CSD NGO Women's Caucus
Position Papers: Tourism
Ad Hoc Information Multi-Stakeholder Working Group on Sustainable Tourism
The working group will have itís first meeting in January, convened by the World Tourism Organization in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The Womenís Caucus urges the working group to gender-mainstream all its activities of analysis, strategizing, development of policy recommendations and multi-stakeholder collaborative efforts.
With regard to some of the issues which have been identified in the CSD-7 decision as possible priorities for the work of the Working Group, considerable research and data gaps need to be addressed to enable gender-mainstreaming. Making gender disaggregated information available will be crucial: 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.
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. 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.
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 characterized 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.
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.).
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.
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: Promotion of community participation in the tourism industry forms an important part of the slowly evolving trend of building partnerships. 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 cases show how NGOs can play the role of social entrepreneurs in the industry.
Tourism development should be an integrated component of Local Agenda 21 (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.