Tag Archive for: #womenengagement


Jacqueline Kali, a seasoned professional with close to 30 years of experience in the tourism industry brings us to the third interview feature for the March Highlights: Women in Tourism. Following her graduation in a professional course- Front Office Operations from the Kenya Utalii College, she joined British Airways Kenya where she quickly distinguished herself as a passionate and hardworking individual, which led to her being headhunted to work at the British Airways office in Amsterdam. Upon returning to British Airways Kenya, Jacqueline steadily gained experience in Ticketing, Customer Service, Corporate and Trade Sales, Account Management, and Marketing departments. She holds a CIM professional certification from London, which demonstrates her expertise in Digital Marketing techniques, Branding and Planning, and Marketing strategies. She serves as the National Vice Secretary on the Board of Kenya Association of Women in Tourism, is a member of the Nairobi and Lower Eastern Counties, chairs the Events subcommittee within the MICE Committee, and serves on the Mentorship and Disciplinary committees. Additionally, she volunteers with Huduma Kenya, a community-based organization that fundraises and supports women and children from informal settlements battling cancer.

Read on to get Jacqueline’s insights.

  1. With your experience in the industry, what unique perspectives or experiences do you think women bring to the industry?

Women bring a multitude of unique perspectives and experiences to the tourism industry. Their empathetic nature enables them to connect deeply with travelers and local communities alike, fostering genuine relationships and understanding. Women often excel in communication and relationship-building, which are essential skills for creating memorable and authentic guest experiences. Additionally, women tend to prioritize collaboration and consensus-building, leading to more inclusive and sustainable tourism practices. Their diverse backgrounds and perspectives enrich the industry, ensuring that it remains vibrant, innovative, and responsive to the needs of all stakeholders.

Vik Malhotra, former Chair of McKinsey Americas, who counsels CEOs and Boards, once spoke about the difference between male and female CEOs, and he said “the women CEOs were particularly distinctive on the responsibility to mobilize their teams and solve for the team psychology—and this is off a very high bar. They overinvested in these areas, thinking about the composition of their teams, how to motivate them, and what the teams worked on.”

  1. What role do you see women playing in shaping the future of tourism, particularly in the context of sustainability and social responsibility?

Women have a pivotal role in shaping the future of tourism, especially concerning sustainability and social responsibility. Their innate ability to nurture and collaborate, fosters a holistic approach to tourism development. Women often lead initiatives that prioritize environmental conservation, community engagement, and ethical practices. Their inclusive leadership style ensures that the benefits of tourism are equitably distributed, contributing to the well-being of local communities. Through their advocacy and actions, women are instrumental in steering the industry towards a more sustainable and socially responsible future.

  1. What inspired you to pursue a career in tourism, and what do you find most rewarding about your work?

As a little girl, I admired airline hostesses…. especially their smiles and neat uniforms…they seemed happy all the time! This led me to insist on going to Kenya Utalii College instead of Kenyatta University, where I had been accepted, ending to a big fight with my Dad, especially because he found out I was just as stubborn as he was, Haha! The most rewarding part of my work was seeing the smiles on my clients’ faces, especially after a seamless travel experience and also after I offered solutions to their needs. I also found happiness in British Airways…. we are family. I use the present tense because we are still in touch.


  1. Can you share any notable examples of initiatives or programs aimed at promoting inclusivity and accessibility in the hospitality industry?

There are several notable initiatives and programs aimed at promoting inclusivity and accessibility in the hospitality industry. One example is the “Kenya Association of Women in Tourism”, which focuses on empowering women in the Tourism and Hospitality industry and bringing gender aspects to the attention of policy makers, especially issues of women’s work environment, employment, entrepreneurship and equity within the sector. We seek to mitigate inequality and harness women’s potential towards a more prosperous Tourism industry.

Another is the “Accessible Travel and Hospitality” program, which advocates for greater accessibility and inclusivity for travelers with disabilities. Additionally, many hotels and resorts have implemented initiatives such as gender-neutral bathrooms, accessible accommodations, and inclusive hiring practices to create more welcoming environments for all guests. These initiatives demonstrate the industry’s commitment to promoting diversity, equality, and accessibility for all.

  1. How can women drive innovation and positive change within the tourism sector?

Women can drive innovation and positive change within the tourism sector by leveraging their diverse perspectives and skill sets. Their capacity for empathy and understanding allows them to identify emerging trends and consumer demands, leading to the development of unique and authentic experiences. Women often excel in fostering collaboration and partnerships, which are essential for implementing innovative solutions to industry challenges. By championing inclusivity, diversity, and responsible practices, women inspire creativity and drive positive change that benefits both the industry and the communities it serves.

  1. As a woman leader in the tourism industry, what advice would you give to aspiring professionals looking to make a difference in this field?

My advice to aspiring professionals in the tourism industry is to be fearless in pursuing their passions and advocating for meaningful change. Embrace every opportunity to learn and grow, whether through formal education, networking, or hands-on experience, using innovation to solve problems or needs of the future traveler/tourist. Cultivate a strong support network of mentors and peers who share your values and aspirations. Remember that your unique perspective and contributions are invaluable assets in shaping the future of tourism. Stay committed to your principles of sustainability, inclusivity, and social responsibility, and never underestimate the impact that one person can make in creating a more ethical and equitable industry.

  1. Fill in this statement. Women in Tourism are _________.

Oh dear! I would be doing women a huge disservice if I filled that blank with one word! Women in Tourism are catalysts for change, driving sustainable practices and community development; they are pioneers, shaping the industry’s future with their creativity and determination; they are resilient leaders, breaking barriers and inspiring generations to come; they are ambassadors of culture, promoting diversity and inclusivity in every destination they touch; they are storytellers, narrating the narratives of places and people, fostering understanding and empathy; they are agents of transformation, leveraging their skills to create positive social impact wherever they go; they are trailblazers, forging new paths and challenging stereotypes in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Women in Tourism are the heartbeat of hospitality, infusing warmth, care, and authenticity into every guest experience.


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