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Gender & Tourism: Women's Employment and Participation in Tourism

Summary of UNED-UK's Project Report


bulletklein.gif (275 bytes) Introduction

bulletklein.gif (275 bytes) Summary

bulletklein.gif (275 bytes) Recommendations

bulletklein.gif (275 bytes) Contributors



In September 1998, UNED-UK initiated a project in preparation for the Commission on Sustainable Development's 7th Session in April 1999. The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will then discuss the area of tourism, review the progress which has been made with regard to developing sustainable tourism and make recommendations on how to improve sustainable development in and through tourism.

The project "Gender & Tourism: Women's Employment and Participation in Tourism" aims at bringing gender aspects of tourism to the attention of policy makers, especially the issues of women’s employment in the tourism industry and women’s local participation in tourism planning and management. The project report presents information about the situation of women as members of the workforce in tourism industry worldwide and through flagging up good practice of women's participation on the local level, presented in 12 case studies from around the world. In addition, the report offers discussions on gender stereotypical images, working mothers, micro-credit, etc. as well as brief spotlights on individual countries.

The area of tourism is particularly suitable to stress the integrated approach to environmental, social and economic aspects of the concept of sustainable development. The tourism industry represents a huge economic factor and its environmental and social impacts are obvious and have been well documented. In addition, integrating gender perspectives into the discussion of tourism is particularly important as the tourism industry is one major employer of women, offers various opportunities for independent income generating activities, and at the same time affects women’s lives in destination communities.

This summary of UNED-UK's Project Report "Gender & Tourism: Women's Employment and Participation in Tourism" is seeking to give an overview of it's contents, draw conclusions and develop recommendations for stakeholders. The summary is focussing on major issues, which the chapters of the report are touching upon. The observations reported throughout the report were used to formulate recommendations for all stakeholders, making suggestions, which will help to maximise the benefits of tourism development for local communities and for women, in particular.

The summary, conclusions and the recommendations have been drawn reviewing the information gathered in the report. The collection of data, cases and issues addressed is by no means representative. In addition, the relation of quantitative information based on large numbers of observations and qualitative information based of in-depth studies of singular cases presents an unsolved methodological problem. Therefore, conclusions and recommendations are being presented in a discursive manner and should be viewed as starting points for further discussion among stakeholders.

The full report will be launched at a Side Event at the CSD, on Monday, 19 April 1999, 1.15 -2.45 pm, Conference Room A. This will be a panel discussion of representatives from Governments, industry and academia as well as case study authors and the project team, chaired by Margaret Brusasco-MacKenzie.

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Summary                                                                    [ Up ]

Tourism has demonstrated its potential for creating jobs and encouraging income-generating activities to benefit local communities in destination areas. The tourism sector definitely provides various entry points for women's employment and opportunities for creating self-employment in small and medium sized income generating activities, thus creating paths towards the elimination of poverty of women and local communities in developing countries. However, there are a number of conditions under which this potential can be used more effectively. This requires collaboration of all stakeholders - governments and intergovernmental bodies, local government, industry, trade unions, local communities and their different member groups, NGOs, community based tourism initiatives, etc. Increasing the use of tourism's potential whilst safeguarding the natural environment and cultural heritage and increasing social and economic justice should be the goal of further tourism development. This report aims at contributing to this goal.

The present summary is divided into six sections, these being:

Income generation and poverty elimination through tourism development

Participation in tourism planning and management

Women's rights, stereotypical images of women, sexual objectification

Sharing experiences and networking

Research gaps

Recommendations for stakeholders


1. Income Generation and Poverty Elimination through Tourism Development

Women's Employment in Tourism: In the last few decades, the tourism industry has undergone a period of explosive growth, and as a labour intensive industry, there has consequently been a rapid rate of job creation and development. Using the latest available data from the restaurant and hotel sector, provided by ILO and UNDP, we have examined the industry on a global level in terms of the numbers of women in employment over the past ten years, their average weekly wage rate and hours of work, as compared to men.

We have used the "restaurant, catering and hotel industry" to provide a proxy for the "tourism industry"; these sectors are the largest employers in the tourism industry overall. Gender disaggregated data for the tourism sector was not available for all countries. While data on numbers of women and men working in tourism related professions (73 countries) are more comprehensive than for the average wage (31 countries) and working hours (39 countries); the availability of this information is still highly limited. Data is not available for many of the Middle Eastern countries, for China and, regarding working hours and wages, for the United States of America.

