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UNWTO: Guidelines for Businesses to Better Address Needs of Women in Tourism

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently released a new set of guidelines to help both governments and businesses better address the needs of women in the tourism sector.

According to the UNWTO, the guidelines published aim to ensure an inclusive and resilient recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They recognize that, given the disproportionate loss of employment suffered by women, as well as the high proportion of women workers within tourism and their concentration in lower-skilled and lower-paid jobs, plans for the sector’s restart and recovery must address their specific needs.

“The restart of tourism must include everyone and the benefits must be enjoyed by all,” UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said.

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

The guidelines for the public sector provide specific tools to support national, regional, local and other tourism institutions, focusing on policies, programmes and thematic issues in the tourism sector. Meanwhile, the strategy for businesses is intended to support tourism enterprises of all types and sizes to achieve effective and consistent strategies and programmes for gender equality across their operations.

“Tourism has proven itself a true champion of gender equality and these new guidelines will help both governments and businesses harness the sector’s power as a driver of women’s empowerment as the world opens up again,” Pololikashvili added.

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

According to the UNWTO, the gender mainstreaming guidelines continue the organization’s work on women’s empowerment and are in line with a growing trend within tourism to address gender inequalities. The guidelines stand alongside a growing number of similar initiatives such as the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP’s) or the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting scheme.

Moreover, the guidelines provide concrete recommendations for governments working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (particularly Goal 5 – Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment) and the objectives of international women’s rights treaties such as ILO Conventions 100, 111, 156, 183 and 190 or the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The UNWTO’s guidelines were developed with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and UN Women.

Click here for the Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines for the Public Sector in Tourism and here for the Gender-inclusive Strategy for Tourism Businesses.


UNWTO invites all interested stakeholders to join a special webinar (March 16, 15:00 CET), presenting both guidelines with key speakers from the sector. The event will explain what exactly gender mainstreaming is and why it is important in tourism, particularly for the public and private sectors. The webinar will be streamed live the UNWTO YouTube channel.

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