A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed today by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) with the India Ministry of Tourism for women empowerment. Through this initiative, FLO and TAAI will lay emphasis on personal and hospitality skills, a more flexible work balance, and greater options for entrepreneurship with significantly lower capital.
The State Chapters of FLO and TAAI will create awareness, along with state tourism departments and state tourism corporations, to highlight the vital role the tourism industry can play as a model for sustainable livelihood for women and ensure their economic upliftment. This collaboration will help in initiating and engaging women at the grassroots level and at the middle level in semi-urban areas, urban areas, and the urban educated unemployed.
FLO and TAAI will be the facilitators in the process connecting women with relevant stakeholders, undertake training in specific verticals for enhancing their livelihood opportunities, increasing their self-awareness as equal partners in the nation’s growth, and working towards their economic empowerment.
The representatives took the pledge of Dekho Apna Desh to visit 15 destinations within the country.
The main components proposed under the initiative are:
- Encourage travel to at least 15 destinations within the country under the Dekho Apna Desh initiative. This will be a mandate for FLO’s & TAAI’s membership base of over 8000 women and their family support systems.
- Conduct community-based tourism activities around one Iconic Monument or Tourist Landmark in each state. Women will be the tour guides, run food stalls, souvenir stalls with their own arts & crafts, handle the overall accounts and running of the landmark.
- FLO – TAAI chapters will raise awareness on Sustainable Tourism practices and focus on Tourism as a vital sustainable livelihood tool for women’s empowerment, by way of advocacy and awareness, educational workshops, seminars and panel discussions.
- Tie up with training agencies for Tourism workshops for training women about concepts on food safety, health & hygiene, sanitation, environment, culinary skills and entrepreneurship skills.
- Women to be engaged and sensitized about the Atithidevo bhava motto through sensitization workshops to be organized by NGOs, some implementing agencies, travel industry associations etc.
- Create community-driven and women-led initiatives for rural and urban homestays to provide livelihood opportunities for women.
- Create awareness about the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator (IITF) Certification Program.
The Ministry of Tourism will support the initiative by way of:
- Endorsement of FLO – TAAI Initiatives under this MOU
- Co-Branding with MOT logo presence
- Guidance & Interventions
- Facilitation through the right connects
The Hon. Minister of Tourism, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, in an address, spoke about women in the country excelling in different fields. She said: “We have the best of women doctors, pilots, scientists, businesswomen. Women have also excelled in various adventure-related activities and sports like mountaineering, trekking, bicycling, etc. Today, women form an important component of our armed forces. And we are a nation where women have assumed positions of the Prime Minister and President of the country.
“There is a need to organize and popularize training and skill development programs targeting women, including those in rural and remote areas, make them aware of digital technologies and facilitate them to be part of decision-making at the community level. It, therefore, becomes our moral responsibility to ensure that women in the travel and tourism sector are encouraged to come forward and participate in the development of tourism, which would not only benefit the sector but would also help in their upliftment and empowerment. There are many areas in tourism where women can excel, like homestays, tourist facilitators, catering business, and more.
“I am happy to see the work being done for the betterment of women by TAAI and the FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) through their chapters across the country. The MOU signed today between the Ministry of Tourism, TAAI, and FLO, will give us an opportunity to join hands and take initiatives right till the grassroot[s] level to increase participation of women in the tourism sector and make them an integral part of the tourism workforce of the country.
“The MOU marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation and synergy between the Ministry of Tourism, TAAI, and FLO.”