Just as the tourism sector is affected more than others by the current COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable groups within the sector are among the hardest hit.
As laid down in the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, the sector has a duty to promote the rights of the most vulnerable groups such as women, indigenous people and people with disabilities.
“Tourism activities should respect the equality of men and women; they should promote human rights and, more particularly, the individual rights of the most vulnerable groups, notably children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples.”
UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics
Article 5, paragraph 2
When we talk of designing sustainability into tourism recovery programs, we must acknowledge that sustainability cannot be achieved until all vulnerable groups are embraced fully into the new design.
UNWTO has developed the following measures in collaboration with relevant international, national and local partners to help governments and businesses craft an inclusive response to COVID-19, ensuring that no one is left behind.
COVID-19 & WOMEN IN TOURISM
As a sector with a majority female workforce worldwide (54%) and most women in low-skilled or informal work, women will feel the economic shock to tourism caused by COVID-19 quickest and hardest. These women must be included in immediate mitigation measures.
Looking ahead, the recovery of the sector presents a golden opportunity for tourism to build on the huge strides forward it has taken in women’s empowerment by reducing barriers to entry, elevating female employees recovery efforts, increasing protections and reporting how the effects of the pandemic are affecting men and women in tourism differently.
Aid for informal workers: Women’s employment in tourism is dominated by informality. The instability and lack of legal protections inherent to informal employment therefore leave women particularly exposed to the sharp downturn in tourism trade and receipts. Stimulus and aid packages must ensure that people in informal employment are eligible for relief and support measures to avoid adversely disadvantaging the female workforce.