Industry Update
Press Release19 November 2021

UNWTO in Kuala Lumpur: First Regional Conference on Women’s Empowerment in Tourism

UNWTO’s Members from across Asia and the Pacific came together to advance the tourism sector’s contribution to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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United nations World Tourism Organization (WTO)

The UNWTO Regional Conference on the Empowerment of Women in Tourism in Asia and the Pacific – the first event on the topic organized by UNWTO jointly with Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture – brought together more than 500 key virtual participants in addition to around 100 local in-person stakeholders. Alongside UNWTO experts, government policymakers, UN Women representatives, high-level representatives of women’s associations and NGOs, joined leading academics to address some of the key challenges and opportunities for women in tourism in the region.

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In Asia and the Pacific, women make up 53% of the tourism workforce. However, they remain concentrated in lower paid-positions and tens to have poorer working conditions. As in other regions of the world, high-level and leadership positions seem to be the sole prerogative of men. The aim of this conference was to contribute to international efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5) on gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in light of how the pandemic has worsened the socio-economic situation of the female tourism workforce in the region.

In her welcome and opening remarks, H.E. Dato’ Sri Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia reinforced this main objective of the conference and said “As part of efforts to advance a more inclusive recovery for the tourism sector which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and particularly SDG 5 on gender equality, I believe this conference will provide us with deep insights on strategies and the future prospects for women in tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The discussions of the conference focused on the six thematic pillars of UNWTO’s Action Plan on Women in Tourism. These include women’s employment and leadership; entrepreneurship; education and training for the realities of post-COVID19 tourism; and data and statistics for an inclusive recovery. Based on these thematic areas, the conference explored how tourism’s immense potential for advancing women’s economic empowerment can be further enhanced through the implementation of the right recovery policies and strategies.

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About The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations specialized agency fostering tourism as a vehicle for equal, inclusive and sustainable development. Working with its Member States, international organizations and the private sector, UNWTO promotes safe and seamless travel for all. UNWTO also works to make tourism the foundation of trust and international cooperation and a central pillar of recovery. As part of the wider UN system, UNWTO is at the forefront of global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through its ability to create decent jobs, promote equality and preserve natural and cultural heritage.

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