A new awards ceremony for women working in hospitality and tourism in Scotland aims to boost female representation at senior levels in the industry after research showed just six per cent are in the top jobs.

The inaugural Women in Hospitality and Tourism Awards, to be held on September 19 at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Glasgow Central, aims to celebrate women in the industry and help close the gender gap.

Launched by Business Woman Scotland magazine, the ceremony will feature a host of top speakers and has received the warm backing of Scottish Government Ministers.

Kennedy, who founded the magazine in 2008, said she had been “delighted” by the response after women from across the country entered nine different award categories – with the shortlist announced next week.

She said: “The response has been great; we are delighted with it. Our intention is that these awards become an annual celebration for women working in the Hospitality & Tourism sector.

“The aim is to help recognise and increase the number of women working in senior leadership roles across the visitor economy.”

According to the organisation some existing research has estimated that 60% of those working within the tourism industry were female, but only 6% were in senior or board-level positions.  However, there is still a need to carry out more research into the industry norms.

Lynne adds: “As the gender balance is a topical subject it was time to shine the light on some of our stars working in the industry and reward the employees working in sectors that normally would not have an opportunity to enter individual awards. Lack of confidence is the key issue for a lot of women working in Scotland.”

The MC for the evening is STV journalist and broadcaster Rachel McTavish. She will be joined by guest speakers Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture & Tourism, Petra Wetzel, MD of West Brewery and Alice Beveridge, Director, Tree of Knowledge.

Organisers say the the BWS Awards will be the only awards for women in Scotland that ‘celebrate the achievements of women working in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism, and the individuals and businesses that actively support gender diversity in these industries.’


The judging panel consists of Fiona Richmond Special Projects Manager, Scotland Food & Drink, Susan Russell, Marketing Manager at Festivals Edinburgh and David Cochrane, Chief Executive, HIT Scotland.

Categories include; Rising Star of the Year, Front of House Star of the Year, HR Star of the Year, Bar of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, Hotelier of the Year, Venue Manager of the Year, Spa Manager of the Year, Best Place for Women to Work and Business Woman of the Year.

EventIt, Scotland’s national events industry trade show, is sponsoring the venue manager of the year category.

EventIt Director Judith Wilson said: “This is a great step forward for women working in hospitality and tourism, and of course events. As the sponsor of the Venue Manager of the Year category we are keen to highlight the very positive impact that women have in the industry and it’s fantastic that these awards will provide a platform for them to be recognised. And obviously it would be great to see more women given the opportunity to progress up the career ladder into those more senior roles.”