The general picture suggests that the tourism industry seems to be a particularly important sector for women (46 % of the workforce are women) as their percentages of employment in most countries are higher than in the workforce in general (34 - 40 % are women, ILO data). The numbers of women and their percentage of the workforce in tourism vary greatly between countries - from 2 % up to over 80 %. Although there were few obvious regional trends it would appear that in those countries where tourism is a more mature industry women generally account for around 50 % of the workforce.

Of the data available for the years between 1988 and 1997, it appears that there has been a broad increase in the participation of women for tourism industry at a global level. The majority of this increase in female participation may be driven by the growth in the industry for specific countries, such as Puerto Rico, Chile and Turkey. For the industrially developed countries, there has been little change in the actual participation of women in the tourism industry.

The proportion of women's to men's working hours, available for 39 countries, is 89 % - which means that women work 89 hours when men work 100 hours. The proportion of women's to men's wages is 79 %. At first glance, this looks like women are working less hours than men and at the same time receive even less pay. However, we cannot be sure if this is due to women's typical occupations being paid less, women being significantly more in part time and/or temporary employment, and/or women being paid less for the same work (wage inequity). Due to lack of more detailed gender disaggregated information it is not possible to unpick the reasons for the observed disproportional relation of women's and men's working hours and wages. In addition, readers should keep in mind that the increase of women's involvement in the labour market has not been associated with substantial change in the amount of hours women are expected to spend on domestic duties; this is leading to much longer actual working hours for women, ie up to 70-90 hours per week.

Regarding the disproportionate relation between women's and men's working hours and their respective wages, there is a divide between the developed world, which employs females on an average weekly wage equivalent to 80% of a male's wage, and the less developed world, where average female wages fall by another 10% to 70% of male wages. However, there are significant variations within these groups.

Finally, readers should be aware that the data do not include information about the informal sector. This leaves us with a skewed picture as the informal sector plays a very important role in terms of income generation through tourism, particularly for women.

Women's Occupations and Positions in the Tourism Industry: Some facts about women's positioning in terms of hierarchical levels have been extracted from the very few sources giving information, which is not sufficiently differentiated. However, it seems very clear that the situation in the tourism industry resembles the one in the labour markets in general: As in many other sectors, there is a significant horizontal and vertical gender segregation of the labour market in tourism. Horizontally, women and men are placed in different occupations - women are being employed as waitresses, chambermaids, cleaners, travel agencies sales persons, flight attendants, etc., whereas men are being employed as barmen, gardeners, construction workers, drivers, pilots, etc. Vertically, the typical "gender pyramid" is prevalent in the tourism sector - lower levels and occupations with few career development opportunities being dominated by women and key managerial positions being dominated by men.

In the broadly defined "service sector" in the Anker report (ILO 1998), women and men are nearly equally involved in the workforce (44 % women), slightly more than in the global non-agricultural workforce in the 41 countries studied by Anker (about 40 %) and significantly more than in the overall global workforce (34 % - ILO data from 82 countries). Examining the occupations being particularly relevant in the tourism sector, one can see that more than 90 % of people working in catering & lodging, as waitresses, bartenders, maids, babysitters, cleaners, housekeeping helpers, launderers, dry-cleaners, and the like, are women.

Vertical segregation of the labour market in the service and the administrative / managerial sectors reflects the situation in the labour markets in general. Women around the world have achieved higher levels of education than ever before and today represent more than 40 % of the global workforce. Yet their share of management positions remains unacceptably low, with just a tiny proportion succeeding in breaking through the "glass ceiling". There are numerous inter-linked factors, which help to maintain gender segregation of the labour market. Among them are gender stereotyping, traditional gender roles and gender identity - women are seen as being suitable for certain occupations and they seem themselves as suitable. In addition, traditional gender roles assign to women the main responsibilities for raising children, caring for the elderly, and doing household work. Thus, women are often forced to choose casual labour, part-time and seasonal employment.

Women are much more likely to be employed on a part time basis than men are. Although this allows them to accommodate the various responsibilities plus their work outside the home, it does have significant drawbacks: in many cases lower pay per working hour, fewer advancement opportunities, less formal training, less protection from unemployment, etc.

