“Tourism is one of the key economic sectors with the potential to contribute to greater gender equality and the empowerment of women. This is especially important because tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors, which accounts, directly and indirectly, for 10% of the world’s jobs and GDP.”
With a background in economics, Professor Novelli has written and advised extensively in the field of international tourism policy, planning, development and management in Africa, Europe and Asia. Working for World Bank, EU, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, Commonwealth Secretariat, Millennium Challenge Corporation, National Ministries, Tourism Boards, Regional Development Agencies and NGOs.
Her key areas of expertise include: diagnostic, monitoring and evaluation; sustainable development and responsible management approaches; niche tourism product development; community-based value chain diversification and development; workforce capacity development; governance and institutional development; service standards and optimisation in hospitality and tourism.
She said: “Generally, being a woman in the tourism industry is tough. I could share many personal accounts of the ‘good, the bad and the (occasionally) ugly’ of being both as an academic and a practitioner in the sector. However, things are changing for the better and one way of moving forward is to shift the narratives about Women in Tourism globally and in Africa. Without ignoring the challenges associated with operating in such a complex sector, we must change the narratives about women’s involvement in tourism from being simply about ‘service sector workers’ into inspiring stories about ‘empowerment, leadership and success’ that increasingly permeates our sector today.”
Professor Novelli uses a Peer2Peer pro-activist and impact-oriented education and skills development framework, a mechanism “enhancing the contribution of students and non-traditional learners from different backgrounds”.
She said: “I remain committed to generating new knowledge on ways in which tourism can play a key role in sustainable development by stimulating local economies, conserving the environment, developing people and changing lives, particularly of women and youth.”