Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. In many countries, tourism recognised as an engine of development through gaining foreign currency as well as direct and indirect job offers.
Research and studies in this domain shows the different ways in which tourism can contribute to economic growth, poverty reduction, and community development. However, no attention has been paid to the ways in which it is possible to create equal opportunities for both genders, especially in the 3rd developing world.
Women as a part of the tourism domain
Tourism provides opportunities and challenges for gender equality and the empowerment of women in this field. The concerned authorities are interested in trying to establish a quantitative framework that monitors the situation of women who are working in tourism domain around the world (3rd world).
Tourism provides a wide range of income-generating opportunities for women compared to both formal and informal employment. Tourism functions are often flexible and can be implemented in various locations such as the workplace, the community, the family, in addition, tourism creates a wide range of opportunities for women in countries whose governments that are encouraging tourism development.
Tourism also provides better opportunities for women’s participation in the workforce, female entrepreneurship, and female leadership compared to other sectors of the economy. However, women in the field of tourism are still getting insufficient and unfair wages, they do not benefit from this field sufficiently, and they do not receive adequate education in it, and thus they are underrepresented. While tourism offers paths to success in its field. Statistics and field polls reached the following:
- Women make up a large proportion of the workforce in the field of official tourism.
- Women are well represented in jobs at the level of services and clerical work, but they are poorly represented at professional levels directly related to the field of tourism.
- In tourism, women often get 10 to 15 percent less opportunities and wages than their male counterparts.
- Every five tourism ministers have a woman who occupies this position all over the world.
- Private businesses for women occupy a greater percentage in the tourism field compared to other fields that they may enter.
- Women engage in large business and investments in the field of family tourism, and many women possess the skills to do business in the tourism field, and they also possess great information and capabilities.
Employment in the tourism field
In general women are well represented regarding their participation in the formal tourism employment. However, there are still prevailing ideas that women are more qualified than men in terms of office work, and less capable than men regarding working at the professional level, and as a result, their average wages are less than that of men in tourism field.
Tourism provides many chances and opportunities for women to run their own enterprises. Females are likely to be successful businesswomen in the tourism industry than in other sectors.
Education in tourism majors
Despite the existence of very scarce data on the level of education of women who are working in the tourism field, international data on education indicate that the percentage of female graduations in all fields is increasing. However, there is still a shortage of women who are graduated in the tourism field compared to other fields of graduation.
Leadership positions in tourism domain
Tourism provides high leadership opportunities internationally for women, as women occupy ministerial positions in several fields. However, only one woman out of five occupies a ministerial or high-ranking position in tourism domain.
Formal and informal tourism provides many opportunities for women as it helps them reduce poverty, especially in rural and poor communities. The percentage of women “self-employed in tourism field” is much higher than other sectors in all regions, as they may carry out tourism activities at a small level of their own income.
Employment fields for women in tourism industry
- As a tour guide in different museums or tourism companies.
- As a receptionist in hotels or tourist coordination offices.
- As a travel agent or responsible for organising trips, adjusting their dates according to specific timetables, and arranging the necessary reservations.
- As a tour operator that distributes its itineraries, coordination with tourist and entertainment areas, hotels and other tourism related entities.
- As a guide for groups and tourist delegations, dealing with them starting from the moment they leave the hotel until they return.
- As a manager of a hotel or tourism company, which is not only an administrative position, but also must organize strategies for local guests and tourists, as it is a leadership task with great responsibilities.
- As an air hostess, and there are many women who are famous for working in restaurants, whether as a cook, receptionist or customer service.
Women are very interested in tourism out of openness to the world and getting to know other customs, traditions and cultures, and most ideas are limited to seeing women as part of a family when doing tourism, but the fields of tourism have developed and there are tour packages that are prepared for women only, for example:
Since woman fought for their career and dividing their selves between working at home, their family and well as working outside home, which makes women suffer from great pressure during which she needs a period of relaxation, rest and recuperation, so many women have preferred to make tourist trips alone for the purpose of enjoying, relaxing and restoring energy in order to continue life normally.
Medical and beauty tourism
This type of tourism has spread a lot recently, as there are many medical and beauty centres, relaxation and physiotherapy centres that are specialised in providing services to women only, so the interest in this type of tourism increased also the development reached to the plastic surgery, recreation and relaxation centres.
Women have entered the midst of entrepreneurship, being instructed to search for types of tour packages that pertain to their field of work, such as business tourism, real estate and fashion tourism, and there are many of them that will be mentioned in detail in another article.
This type of tourism attracts many women who are interested in learning the customs and traditions of other countries, as well as the cultures and history of women in other countries, so we see that there have been tour packages for women, where a special program is prepared for exploring the food of other countries with the presence of direct programs on how to prepare them, as well as special tourism to learn sewing and handmade embroidery works in which some countries are famous than other countries.
Educational and academic tourism
Women entered the field of study and education outside her country and enrolled in many foreign universities specialized in fields that may not be available in their countries, and many women’s associations that have a relationship with tourism companies are preparing tour packages for women in order to offer them chances for studying and making practical seminars too.
There are many sports and championships that are held for women only, so this type of tourism attracts many women, especially female cheerleaders or young women in a particular sport who are preferring to gain experience from older and more experienced women.
There are many tourism areas in which tour packages for women or groups of women have been launched.
We all know that women excelled in this field and became among the pioneers, leaders, and marches for all stages and steps of the tourism work.
For any enquiry or information please contact the author
Ms. Suhair Khan