UNWTO-UN Women Global Report on Women in Tourism

14 03 2011

At ITB in Berlin last week, UNWTO-UN Women presented the official launch of the Global Report on Women in Tourism 2010. The report maps women’s participation in the tourism industruy by focussing on five key areas – employment, entrepreneurship, education, leadership and community.

The launch event involved speakers from UNWTO and UN Women along with prominent female tourism ministers from Jordan and Mexico, specialists in the spheres of gender, development and tourism affairs and notable business women with extensive experience in the sector. The panel discussion provided a forum for discussing the current state and future prospects for women in tourism.

Here is the UN Women press release on the launch event and the full Preliminary Findings document which was presented at the event.

This report marks a first step in gender equality and women’s empowerment being taken seriously by UNWTO. This will need to be closely monitored in order to ensure that the required resources and expertise are dedicated to this theme. Thoughts and opinions on the Preliminary Findings very welcome!

Congratulations to Tourism Concern on its 21st Birthday!

2 12 2010

To celebrate campaigning NGO Tourism Concern’s 21st anniversary, The Independent has published an article on the origins and current campaigns.

Read the full article here.

Responsible Tourism Awards 2010

2 12 2010

This year’s Responsible Tourism Awards were announced at the World Travel Market in London on November 11th to coincide with World Responsible Tourism Day.

The Best Personal Contribution award went to Sam Raphael from Jungle Bay, Dominica:

Sam Raphael’s vision was to use tourism to revitalize a community facing poverty after the demise of the banana industry. In an area devoid of tourism his Jungle Bay resort in Dominica was constructed, opened and is now almost entirely operated by the local community. The trickle-down effect of his efforts are felt far and wide from the farmers who supply the resort with produce to the disabled children cared for at his “House of Hope”, and the youth supported by Sam’s initiative to mentor and promote young entrepreneurs. The philosophy that underpins Jungle Bay is wholly down to the passion and commitment of Sam.’

Best in a Mountain Environment went to Ecosphere, India:

‘Ecosphere is a self-reliant social enterprise where the economic benefits to mountain communities are both clearly demonstrated and transformative. Ecosphere has moved from being donor funded to self-supporting, and 55 out of the 66 villages in the Spiti Valley have seen their incomes rise by up to 50% through Ecosphere’s trekking and homestay initiatives. Their carbon reduction programme is also comprehensive, citing a reduction of 520 tons of C\O2 per year.’

Best for Poverty Reduction was awarded to Nihiwatu, Indonesia:

‘Over 20,000 people living in 400 villages on the Indonesian island of Sumba benefit from Nihiwatu being their neighbour. 500 guests donating $400,000 annually at this remote 14-room resort support the Sumba Foundation in its remarkable work. Malaria has been reduced by 85% with at least 53 lives saved, five clinics looking after 18,000 people have been opened, and specialists have been brought onto the island to perform 263 life changing eye and 168 cleft palate surgeries. 14 primary schools are supported and the foundation has been able to bring clean water to the Sumbanese community as well as start a malnutrition project – with 327 children having benefitted so far.’

Click here for the full list of winners.

Are the Responsible Tourism Awards a progressive approach to monitoring tourism activities?  What levels of transparency are present in the judging process?  It would be interesting to carry out a more extensive analysis of the Awards both in terms of their criteria and impact.


4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations

19 10 2010

The 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations was held in Muscat, Oman on 10‐12 October 2010.  The conference addressed four main themes:

1. Livelihoods, local economic development and human resources to be at the centre of any sustainable tourism strategy. We urge stakeholders to consider the importance of well managed local sourcing mechanisms to spread the benefits of tourism. We recognise the importance of associations and partnerships to achieve this.

2. The conservation and celebration of tangible and intangible heritage management. It is necessary to understand and respect the value systems of local communities. Cultural heritage is at the heart of destinations. This heritage must be represented and interpreted truthfully and marketed with respect.

3. The challenge of a world of finite resources. Actions include legislation, enforcement and compliance monitoring to protect natural and cultural heritage, and reduce the consumption of natural resources such as water and fossil fuels.

4. Responsible destination marketing and management. Marketing should be used to attract tourists who value and respect local communities, natural and cultural heritage of destinations, while management should ensure fulfilling  visitor experiences.

Read the full Conference Statement here

Full Conference Proceedings available here

‘Nature Crime’ – new book on ecotourism and conservation by Network member

12 08 2010

Professor Rosaleen Duffy’s latest book ‘Nature Crime: How We’re Getting Conservation Wrong’ has gained a high level of exposure since its publication in June.