Acknowledging that the problem of gender segregation of labour markets is a general one should not mean that it isn't addressed when discussing tourism. Bringing the necessary changes about requires efforts in all sectors. However, the tourism industry seems to be a particularly good "candidate" for engaging in efforts towards the advancement of women. Due to its size, its rapid growth and its extremely diverse and dynamic nature, the tourism industry has an enormous flexibility. This can enable the industry to develop key initiatives for the advancement of women so that other industries can benefit from initiatives and strategies in the tourism sector as models for their own development. The high percentage of women in the tourism workforce in many countries provides a necessary fundament for the further advancement of women: The "critical mass" is already there.

Creating self-employment for women in tourism and maximising benefits for local communities: Most of the 12 case studies presented in the report can be described as community-based tourism initiatives - co-operatives, small and medium sized businesses, mixtures of NGOs and businesses, etc. Some of them went through a history of starting off as an informal sector initiative and then becoming a registered business involving more people.

Community based tourism initiatives, particular of local women's groups and co-operatives, can be an accessible and suitable entry point for women into the paid workforce. They seem to generate more long-term motivation than initiatives from outside. There are numerous examples where women and women's groups have started income generating activities on their own. These activities help to create financial independence for local women and challenge them to develop the necessary skills and improve their education. Research has shown that financial independence and good education lead to improved self-esteem of women and more equitable relationships in families and communities.

Marketing seems to be a key constraint for the expansion of community based tourism. Independent initiatives need more information about markets and potential customers. Tourists need to be provided with more information about the benefits of buying locally and using local services. Creating opportunities for income generating activities as well as effective marketing depend upon access to information about tourism related planning and decision-making in a community area. Access to information is provided at best by involving all stakeholders in planning and decision-making. In addition, gender specific information about tourists' needs and interests helps to serve women customers.

Many of the community based tourism initiatives reported depend upon the conservation of natural resources, protected areas and national parks around which they arose. Therefore, pro-active protection of natural resources in tourism destinations is needed to sustain the basis of the livelihoods of community members being involved in tourism activities. The same applies to the conservation of local cultures and cultural heritage sites, which forms the basis of many tourism activities.

Another common aspect is the seasonal nature of tourism industry. Some argue that this creates a particularly good condition for women enabling them to accommodate their various responsibilities. However, this should not be seen as a general rule. In many cases, women and mothers cannot rely on a regular income forming the basis of the household income but have themselves to generate income all year.

Education and Training: In many new destinations of the South, the local population faces a disadvantage for gaining entry into the formal sector because of low levels of education. The case studies indicate that there is a significant demand for education and training in the communities in and around popular destinations. Training, especially training for self-employment, has been an important element for success. Most training activities are easy to replicate and could thus become an important part of an action strategy for the future. There is little evidence of training to enable or improve participation in the formal sector. Other key constraints mentioned are financial management, illiteracy and foreign languages.

Gender Stereotypes and Traditional Gender Roles: These are among the most prominent reasons why women and men tend to pursue different occupations and horizontal and vertical segregation of labour markets prevails. Gender stereotypes are prevalent in most cultures and rather resemble each other than being culturally specific. Gender stereotypes influence the way we perceive each other and how we see ourselves. Women are perceived as being particularly suited to fill certain positions in tourism, they tend to see themselves as suited and tend to be interested in stereotypical occupations. Thus, women are in fact particularly suited to take on certain jobs, for example involving caring and household-related work and service positions. On the one hand, this serves to perpetuate gender stereotyping and positioning of women accordingly. This is not generally desirable, particularly because most gender stereotypical occupations are lower paid and do not include key managerial positions. On the other hand, the situation allows women to enter the tourism workforce based on their traditional roles and their own confidence to fulfil them. Addressing the issue of gender stereotypes and gender roles is not tourism-specific; rather it seems that the tourism sector is yet another example where traditional stereotypes and roles come into play. However, tourism could play a key role in challenging gender stereotypes.


2. Participation in Tourism Planning and Management

Participation at the local level: Tourism, especially international tourism that involves high capital investments, has tended to be controlled by powerful vested interests and has been characterised by a lack of concern for the local communities residing in the destination areas. In many areas the local communities or sections of local communities have taken the initiative to maximise gains for themselves. In most cases this has been a spontaneous development. However, there have been attempts to introduce systematic processes or strategies to enhance participation by all sections of the host communities, with several of these having a gender focus. There have also been attempts to build up partnerships, partnerships between the formal tourist industry and local communities and partnerships between concerned government departments, NGOs and local communities. It is just a beginning. The experience gained, however, can provide the building blocks for scaling up and evolving effective strategies at various levels, local, national, regional and international.

