AKWAABA ACCRA! 1ST REGIONAL CONGRESS FOR AFRICAN WOMEN IN TOURISM
I have always wanted to attend a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) event. So when one of my colleagues, Fisayo Olayinka-Bello, sent me the invitation to the first Regional congress that was going to hold in Acrra, Ghana, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.
Registration was free but we had to sort out or transportation and accommodation to Ghana. The event was scheduled for 25th to 27th November, 2019.
After registration and attending the opening ceremony, my colleagues and I went for the UNWTO Masterclass on Innovation in Tourism conducted by IE University where we learned the art of pitching your business plan to investors. There were three selected startups that were given the floor to practice their pitches in front of the class. They also received feedback on their presentation skills, presentation slides and business plan. It was a very educative session.
After the masterclass, we attended a panel session on Entrepreneurship in Tourism and how it affects women in the sector.
These were the points that were discussed by the panel:
- Entrepreneurship as a vehicle for women’s empowerment in tourism
- Best practices in public private partnerships prompting women’s entrepreneurship
- Lessons learned from women entrepreneurs’ success stories
The welcome cocktail party was filled with music, dancing and networking. It was nice connecting with both women and men in the African Tourism industry. We ate, drank and danced away.
The next day, we attended panels on “Financing Women Empowerment Through Tourism” and “Education and Technology as Tool for Women’s Socio-Economic Advancement in Tourism”
The Finance Panel discussed the following:
- Funding programs that exist for women empowering projects
- Traditional and non-traditional funding sources that are available for women entrepreneurs
- How to attract funding for women’s empowerment in the tourism sector through development institutions
The Education and technology panel discussed the following:
- Why it is important to support women’s access to equal education in the tourism sector
- How technology creates better economic opportunities for women
- How education helps women take on leadership roles in the tourism sector
UNWTO ONLINE ACADEMY
In between the panel sessions, a presentation was made by Natalia Bayona, the Director of Innovation, Investment and Digital Transformation at UNWTO, who officially intoduced the UNWTO Academy.
In collaboration with IE University, UNWTO launched the first Tourism Online Academy. This is an online learning platform that provides self-paced, 100% online courses that mainly focus on issues related to the tourism sector.
It includes some free and paid courses which is available to those who are looking to improve or supplement their current skills in the tourism sector. Their first programs include managerial skills in digital marketing, finance, strategy, operations, innovation and digital transformation. You can find out more about the courses here.
She also talked about and encouraged attendees to enroll for the 2nd UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition. This competition encourages Tourism business owners to share their innovative and sustainable solution for tourism development and stand a chance to get investors and other opportunities to support their ideas.
To wrap up the congress, we attended a Gala dinner hosted by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of the Republic of Ghana which held at Kempinski Hotel in Accra.
It was a great networking environment as we were in the mist of shakers, makers and movers of the Tourism industry.
The 3rd day was set aside for a familiarization tour, but my colleagues and I decided to take a tour to Cape Coast that day. More on that in the next blog post.