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Tourism Offers Economic Opportunities to Women Entrepreneurs

The Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna DeshWebinar series held its 79th webinar titled “Weaving Growth of Rural India with SEWA & Airbnb India” recently. 8th March being International Women’s Day, the subject was appropriate in bringing forth the strength of women in the sector of tourism and also bringing forth the opportunities that exist.

The tourism sector currently provides through direct and indirect jobs 12.95% of all jobs in India and given the growing interest in experiential tourism there exist immense economic opportunities for the local communities especially for women entrepreneurs.

The webinar discussed about the empowerment of women through improving the livelihoods of self-employed women workers from informal economy through various initiatives using technology, technical training, micro finance etc.

Airbnb has a partnership with the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), an organization representing more than 1.5 million self-employed women living mostly in India’s rural areas. Till now more than 4500 guests had visited 40 SEWA Homestays from over 15 different countries. This partnership gives tourists a unique and authentic experience of culture & heritage and at the same time the women entrepreneurs from even the marginal economic sections are provided with income source.

The webinar was presented by Vineeta Dixit, Head Public Policy India and Tejasbhai Raval, Technology Head, SEWA who explained the journey and incredible experiences of the partnership between SEWA & Airbnb and how it has benefited both the partners.

Two of the most successful and oldest members of SEWA who run homestays, Gauriben and Meetaben spoke about their experiences for hosting guests in their homestays and how it has benefited them to grow not only economically but technologically, knowledge wise etc.

Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism emphasized on Vocal for Local initiative of the Government of India.

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