Apart from developing good governance, income generation is the important motive for participation by women in the tourism industry. In most destination areas in the South, the gains for the local community seem to come from the informal sector or the formal sector owned or organised by the communities (women's co-operatives etc.). Coming out very strongly in the case studies is the conclusion that the community must be involved in all stages of tourism development - be it the engagement of tourism industry coming in from outside, community based tourism initiatives, or a combination of those. Integration of tourism development into Local Agenda 21 (LA21) processes seems to be in an infant stage.

Capacity building for participation is needed in many cases. It is important to acknowledge that different groups have different requirements in terms of capacity building and empowerment; in particular women and men.

Strategies of building partnerships: There are several examples of building partnerships contained in the report and also found elsewhere. Promotion of community participation in the tourism industry forms an important part of the evolving trend. External interventions, especially projects designed and funded by multilateral and bilateral agencies played a significant role in the development of this trend. The case studies in the report and the literature elsewhere show evidence of early stages of a similar trend in the tourism industry in several countries. Several cases help in understanding the role of conservation departments as stakeholders in participatory tourism development.

Tourism boards and government departments dealing with tourism do not seem to be playing a very active role in promoting the participation of local communities as stakeholders or in facilitating partnerships between the local communities and the tourist industry. Some case studies demonstrate that this need not be the case. Local NGOs tend to play the role of facilitator rather than a stakeholder. Some cases show how NGOs can play the role of social entrepreneurs in the industry. In many areas tourism seems to have the potential for reducing the dependencies of NGOs on external funding. Finally, tourist participation in conservation projects has proved to be a success. This could be extended to cover areas such as infrastructure development, health and education. This approach could also be used to develop new concepts of tourism itself.

Local Agenda 21 and Local Tourism Development: None of the case studies collected in the report reported seem to have operated in communities with ongoing Local Agenda 21 (LA21) processes. In some cases, the lack of an appropriate participatory mechanism for community participation is pointed out. Many of the experiences with creating meaningful participation and the requirement of developing links with the overall planning and decision-making processes in local communities allow for the conclusion that tourism development should be an integrated component of LA21. LA21 processes require measures to ensure meaningful participation of all, develop a shared vision and involve all stakeholders in decision-making. LA 21 processes allow taking into account the heterogeneous nature of local communities, which are made up of different groups with diverse interests, needs, capacities, and concerns (women and men, young and old, different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples). As LA21 is an ongoing process, it also involves stakeholders in monitoring and evaluation as plans are put into practice that can ensure continuous commitment by all stakeholder groups.


3. Women's Rights, Stereotypical Images, Sexual Objectification

Women's Rights: The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) must form the basis of addressing human rights and women's rights issues in tourism. Women can suffer specific discrimination within the tourism sector. As observations in this report show, women are consistently denied positions of leadership and responsibility within the industry, they are concentrated in low skilled and low paid occupations, they are being objectified as part of the tourism "package" and they can have their traditional roles perpetuated within an industry that feeds on uncomplicated images. In less direct ways, too, women will be among those most adversely affected by tourism development - eg by scarcity of freshwater. Tourism can violate women's rights, but it can also be used to challenge traditional roles and to empower women, in economic, social, cultural and political terms. The case studies show that women can find a voice and independence through getting involved in tourism activities - by becoming part of decision-making processes and carving out new roles in their families, homes and within local power structures.

Sexual Objectification of Women in Tourism: With sex tourism being the most negative and prominent example, there is a significant amount of sexual objectification of women working in the tourism industry. Studies have shown that women are expected to dress in an "attractive" manner, to look beautiful (ie slim, young, pretty) and to "play along" with sexual harassment by customers.

Advertising and Marketing: Stereotypical images of women are in many cases part of the tourism product. Friendly smiling women, fitting certain standards of attractiveness, who seem to be waiting to submissively serve the customer's every wish are being portrayed. Women working at destinations as well as indigenous women are being shown in a stereotypical way in tourism brochures and other material.


