Breaking down barriers: Tourism Western Australia on sponsoring the Women In Travel Awards

Breaking down barriers: Tourism Western Australia on sponsoring the Women In Travel Awards

In just four days the travel industry will gather together for what can only be described as the night of nights: The Women In Travel Awards!

It’ll be all the big names, the who’s who, and the major players of travel in attendance at this sold-out event that promises to enlighten, entertain and enthral all!

What makes this night possible is our array of amazing sponsors and Tourism Western Australia has signed on to support women and remind us of the infinite beauty across this little rock we call Australia.

Carolyn Turnbull, the managing director of Tourism WA, said these awards were the perfect opportunity for her agency to show how much it values diversity and inclusion.

“Through the sponsorship of the 2023 Women in Travel Awards, Tourism WA reflects on our commitment to diversity and inclusion for women in the workplace and positions the agency as an employer of choice that strives to provide leadership opportunities and career pathways for women,” Turnbull said.

A problem facing the travel industry, that Turnbull actively works to fix, is despite being majority women, the senior and executive levels are disproportionately male. In doing this, Turnbull has reframed Tourism WA’s executive management team to include more women and fosters a culture of breaking barriers across Western Australia’s tourism sector.

This leadership model is both progressive and reflective of the agency staff, where the majority is female and aspires to see representation in leadership,” she said.

And while female representation at the top level more than deserves to be celebrated, the Women In Travel Awards recognises individual achievement across all levels, something prioritised by Tourism WA. 

The agency encourages all staff, particularly women, to identify how they can play a leadership role in their own positions. Whether that is by leading a team of people or exemplifying personal leadership and integrity in their own role.

“Celebrating achievements across the industry is important as the national travel sector is both often competitive and an ecosystem that works together,” Turnbull said. “It is critical we take these opportunities to come together and recognise our achievements in diversity and inclusion as one industry, and acknowledge individual success, not just at an organisational level.”

But while Tourism WA actively takes steps towards gender equality in the travel industry, there is still work to be done. A report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in 2023 showed that despite the overall workforce in the leisure industry having a 50-50 gender balance, only 7 per cent of CEOs and 33 per cent of senior managers are women. Turnbull said that these figures represent the significant amount of work there is still to be done in the sector and suggests that policies ensuring equal opportunities are either not strong enough or non-existent.

“Incentivising companies to report on the gender pay gap and gender diversity would be a step in the right direction, it would also provide a platform for the ground-breaking initiatives that some companies have put in place to improve gender inclusivity,” she said. 

Among these initiatives is the WA Women in Tourism and Hospitality group’s Mentor Program, which Turnbull participates in as a mentor.

“I want to emphasise and impart the importance of a strong sense of self-belief on my mentees, and how vital it is to build an unshakeable vision for their own future,” Turnbull said.

Another big thank you to Tourism Western Australia for sponsoring our Women In Travel Awards alongside the other sponsors below!

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