UNWTO puts gender equality at centre of tourism recovery

The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has launched a project called ‘Centre Stage’ which aims to put women’s empowerment at the heart of tourism’s recovery.

Over the course of one year, from November 2021 to November 2022, the project will be piloted with the national tourism administrations of Jordan, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

It is being supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and UN Women.

The project will offer training in six areas: Employment; Entrepreneurship; Education and training; Leadership, policy and decision making; Community and civil society; and Measurement for better policies.

Ten tourism businesses and four community organisations will join the four national tourism administrations to implement the measures.

The UNWTO said women make up 54% of the global tourism workforce but they are often concentrated in low-skilled or informal work and have fewer opportunities for education and career development.

“As a result, women in the sector have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with less access to social protections and a reduced capacity to absorb the economic shock caused by the pandemic,” said the organisation.

• Elsewhere, Equality in Tourism International – a non-profit organisation working to promote gender equality in destinations around the world – has issued a declaration about tourism and gender equality to coincide with the Gender Day on Tuesday (November 9) at the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow.

“During a time when the world’s eyes are on the climate crisis, we want to ensure that gender equality isn’t left out of the conversation,” said a statement from Equality in Tourism International.

The declaration says: “The pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable the tourism industry is and how much worse women are negatively impacted.

“The dominant tourism development model, as an engine of continuous economic growth, has to be questioned.

“We call on tour operators, tourism organisations, the accommodation and transport sectors to ensure that women’s rights and needs are reflected in their participation in the planning and development of mitigating the impacts of climate change and re- orientating tourism.

“Cop26 is an opportunity to come together to plan to redress women’s inequalities, in tourism and beyond.”

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