4. Sharing Experiences and Networking

Sharing Good Practices: There are various collections of case studies and examples of good practice in the tourism sector available, small and larger collections focussing on different issues and aspects, being put together from different perspectives and using different methodological approaches. Some are not very well known; others are not easily available. Promoting good practices more effectively and sharing lessons learnt from experiences is a definite need in order to support sustainable tourism development.

Networking: The need for networking, exchange and mutual support of community based tourism initiatives has been expressed in various case studies. Several authors refer specifically to the need of networking among women being active in tourism initiatives. As women are not only confronted with the challenges of setting up income generating activities but often also with the challenges of altering their traditional roles in their communities by generating independent income, becoming a "leader" or a "business woman", there is an understandable need for mutual support and exchange of strategies how to meet these challenges.


5. Research Gaps

Linkages and leakages: Linkages between the tourist industry and other sectors of the economy and the creation of indirect employment is another under-researched area. There is little information on these in most case studies contained in the report. This would allow for more targeted approaches to creating income-earning opportunities to those who are not directly involved in tourism through backward and forward linkages. Maximising benefits for local communities must address the problem of financial leakages. There is a need to assess leakages and to promote good practice strategies to minimise them.

Differences between South and North, Formal and Informal Sector: A distinction between formal and informal sector and between various categories within these sectors should be made while making comparisons between North and South. The differences will probably begin to narrow down if this is done. The scenario probably begins to change as we begin to move down the ladder within the formal sector. An understanding of these aspects would help in formulating strategies. There is little understanding of these issues in the current research.

There is a need for a greater understanding of the larger contexts and processes, which form the basis of individual community and project development. This should be part of understanding and formulating participatory strategies and form the basis of developing strategies at the macro level.

Indicators of Sustainable Tourism: Based on a common definition of the term "sustainable tourism", indicators of sustainable tourism development and maintenance need to be developed. This should be done in a multi-stakeholder process. The UN Division for Sustainable Development should act as a facilitator in this process.

All of the above should be carried out incorporating a gender-perspective: Information about women's and men's situation involved in the formal vs. the informal sector, about creating gender responsive linkages between the tourism industry and other sectors, and about practical gender sensitive indicators is needed to improve tourism planning and management.

Gender Disaggregated Information: As in many other areas, we lack precise data on women's and men's employment in the tourism industry - their occupations, positioning in the hierarchies, contracts, wages, working hours, training, etc. Few countries provide information about these variables (ILO 1998); in some cases, they are available through the tourism industry.

Identifying the most gender-responsive aspects of tourism development: Participatory processes and setting up community based tourism initiatives benefit greatly from having information available about which areas of planning and management most urgently need women's participation. Existing research into this area should be reviewed and new studies (esp. participatory research and action research) should be conducted to identify the most gender-responsive aspects of community planning and management. With regard to the environment, existing research indicates that freshwater, land use, transport, food and fuel supply are most gender-responsive. At the same time, these are particularly gender-responsive economic issues as tourism development can affect the availability of local food, water, fuel etc. at reasonable prices. Other rather gender specific issues include reduced safety and security in public spaces.


Overall, the report identifies a number of important findings which extend beyond the small tourism businesses and grass roots initiatives which are portrayed in the case studies:

First, participation in tourism enterprises not only contributes to decreasing individual and household poverty but can also alter the gendered structure of work and decision-making within the wider community. Thus, women who previously felt themselves to be devoid of status and power, gain increased standing and esteem within society.

Second, women have entrepreneurial and management abilities that are, in general, under-utilised. Their abilities should also be applied within larger firms and organisations.

Third, support from NGOs, the private sector, governments and inter-governmental organisations can help women to realise their full potential, benefiting not only the women themselves but also the wider community.

Fourth, support can take the form of specific measures such as the provision of training or credit.

Fifth, it is also necessary to consider the microeconomic implications of wider macroeconomic measures and to consider the introduction of compensatory policies where such measures threaten the viability of the tourism projects which have been undertaken.

Hence, gender and tourism issues should no longer be divorced from mainstream policy-making. The success of women’s initiatives in tourism should, instead, be viewed as one of the key, but previously invisible, constituents of success at the macroeconomic level.

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Recommendations for Stakeholders                              [ Up ]


Recommendations for Multi-Stakeholder Collaborative Efforts

Governments, employers, trade unions and researchers should make addressing the problem of gender segregation on the labour market a priority. Feasible strategies towards this end are: facilitating policies, such as providing child-care and other services; affirmative action and equal opportunity programmes; increased education and training for women in non-traditional areas.

