Anelisa Vena

Women are making positive changes in tourism

Meet Anelisa, an important #IAmTourism woman originating from the small town of Alice, located in the heart of the Eastern Cape Province. A thoughtful and compassionate individual, she proves that hard work and determination really does go a long way.

An advocate for tourism and education

In recalling her journey into the tourism sector, Anelisa describes how she completed her Matric at Zola Business High School in Khayelitsha, thereafter studying Tourism Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology where she recently obtained her advanced diploma last year.

“When I changed high school, I chose tourism as one of my subjects. I always wanted to study it because I wanted to travel,” she says. “When I was working at a hotel straight out of Matric for 6 months I got to interact with international guests and learn about other cultures, but I also loved the networking aspect of being in hospitality the dynamic job opportunities that it offers.”

Anelisa is also strong advocate for empowering local communities, highlighting the importance of the tourism industry, not just how it contributes to the economy, but how it improves the infrastructure and how offers so many dynamic opportunities for the country’s youth.

As someone who values education and learning, she currently works at Equal Educations, a community and membership-based organisation that strives for quality and equality in the South African education system. “The work I do allows me to be free and I can express myself without being apologetic. I also really love working with kids as well as their parents – assisting and encouraging them to support their children and invest in their future,” she explains.  

The importance of women in the industry

Commenting on the importance of empowering women in the tourism sector, Analisa explains that “Women are making positive changes in South Africa’s tourism industry but also around the world, especially when it comes to eco-tourism and socially responsible travel. It’s important to encourage more women to enter the sector.”

If she had a direct line to the President or the National Coronavirus Command Council, she would ask for greater income opportunities. “The president should provide more income opportunities, especially for women who can help mentor the next generation of females, ” she explains.  

“Right now, women are suffering the most with borders closed preventing inbound travel. There are no international tourists that are coming to the country bringing in their foreign exchange which is a huge blow for our communities.”

As for her hopes for the future of tourism she says this: “I hope that the pandemic does come to an end so that the industry can recover, open fully and contribute once again to the upliftment of our local communities,” she concludes.  

View Anelisa’s full #IAmTourism conversation right here.

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Women are making positive changes in South Africa’s tourism industry, especially when it comes to socially responsible travel