated business environment. The inauguration of the Hilton Windhoek Hotel, the first five star hotel in Namibia, is the group’s latest development. Namundjebo-Tilahun attributed her success not only to her determination to succeed, but also to her ability to positively harness diversity for the benefit of her companies and the people she works with.
At the same occasion, an ‘environmental shepherd’ from the #Khoadi //Hôas Conservancy, Landine Guim gave the audience at the event a glimpse into her job. Guim said amongst other things, she helps to provide conservancy support services, brands cattle, repairs water installations and does anything else which will persuade farmers that wildlife conservation is worthwhile.
Owner of the Otjikaendu Den Restaurant in Windhoek, Melba Tjahere, who started selling food from her home in the evenings and over weekends, is now offering tourists traditional cuisine at her homely entertainment spot.
“Tourism is everybody’s business,” she stated.
Regional Manager at Wilderness Safaris, Lena Florry told those in attendance she was a barefoot goat herder in the Kunene Region after school before she joined the company as a waitress 11 years ago.
She has since steadily risen to the top.
“I was the first black Namibian to be appointed manager of a guest lodge after Independence,” Florry boasted.