The Voice of the Cruise Industry

International Women’s Day: ‘Progress, but more work to be done in cruise’

International Women's Day, APT interview


Today (8 March) is International Women’s Day. APT UK & Europe sales and commercial manager Angela Waite shares her thoughts on how the cruise sector can become more equal.

How can more women be encouraged to enter the cruise sector? 

The good news is that we have a solid starting point. According to the second Global Report on Women in Tourism from the World Tourism Organization, women make up 54 per cent of the tourism workforce.

This drops to 39 per cent in the broader economy, so travel is doing better than most. But there is more work to be done – particularly when it comes to increasing the number of women in executive positions and in closing the gender pay gap.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) must be foundational values of all travel businesses. Support, engagement and elevation of women through male allyship across the sector will also be key.

What are the barriers to more women entering the sector? 

Flexible working and access to affordable childcare continue to negatively impact women’s ability to join and advance in the workplace.

Thankfully, the way the UK’s travel sector is structured means that flexible opportunities are growing. For example, the number of homeworking travel agents has grown rapidly – so much so that we now have a dedicated BDM for homeworkers.

I am also very proud of APT’s commitment to flexible working for our staff and this is one of the reasons that we have such good staff retention rates.

How can cruise better embrace equality? 

To improve equality at the senior level of our industry, underrepresentation needs to be addressed.

Women need to be given visibility, mentoring and opportunities for development. Their successes will lead to a meaningful ripple effect, and a more equitable executive landscape.

Why is it important for the cruise sector to open its doors more widely? 

Women tend to be the key decision makers when it comes to purchasing holidays, so it seems only sensible that they should be leading cruising and travel businesses in greater numbers.

They can also advocate for women throughout their organisations – from on the ground in the destinations we visit right up to the boardroom – and help to close the tourism industry’s wage gap.

How can you ensure that the equality work you do is more than simply buzz words and well-meaning statements? 

Equality in the workplace is not an issue for underrepresented groups to address themselves, or solely an HR concern.

It isn’t just about implementing procedures to stop discrimination, it needs to become normal, standard practice for all.

Equality and inclusion must be normalised and embedded in companies’ DNA. By actively promoting DEI, travel businesses will become better, happier and more productive places to work, and our sector will thrive.

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