Female leadership in the tourism sector

The virtual cycle ‘Female leadership in strategic economic sectors during the pandemic‘ continues. The third session of the series has been focused on giving visibility to how women lead the tourism sector of the city of Barcelona during the pandemic.

Firstly, María José Blanco, head of Barcelona Activa‘s Entrepreneurship programs, welcomed us by introducing the session by Xavier Marcé, Councilor for Tourism and Creative Industries of the Barcelona City Council, and Marian Muro, Barcelona Tourism Director.

Xavier Marcé shared a reflection on the paradigm shift that we are experiencing today. He established a simile with the invention of the printing press in the middle of the 15th century: “The printing press allowed in a short time the democratization of reading, which caused the subsequent modernization and the appearance of the illustration”. Marcé stressed the importance of changes in power structures: “At that time, a change was built and profoundly affected the established power structure. Now, it is time to promote the change that allows women to be part of the structure of power that prevails today”. Marcé added that this paradigm shift will bring enormous changes in the role of men and women in the future construction of society.

Next, Marian Muro showed the presence of women in the tourism sector: “Women represent 57% of the total workforce in the tourism sector. However, only a third reach positions of responsibility and a 3% are CEOs of tourism companies”. These data show how the incorporation of women in the tourism sector is

Afterward, the round table was moderated by Anna Mercadé, president of the Associació 50a50, which brought together Laia Andreu, founder of Onvaig.cat, and Inés Miró – Sans, co-founder of Casa Bonay.

Laia Andreu explained how she had to reinvent her company to face the challenges left by the current crisis: “We have created a consultancy to be able to advise other tourism companies on how to offer experiences related to proximity tourism”. On the other hand, Inés Miró – Sans highlighted how the hotel’s participation in the city has helped her to be able to survive when tourism has been deeply reduced. “We are a neighborhood hotel for the neighborhood, we want to make an impact on the city by integrating ourselves in it”, said the speaker.

Anna Mercadé remarked that to overcome the post-Covid crisis it is necessary for administrations to make investments in the sector. She asked that the Equality Law be complied with and that companies create equity plans in order to reduce the wage gap and help women to survive in this crisis. Finally, Miró – Sans added that to overcome the sector “you need an offer of quality and value”.

The next session will focus on female leadership in the digital economy and technology. Other sessions that will take place later are: care and services to people, health and food and cultural and creative industries.