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IWD I: I think Red Tapism is the main factor creating hindrance for women entrepreneurs – Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI

Women have accomplished incredible benchmarks for decades, not just in the domain of travel and tourism, but in the verticals of economic, political and social contributions at the same time. The travel and tourism sector in particular is bestowed with 54% women representation across the globe, although there remain some aspects where the women-kind is still on the lookout to set a footprint with excellence.

On International Women’s Day, T3 takes the opportunity to draw a spotlight on our women readers from cross-section of the industry. Jyoti Mayal, President, Travel Agents Association of India, shares her views with T3.

What is your opinion regarding the presence of an effective mechanism for monitoring and assessment of the progress made by women in the tourism domain?

Data analysis for the assessment & growth of every aspect of tourism is very important. Currently, we rely on the government to monitor the assessment & growth of women in the tourism domain. We are also in touch with United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to keep abreast of the growth & changes. There needs to be a more effective swot & data analysis of the tourism industry along with the correct numbers.

Most significantly we’re able to gauge the growth by witnessing the presence of women in the sector.  We see more women participating, they’re all around. We are witnessing growth in all streams of travel, tourism & hospitality & particularly more in leadership roles & as entrepreneurs, which is a great encouraging sign.

India’s G20 Presidency also aims to serve as an opportunity to showcase women-led development, with our Hon’ble PM Modi noting: “We have to maintain priority on women-led development even in our G-20 agenda”. What is your opinion?

The Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa have been reiterating the role of women in the G-20 agenda. They have been vocal about the role of nari shakti in the transformation and growth of society. I believe that women’s empowerment needs to start from the root level and go right up to the leadership role. As the Chairperson of the Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council (THSC) and the President of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) which has also initiated Women in Travel and Tourism (WITT), we have already started skilling & upskilling for women in travel, tourism & hospitality at the grass root level. Our first batch to skill along with soft skills is to be launched during International Women’s week for 25 women from Uttar Pradesh.

THSC and TAAI are collaborating on this front to honour the MOU we have signed with the Ministry of Tourism, to skill for the revival of jobs & empowerment for women. It is a long-drawn-out plan to make women succeed in this country & directly affect the growth & economy of India. At the recently held post-budget webinar by the PM, we had some substantial discussions with the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) One of the ideas was the possibility of picking one state where we could empower & skill women right from the root to the leadership role. Once it is successful in one state, the same model could be replicated in others.

The idea is to upskill women right from the grass root where we train some in adventure, some as tourist guides, some in wildlife & more into the huge value chain of tourism right upto leadership roles.

We’ve also been discussing the idea of showcasing women’s talents across multiple locations. Be it a hawker’s street with women selling their cooked food or a crafts bazaar where they sell their handmade stuff. We’d also like the government to give us dedicated space to display all that they do without paying taxes. This is an evolution and growth of not just women but the entire society. This will also help a destination grow and attract more tourists. This is the best way to showcase India’s rich culinary heritage, culture and tradition.

Where are we lacking in terms of initiatives, skill development and training, and implementation of women empowerment activities by industry?

While the country is filled with talented women, we need more motivation and involvement of the government. This doesn’t just need to be in a channelized and formal way but also through open forums so that there’s more open space and ease of implementation.

The idea is to make these steps free from red tapism & make them more effective with result-oriented milestones. If we get into the rigmarole of files and statuary things, it’ll be very difficult to implement quick strategies. The approach needs to be more open and requires a clearer window system where we can quickly share our thoughts with the government and develop it into a feasible and effective road map to make it progressive. All of this translates into one crucial point – private partnerships which can go a long way toward tying all loose ends.

As the Chairperson of Tourism & Hospitality Skill Council, under the aegis of MSDE, we are working very diligently & delivering with pure dedication. We are skilling, upskilling, and running many apprenticeship courses, for all genders & helping them to get jobs.

What are the factors that create hindrances to a healthy ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in tourism?

I think the main cause is red tapism. The Honourable PM is pushing hard for private partnerships, and we would love associations to come ahead and take it forward. Another hindrance is our faith in each other. Once there’s a homogenous atmosphere full of trust, there’s no stopping women take giant leaps of faith. Chairing & sitting on various bodies & institutions at government, private & corporate levels, I truly believe our education to empower girls should start at home & schools from an early age. Every human being on this earth, educated or uneducated needs to learn about gender equality & resonate with humanity, humility & respect to make it more effective a growth with sustainability with inclusiveness.

What is your message for budding women entrepreneurs in the travel & tourism domain?

After struggling for basic fundamental rights and fighting patriarchy, women have come a long way, in making their importance and equality felt. From successful homemakers to established entrepreneurs to hard-working employees, women have proven, that they are masters of multitasking and managerial skills. I believe women should gain strength from the journey –it is the journey of life that will them strong and empowered. An independent woman would always be in control of her own life. Keep learning as learning never stops & the woman within her has the power to create nurture & transform There’s gender equality but you need to understand the time has come when the woman needs to stop thinking of herself as stronger or weaker – she needs to walk together with the man.

And that’s my message to budding entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism domain – believe in yourself and walk step by step with the man. Enjoy the journey and everything else will fall into place.






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