Local governments, employers, trade unions and community groups should jointly create community based institutions and services to help women and men to cope with the double burden of family and household work as well as work outside the home to generate income, such as child care facilities which in turn can create jobs. Industry can look into opening child-care facilities in tourist resorts to children of employees.

Supporting women to become self-employed through tourism-related activities should be linked with micro-credit programmes. Loans to women's initiatives should be included as a means of creating opportunities for the industry to buy & source locally, thus maximising the benefits for local communities.

Collaborations of industry, local NGOs and local government should develop simple strategies to improve access to markets through providing information about customers and successful strategies of marketing products. As tourists become more interested in community based initiatives, the industry can help to create initiatives so that a complementarily shared market is developed.

The tourism industry, local government, NGOs and the independent tourism initiatives should collaborate closely to create awareness raising programmes in order to make tourists aware of the benefits of buying local products, such as handicrafts, food, clothes etc., and using local services, such as local guides.

National and local governments, tourism boards and tourism industry should support community based tourism initiatives through funding, providing (help to build) necessary infrastructure and collaborating to create sustainable and complementarily shared markets.

National and local governments, the industry and trade unions have a key role to play in disseminating information to local communities about tourism-related development plans to enable community members to create successful income generating activities.

Improving access to education and improving the standard of education in destination area should be an important long-term strategy. This is an area where partnerships between the industry, NGOs and government departments can play an important role. Education and training should focus on marketing, financial management, literacy and foreign languages and be a high priority when supporting income generating activities of women and women's co-operatives. Training should also provided to promote activities that are indirectly linked to tourism, such as printing, dying and folk-arts. Special training for women might be needed in many cases.

Development of the handicraft industry should form an important part of strategic planning for community participation in tourism, especially the participation of women.

National and local governments, tourism boards, tourism industry and trade unions need to support and strengthen community participation. This should include the scope for opening up new destination areas with the specific aim for promoting tourism where local communities provide most services. Participation of all local stakeholders should include putting in place monitoring and evaluation procedures to create accountability, incl. regarding gender sensitivity.

Systematic processes to promote community participation in tourism should become an important part of all externally aided tourism projects, national tourist policies and strategies and, where relevant, in conservation, forestry and coastal zone management projects.

Different member groups of local communities, eg women, may need specific measures of capacity building for participation. Local Governments, industry, trade unions and NGOs should take such measures, eg working with women's groups - separately, in the beginning - to enable them to articulate and follow-up their interests.

In many cases tourism development could act as a catalyst to initiate a Local Agenda 21 process in a community. Stakeholders should be aware of the importance of LA21 and aim at developing such a process when engaging in tourism development planning and decision-making.

Intergovernmental bodies, national governments and NGOs have an important role to play to further promote LA21 processes in terms of raising awareness, providing financial support and expert advice.

Intergovernmental bodies, governments, tourism industry, trade unions and NGOs should take various measures towards gender sensitisation and raising awareness of gender stereotypes and traditional gender roles, particularly regarding the way they affect women's occupations, hierarchical positions, working hours and wages.

Awareness raising campaigns initiated by governments, tourism boards, industry, and NGOs should aim at creating a better understanding of different cultures among consumers; school curricula should address issues of cross-cultural respect, ideally as part of an education for world citizenship.

Women should be encouraged to get involved in independent community based tourism initiatives, through promoting the opportunities, offering advice, contacts and networks, training and education, access to information and access to credit - by national and local governments, trade unions, NGOs and industry collaborating with women's local initiatives. Training and education programmes should aim at encouraging women to move into non-traditional occupations which require more skills and are better paid and at encouraging women to aim at rising into key managerial positions.

Intergovernmental bodies, national governments and NGOs should support networking projects to improve awareness and ability of stakeholders to participate effectively, including using electronic media. However, the problems of reaching hardly reachable communities and groups need to be tackled in collaboration with local government and local NGOs.


Recommendations for Intergovernmental Bodies

UNEP should facilitate a multi-stakeholder working group to assess financial leakages in tourism and promote good practice strategies to maximise linkages into local economies.

UNEP should facilitate a multi-stakeholder working group to review existing instruments of consumer education, promote an effective mix of instruments by publishing the collection and review and disseminate this widely.

