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Ms Keitumetse Lebaka, CEO (acting) of CATHSSETA, Prof Nellie Swart, and Prof Bruce Tracey.

Focus on Female Executives in Tourism

JOHANNESBURG, 20 August 2018 – A leadership talk to discuss strategies to increase the number of women in strategic leadership positions in the tourism industry was hosted today by the Executive Development Program (EDP) for Women in Tourism (WiT), presented by the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) in partnership with The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA).

Prof. Bruce Tracey from Cornell University in the United States shared his insights on addressing the most significant barriers to women achieving leadership roles in the hospitality sector. “Driving more support from male colleagues and superiors, providing effective mentoring opportunities and enriching job assignments and career planning are the main factors that many organisations should address as a solution to the challenges that women face. They need to make a real commitment to develop, grow and empower women leaders,” says Prof. Tracey.

A panel of experts including the Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) acting CEO Keitumetse Lebaka, Chair: Tourism B-BBEE Charter Council, Dr Vuyo Mahlathi and General Manager of Tsogo Sun, Zukiswa Quagraine, was facilitated by UNISA Business Tourism facilitator and researcher Prof. Nellie Swart.

Maylene Broderick, Chief Director National Department of Tourism: “The demand for executive education continues to grow, and we are proud of the partnership with SBL where a curriculum was carefully crafted to allow the development of women executives to manage and lead tourism organisations in strategic decision-making at corporate level and in a global context.”

Dr Mahlathi said, “Men focus on the job specification, while women tend to focus more on change. Women are drivers of change. Change is good; however, we must remain focused on what is expected of us and strive to be the most important piece of the puzzle.”

“One of our mandates as CATHSSETA is the monitoring of education and training. Executive education and training are very critical in ‘planting a seed’ and helping leaders equip themselves with the skills and knowledge to empower and lead,” said Ms Keitumetse Lebaka.

The EDP for Women in Tourism is an initiative of the Department of Tourism in partnership with Unisa to empower women and build an inclusive, highly competitive and sustainable tourism sector. The programme is presented by Unisa SBL, in collaboration with the UNISA College of Economic and Management Sciences’ Department of Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain, Transport, Tourism and Logistics Management (ESTTL) and is endorsed by the National Department of Tourism (NDT).

 “Research indicates that while there is a high participation at lower and entry level, the percentage of women at board and executive management levels in the tourism industry remains low. This is partly due to the unavailability of women managers with the required profile within the tourism industry,” says Prof Nellie Swart of Unisa SBL. “Our Executive Development Programme, which equips graduates with management skills, is a response to this. We have seen great success since 2016 with graduates being promoted or developing the skills and confidence to grow their own tourism businesses.”

Prof Swart assured the NDT of Unisa SBL’s commitment to a project that resonates with the business school’s purpose which is to turn people’s dreams and aspirations into reality. In addition, Unisa SBL and ESTTL will continue to ensure that the country’s public and private sector management structures reflect the diversity of South Africa.

For more information visit the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership.

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