Tourism, poverty reduction and gender equality: ILOListen /
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, says a new report from the International Labor organisation (ILO).
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, as it is called, accounts for more than 260 million jobs worldwide. That's about one in 12 jobs, which together contribute to about 9% of global GDP.
The report says 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.
According to the report, 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.
The ILO report says 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.
The report points out that 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.
And it argues that 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. This is Donn Bobb reporting.