As summarised by the publisher Yale University Press:

‘In this impressively researched, alarming book, Rosaleen Duffy investigates the world of nature conservation, arguing that the West’s attitude to endangered wildlife is shallow, self-contradictory, and ultimately very damaging. Analyzing the workings of the black-market wildlife industry, Duffy points out that illegal trading is often the direct result of Western consumer desires, from coltan for cellular phones to exotic meats sold in London street markets. She looks at the role of ecotourism, showing how Western travelers contribute—often unwittingly—to the destruction of natural environments. Most strikingly, she argues that the imperatives of Western-style conservation often result in serious injustice to local people, who are branded as “problems” and subject to severe restrictions on their way of life and even extrajudicial killings.’

A recent review in The Guardian newspaper develops some of the book’s themes and will hopefully bring Professor Duffy’s arguments to a broader audience.  Feel free to comment on these issues below.

New Book on Tourism and Women Entrepreneurs in Africa

21 07 2010

A recently launched book entitled ‘Nacidas el 8 de marzo: el futuro de África tiene rostro de mujer’ by Ana Bermejillo recounts the experiences of African women tourism entrepreneurs.  The book was funded by the Fundación Banesto’s Sustainable and Responsible Tourism programme, and recounts the individual stories of women who have received funding from the project to set up or expand tourism enterprises.

The project is an interesting example of a private sector foundation’s work dedicated to female tourism entrepreneurs. In order to be considered for funding, businesses have to demonstrate the following features:

Selection criteria:

1. more than 50% of the women are workers, with at least 15% in management roles
2. 50% local ownership
3. 80% local supplies
4. Collaborate in conservation or supportive initiatives
5. Environmentally sustainable

To date, there has been very little research on this project so not much is known so far about its impact on gender relations and other power dynamics within the recipient communities. It would be interesting to follow up on these issues and explore the successes and limitations of the project.  For more detailed information on the project’s activities click here.

Please feel free to discuss your thoughts on the projects in the Comments section below.

Paper on Tourism and Regional Integration

21 07 2010

What are the links between tourism and regional integration in countries that promote tourism as a development strategy?

Using the case of Central America, Lucy Ferguson argues in a recent paper published by the Real Instituto Elcano that tourism has been a regional driver of integration and has far surpassed progress in more socially-based policies such as migration.

She argues that:

‘The high level of coordination between regional and national institutions in the tourism policy-making process helps to embed the particular model of tourism development outlined above. Moreover, these institutional changes driven by tourism development further embed a particular vision of regional integration, and contribute to developing consensus (at least at the policy level) over the current development model across the region. The coherence of the goals of tourism development institutions operating at different levels means that this consensus is able to be maintained despite conflict between different tiers of the tourism industry and ongoing resistance to large-scale tourism projects such as luxury resorts and cruise-ship tourism. The convergence between the particular characteristics of tourism development and the current trajectory of regional integration means that for the time being tourism is likely to continue to be a driver of Central American integration.’

Click here to read the full paper.

Tourism development and women’s lives in Central America

12 03 2010

The  Central America Women’s Network is a London-based organisation that supports, publicises and learns from the struggles of women in Central America in the defence of their rights.  Their latest Briefing Paper – written by Lucy Ferguson – explores the impact of tourism development in Central America on the lives of women in the region.

This is an in-depth discussion of the gender dimensions of tourism development in Central America, exploring the opportunities and constraints that tourism offers to women in the region.  The paper concludes with the following:

‘Overall, I see that tourism has the potential to offer new opportunities and open doors for Central American women. However, the desire to challenge unequal power relations needs to be embedded in policy. Without this, it seems that unfortunately the benefits of tourism will continue to be enjoyed by the few and it will remain unable to be the catalyst for poverty reduction and human development that governments and international organisations assume it to be.’


You can read the full Briefing Paper here.

Publication of Workshop Proceedings

4 03 2010

Here is a full summary of the Workshop Proceedings held in Sheffield on 27th November 2009.

You can also access selected aspects of the Proceedings by theme:

Session 1: Contextualising Tourism within Contemporary Development Debates

Session 2: Tourism’s Potential for Global Development

Session 3: Tourism and Inequality: Gender, ‘Race’ and Environment

Session 4: Alternative Strategies

Summing Up and Next Steps 

Please feel free to add your comments on any of the issues discussed at the Workshop.  More concise summaries of the debates to follow…

Call for Papers

25 02 2010

Please see the following Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Tourism and Hospitality: Planning and Development.  The theme of the issue is ‘The changing paradigms of tourism in international development: Placing the poor first – Trojan Horse or Real Hope?’  For more details please contact andrew.holden@beds.ac.uk or m.novelli@brighton.ac.uk.