Tourism Minister Tokozani Xasa says it is imperative to recognise the role played by women in the tourism industry.
"As we celebrate Women's month under the national theme - The Year of OR Tambo: Women United in Moving South Africa Forward, it is critical for us to be mindful of the vital role played by women executives in advancing our economy, especially through tourism," said Minister Xasa.
Speaking during her visit to tourism establishments owned and managed by women in Cape Town, Minister Xasa emphasised the need for increased participation and representation of women executives in the sector.
"Tourism is a key driver of our economy, with an immense potential to fast track radical and economic transformation.
"With a workforce comprised largely by women operating at the lower levels of the value chain, it is incumbent on our sector to lead the process of gender diversity and transformation that will result in more women occupying executive positions," said Minister Xasa.
The Minister's visit began with a tour of the Park Inn Hotel by Radisson in Newlands.
More than 50 percent of the hotel's staff are women, 10 of which occupy managerial positions. The hotel is also one of a few that employs hearing impaired staff in the industry.
"It is encouraging to see establishments such as Park Inn Hotel by Radisson rally behind empowering women, and the hearing impaired. Tourism is for everyone, and this hotel is a great example of the inclusiveness that we hope to achieve in the sector," said Minister Xasa.
Minister Xasa concluded her visit in Khayelitsha with lunch at 4Roomed eKasi Culture owned by Abigail Mbalo-Mokoena, and a tour of Nomalungelo Sotyingwa - owner of Lungi's BnB - a homestay facility that offers a unique experience of family life and culture in a South African Township.
"I met dynamic women who started their businesses with limited resources, but leveraged on their innate abilities to bring a unique and fresh perspective on conducting business in the industry.
"We need more women executives in our sector. A diverse pool of leaders can only give rise to alternative ways of thinking, and unravel opportunities for growth and enhanced competitiveness for our industry," added Minister Xasa.
The Department of Tourism in partnership with Travel Massive will host the 'Women in Tourism' Networking Breakfast event on 24 August 2017.
Women in Tourism (WiT) programme is an initiative that brings women together to find solutions to the challenges that hinder their entrepreneurial progress in the sector.