UNEP should facilitate the collaboration of all stakeholders in developing a comprehensive methodological framework for collecting and analysing good practice and mechanisms to make them available and disseminate examples and lessons learnt widely.

Intergovernmental bodies as well as governments can play a vital role in minimising the impacts of natural disasters on tourism

National, regional and international networking among women being involved in tourism activities should be built up more effectively and widespread. Intergovernmental bodies and NGOs should facilitate this.

UN Agencies and donors should provide financial resources to conduct necessary research and set up multi-stakeholder advisory bodies in conjunction with research studies. The necessary multi-stakeholder nature of research in this area should be emphasised to ensure methodologies and outcomes will lead to recommendations being adopted by all stakeholders.

The UN Division for Sustainable Development should act as a facilitator in the process of developing indicators of sustainable tourism development and maintenance, based on a common definition of "sustainable tourism".


Recommendations for National and Local Governments and Tourism Boards

National governments should report more comparable, precise and gender disaggregated data about women's employment in tourism to ILO and should, if necessary, receive support to do so.

Governments, through the curricula in their educational institutions, should encourage girls and boys to move into non-traditional occupations.

Government regulation should create effective incentives for employers to take measures towards the advancement of women.

Policy intervention should occur at all levels. If it only exists at the local level access to wider markets might be restricted, whilst if it only exists at the national level it is more likely to miss out smaller scale needs. Tourism boards have a key role to play in facilitating wider access to markets.

National governments should create legislative mandates in favour of the devolution of power to local authorities which can be crucial for the success of community based tourism initiatives.

National and local governments should empower local communities living on and using natural resources as their primary managers.

National governments and intergovernmental bodies should recognise that the demarcation of protected areas produces tourism demand and associated impacts. This needs to be planned and budgeted for.

Policy-makers at the national and local levels should regard conservation of natural resources, sustaining the protected area status of reserves and national parks, which many community based tourism initiatives directly depend upon, as a high priority. In many places, there may be need to change the management objectives of protected areas to make them more accessible for local communities for sustainable use for livelihood purposes.

Governments, employers and workers should take decisions about training in close consultation with each other as the best results from enhancing the education and skill levels of the workforce are achieved through concerted efforts.

Local governments should ensure that feasibility studies looking at the environmental, social and economic impact of tourism development, including the carrying capacity of tourism destinations, are carried out involving all stakeholders prior to further planning and decision-making.

Tourism development should be an integrated part of National Strategies for Sustainable Development. Governments should report on the progress made at the comprehensive review of progress on implementing Agenda 21 in 2002.

Local Governments should make tourism development an integrated part of their Local Agenda 21 processes, explicitly aiming to involve all various member groups of the community. As part of LA21 processes, tourism development should be seen as a major sector of development addressing all issues related to all forms of tourism and their impact. This would ensure that important areas, such as urban planning, would not be sidelined. It also plays a key role in ensuring the links between the local and global levels.

Government departments that deal with tourism and conservation/ forestry/ coastal management/ transport departments and local authorities should become more efficiently engaged as important players at the local level. The capability of these official agencies for facilitating participatory processes needs to be built up. Systems of feed back to enable appropriate policy decisions and strategic planning at higher levels need to be put into place.

Governments of countries of origin should engage in educating tourists about women's rights and how to properly respect them in an inter-cultural context.

National tourism boards should review advertising and marketing regarding the use of stereotypical images of women and aim at portraying the diversity of workers and indigenous women in a realistic manner.


Recommendations for the Tourism Industry

Progress regarding the advancement of women employees needs to be strengthened and spread widely. Companies should share and promote good practice through industry associations such as the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA), the International Hotel Environment Initiative (IHEI), the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), etc.

Employers should set up programmes and schemes encouraging women to move into non-traditional occupations, invest in women's training, appoint them in managerial positions, and re-appoint them after years of less involvement due to family responsibilities.

Employers should set targets for the percentage of women in key management positions. Tourism associations should promote this.

Organisational Codes of Practice should include guidelines of equal opportunities measures and measures for the advancement of women.

The tourism industry should collaborate with local income generating initiatives on the basis of their shared concern about conserving natural resources on which both their market shares depend upon.

Local and national tourist agencies can play an important role in promoting community based tourism initiatives and their products.

