• Tourism, poverty reduction and gender equality

    Ramesh Tiwari
    October 3, 2013
    Tourism, poverty reduction and gender equality

    GENEVA (ILO News) – Over the past decades, tourism has become a major source of growth and employment around the world and a key driver of poverty reduction. These trends are expected to accelerate during the next decade

    According to the latest ILO data, published in a working paper titled International Perspectives on Women and Work in Hotels, Catering and Tourism, the HCT sector accounts for more than 260 million jobs worldwide. That’s about one in twelve jobs, which together contribute to about 9% of global GDP.

    Tourism also serves as a first entry point to the world of work, especially for women, youth, migrant workers and rural populations in developing and least developed countries (LDCs). In fact, tourism represents 33% of LDC exports and 65% of island LDCs.

    Women make up between 60 to 70% of all workers in the industry. However, their situation is far from ideal as they tend to earn less than men and fewer of them occupy managerial posts.

    Women are also disproportionately represented in lower skills and lower paid jobs, notably housekeeping and some customer contact areas. Men are usually employed as bartenders, porters, gardeners and maintenance, and tend to earn more for work of equal value.

    Informal work is quite common in this sector, especially for female workers. In addition, many tourism companies are small and family enterprises, so the line separating women´s paid and unpaid work is often unclear. Women may contribute to income-generating activities, but they may not receive appropriate remuneration for their work.

    Given the pace of demographic, economic and technological change in many countries and regions, an HCT workforce in which women are represented at all levels should be a major feature over the next decade in most parts of the world.

    Tourism has an inter-sectoral link with other areas of the economy. When tourism begins to take off in certain regions, many other sectors such as utilities and services, construction, agriculture, transport, entertainment and handicrafts also start to grow.

    Being a labour intensive service industry, tourism has the potential to contribute to poverty alleviation through local sourcing and by developing value chains and integrated approaches to sustainable tourism development.

    Besides generating direct employment, HCT has the capacity to make a significant contribution to poverty reduction through a wide range of micro-enterprises that dominate the sector in many countries.

    But in order to turn this into a reality, it is necessary to pursue an agenda promoting Decent Work across the industry to guarantee its future sustainability, competitiveness and productivity.

    The ILO is working with its tripartite constituents to improve working conditions in the sector so as to have an impact on its image and service quality, which is highly dependent on the skills level, professionalism, commitment, loyalty and competencies of its workers.

    Therefore, it is essential to strengthen social dialogue mechanisms that will favour the respect of labour rights, the improvement of working conditions and the ability of companies to better respond to the needs and demands of the labour market.

    The ILO produced a working paper, as well as a Toolkit on Poverty Reduction through Tourism, published in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian and Vietnamese. The toolkit explains how tourism can contribute to local and regional economic development and regional integration.

    Facts and Figures

    In 2012 travel and tourism were estimated to have generated about 9% of global GDP, 5% of total investment and 5% of world exports.

    Tourism exports represent 30% of world exports of commercial services (6% of total exports for goods and services).

    International tourist arrivals increased by an annual average of 4.3% between 2005 and 2010.

    Women represent a majority of the workforce, while half of the HCT workforce is under 25 years of age.

    Globally the sector is highly fragmented, with around 20% of the workforce located within multinational enterprises compared to 80% in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).( Sept.25, 2013 )

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      News Brief

      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

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      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
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      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
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      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
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      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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