Med Pearls highlights the need for female inclusion in the Tourism Sector
Women significantly play into Palestine’s startup and Tech ecosystems. The employment of women’s innovative ICT solutions, that serve the tourism sector in Palestine will help provide the highest efficiency of work and productivity in terms of local, and international needs.
In the past few years, the Mediterranean tourism industry has increased in terms of quantity, but has suffered a loss of competitiveness, due to lack of innovation and inclusion. Small and medium sized enterprises heavily dominate the tourism sector, which does display certain disadvantages in terms of innovation and product development. The sector is also generally women-dominated, as women lead 25% of all micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Palestine.
Tourism was one of the most affected sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic, with travel restrictions, hotels and transportations shut, along with the general uncertainty and fear among the public. In addition, markets for women’s tourism products are too often small and not sufficiently diversified, giving no space for product development or market outlets. These conditions could be viewed as opportunities to think outside the box, and come up with new and modern methods to connect with the public and drive the sector forward. For example, the “traditional” travel industry and the travel tech sector have worked separately for years, but the pandemic has pushed them towards strategic collaboration; as a result, there is an increase in the digitization of services and ICT entrepreneurial ideas especially by women.
Women have vast and positive impacts on the economy, both at the local and international levels, and can be a driving force for economic recovery, but in order to achieve this they must be meaningfully included in the economic and workforce development strategies. This inclusion will primarily accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goal No. 5; gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls. Thus, providing females with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and opportunity to participate in the elimination of violence against all females in both the public and private spheres. The encouragement and support of women’s economic independence and freedom always reflects positively on the society and economy in large. As it promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, and makes the society inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Gender equality has a prominent role in international and national advancment for both developing and developed countries.
An example in Med Pearls:
One of the Med Pearls partners, PICTI (Palestine’s Information and Communications Technology Incubator, is the first Non-Profit ICT incubator in Palestine which was founded in 2004. PICTI, which provides sustainable channeling between startups, accelerators, and investors at both the local and international levels including the Palestinian Diaspora, is led by females, one of them working for Med Pearls. In addition, Intertech, the company that was selected to do the website for the promotion of Slow Tourism products, is a Palestian-based company which has a woman as the leader for the creation of the mentioned website.
It is Precisely Megan, the project officer of PICTI that who stated that providing an encouraging, legal infrastructure for general womens' entrepreneurship will lead to increased womens' tourism entrepreneurship. Only through inclusion can competitiveness be retained, and integrating women within the Tech-tourism sector will enable more accessibility, visibility of information, economic diversification, income equality, and Sustainable Development.
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