To overcome disadvantages for gaining entry into the workforce because of low levels of education in the short term, entry for the local population can be improved by lowering standards for entry and then providing on the job training to compensate for this.

Health and education emerge as important issues of community development perceived by women. This is an area where the hotel owners and tour operators can play an important role.

An effort should be made to channel a growing tourist interest in community development activities for designing and implementing innovative popular destination areas.

The tourism industry and tourism boards should abolish marketing strategies using women's stereotypical images as part of the product.

Employers should review their standards and criteria of employing women and men, and their policies to protect women from sexual objectification and sexual harassment by customers. Employers have a major role to play in applying appropriate and equitable criteria and providing effective protection. Industry associations have a key role to play in promoting standards.

The tourism industry should engage in educating tourists about women's rights and how to properly respect them in an inter-cultural context.

The tourism industry should review advertising and marketing regarding the use of stereotypical images of women and aim at portraying the diversity of workers and indigenous women in a realistic manner.


Recommendations for NGOs

NGOs should support community based tourism initiatives to form associations and collectively assess the markets; provide legal assistance; advice on community based resource management programmes; gender awareness training; assistance with administrative arrangements; scientific assistance in feasibility studies using participatory and action research methods; improve the links between groups.

NGOs should build up their capacity as facilitators and trainers of participatory processes, tourism planning and as social entrepreneurs within the tourist industry.

NGOs at all levels should effectively participate in sharing with all stakeholders experience and knowledge about successful strategies, obstacles and how to overcome them.


The full report also provides recommendations for community based tourism initiatives which aim at replicating the success of the models presented in the report's case studies.


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Contributors                                                             [ Up ]

Editor: Minu Hemmati, UNED-UK Project Co-ordinator

Authors: Harrinet Berhane, Sylvia van der Cammen, Gabriel Canul Chan, Myriam Duc, Sarojinie Ellawela, John Galit, Rosalie Gardiner, Gordon Gislason, Nicole Glur, Lisa Goodson, Beccy Griffiths, Vasanti Gupta, Father Harry Haas, Minu Hemmati, I.A. Agung Mas, Pilar Jufresa, Rebeca Justicia, Gail Lash, Frans de Man, Lara Marsh, Jay Martin, Grizelda Mayo-Anda, Brian McGowan, Carmen Michael, Marilyn Mohan, Janet Momsen, Panache Magazine, Shannon Parsons, Jenny Phillimore, Athanasia Kollia Pistola, Neratzia Alatzia Pistola, Anatoly V. Polyakov, Helen Poulsen, Megan Powell, Martin Prowse, Nina Rao, Abigail Reyes, Maria Roberto Uc Pacheco, Regina Scheyvens, Kishore Shah, Thea Sinclair, Elena A. Sukhoplueva, Shirley Susan, Georgia Valaoras, Sarah Valinsky, Marie-Louise Zimmermann.

Advisory Board
Caroline Ashley, Overseas Development Institute, UK
Christine Beddoe, End Child Prostitution Pornography Trafficking (ECPAT International)
Andrew Blaza, Imperial College, UK
Richard Dewdney, Department for International Development (DfID), UK
Richard Dickinson, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), UK
Felix Dodds, United Nations Environment and Development UK Committee (UNED-UK)
Carolyn Evans, Qantas Australia
Phil Evans, Department for International Development (DfID), UK
Harold Goodwin, Durrell Insitute of Conservation & Ecology, UK
Vasanti Gupta, Insight India
Christina Kamp, TourismWatch, Germany
Christine Pluess, Arbeitskreis Tourismus und Entwicklung (AKTE), Switzerland
Dilys Roe, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UK
Lucien Royer, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
Kishore Shah, Insight India
Thea Sinclair, University of Nottingham, UK
Carolyn Stevens, Qantas Airlines, Australia
Reinhard Stockmann, University of the Saarland, Saarbruecken, Germany
Helen Veitch, End Child Prostitution Pornography Trafficking (ECPAT UK)
Debra Ward, Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), Canada

UNED-UK Volunteer Team: Lara Marsh, Harrinet Berhane, Rosalie Gardiner, Beccy Griffiths, Carmen Michael, Martin Prowse, Sarah Valinsky

Financial Support

Department for International Development, Environment Policy Department, UK
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany


The project could not have been undertaken without the invaluable help of all of the above.


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