Women taking the lead in tourism

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019

UN Women, in collaboration with United Nations World Tourism Organization, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the World Bank Group and Amadeus, has today released preliminary findings of the Global Report on Women in Tourism, Second Edition.

ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade fair, provided the backdrop to announcing the Global Report. The initial results indicate that across the private and public sectors women are harnessing the potential of tourism to become financially independent, challenge stereotypes and start their own businesses: 

  • The majority of the tourism workforce worldwide is female
  • Tourism offers greater opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship than the wider economy
  • Tourism policies are increasingly addressing gender equality

Research has also shown more and more women are challenging gender stereotypes in the sector. In Morocco, women have been issued tour guide licenses for the first time. An airline in the UK has doubled the number of female pilots they employ. Uganda’s Hotel Owner’s Association is now led by its first female CEO, Jean Byamugisha. 

These are but a few examples which can be found around the world. Together, they add up to a growing trend. 

Technology has also been an important factor for empowerment, providing women with more training opportunities and stimulating entrepreneurship through easier access to the tourism market. 

In the public sphere, policy-makers are waking up to the importance of gender equality in tourism putting measures in place to ensure that women get a fair share of the benefits that tourism can bring. 

Speaking to these findings UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said, “gender equality in tourism must become the norm and not the exception. While the initial research results show that progress has been made, more work must be done to eliminate gender stereotypes and norms that hinder women’s full participation in tourism”. 

She also added that, “Women are not just consumers of tourism; they are also owners of tourism businesses, and custodians of ecotourism. Greater efforts are needed to reflect this visibly through ensuring high-level decision-making positions in the sector. 

UN Women is compiling the second edition of the Global Report on Women in Tourism in collaboration with UNWTO, GIZ, the World Bank Group and Amadeus. The full report will be published in Autumn 2019.

For more information on the report contact: Aparna.mehrotra@unwomen.org