While no sector has escaped the fallout from Covid-19, few industries have suffered as much as travel, tourism, and hospitality. Pre-pandemic, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimated that women accounted for 54% of all tourism employees globally, compared to 39% in the broader economy.

In South Africa, the figure is much higher, seeing women make up 70% of the sector.

Fast-forward to 2022, and it’s no surprise that women have suffered disproportionate job and income losses in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors. However, women remain the hospitality industry’s backbone and will, as a result, play a significant role in its recovery – and future success.

With that said, The Global Report on Women in Tourism illustrates how women worldwide use tourism as a vehicle for empowerment and development post-pandemic. This sentiment rings true for the strong and inspiring women leading the charge at the Radisson RED Hotel Group who are excited by the potential within the industry, the opportunity to do things differently, and who are passionate about women taking up more leadership roles within the sector.

“I started my career at a corporate hotel outside of London. This exposed me to full-service, high-volume hotels, which served as a great starting point. I knew immediately that I was going to be in hospitality for the rest of my life,” says Carly De Jong, General Manager at Radisson RED, Rosebank Johannesburg.

As the local hospitality sector recovers, De Jong wants to encourage young women to pursue more leadership roles.

“There have been infinite changes to this sector since my introduction to it 22 years ago, but I think the greatest improvement has been witnessing more women in management. I have had the privilege of learning from some exceptional women in the hospitality industry. Therefore, I think it remains of utmost importance that young women in hospitality see that they can grow into leadership roles in this industry.”

This Women’s Month, the Radisson RED Group shines the spotlight on the sector’s champions. Often, the women working tirelessly in the tourism and hospitality industries keep hotels and restaurants and other tourism-related activities running like clockwork.

For Leonie Andereya, General Manager at Radisson RED, V&A Waterfront Cape Town, it is the gentle nature of women that fuels the South African tourism engine. “Tourism and hospitality is an industry looking for empathic and kind leadership; traits often found more in women. Therefore, I hope that the ratio of high-ranking positions between women and men will find better balance. The women leaders I know joined the industry for a similar reason I did: Passion for people and the chance to lead, develop and create opportunities for others.”

On its road to recovery, how can the sector aim to enhance the positioning of female professionals? Suppose tourism provides better opportunities for women’s participation in the workforce, women’s entrepreneurship, and women’s leadership than other sectors of the economy. One could then argue that building an inclusive and sustainable future provides equal opportunities for growth for women as well – maybe that should be the plan – building forward instead of building back.

Andereya’s message to young girls aspiring toward a career in tourism and hospitality is that listening, learning, and evolving are part of being a great leader.

“Many women still have to work harder to prove their worth and get recognized. I want women to understand that we need to support one another and actively pursue a diverse and inclusive work environment. We need to normalize female leadership in all industries. Hopefully, our example can
inspire many young girls to follow their passion and dreams without compromising,” concludes Andereya.

Radisson RED is an (upper) upscale hotel brand that presents a playful twist on the conventional. The brand injects new life into hospitality through informal services where anything goes, a social scene that’s waiting to be shared and stylish public spaces with standout design to inspire our guests. Radisson RED hotels are designed to fit the needs of our guests by giving them endless opportunities to tune in and out switching effortlessly between business and pleasure. Guests and professional business partners can enhance their experience with Radisson RED by participating in Radisson Rewards, a global loyalty program offering exceptional benefits and rewards.

Radisson RED is a part of Radisson Hotel Group, which also includes Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inn, Suites by Radisson and brought together under one commercial umbrella brand, Radisson Hotels.

For reservations and more information, visit our website. Or connect with Radisson RED on: LinkedIn | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Radisson Hotel Group is one of the world’s largest hotel groups with nine distinctive hotel brands, and more than 1,700 hotels in operation and under development in 120 countries. The Group’s overarching brand promise is Every Moment Matters with a signature Yes I Can! service ethos.

Submitted by Irvine Partners