With the pandemic having made clear the extent to which women and girls everywhere are disproportionately affected by crisis, UNWTO partnered with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and UN Women to put gender equality at the heart of recovery plans. The Center Stage project was piloted in four countries – Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jordan and Mexico – bringing on board both governments and businesses as well as NGOs and community associations.

As part of the initiative, UNWTO conducted a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism employment. The research found that, between March 2020 and September 2021, women in tourism were:

  • 3% more likely to lose their job, 8% more likely to have a pay cut and 8% more likely to have reduced working hours in Costa Rica.
  • 5% more likely to lose their job, 2% more likely to have reduced working hours and 12% more likely to have a pay cut in the Dominican Republic.
  • 4% more likely to lose their job, 8% less likely to have a pay rise and 20% more likely to pay someone to look after their dependents in Jordan.
  • 3% more likely to lose their job, 8% more likely to have a pay cut and 3% more likely to take time off to care for their dependents in Mexico.

UNWTO’s pioneering ‘Centre Stage’ project was designed to address this, working with 3 governments, 38 businesses and 13 civil society organizations to implement year-long gender action plans.

The project has produced the following results:

  • 702 businesses/entrepreneurs received gender-equality training
  • 712 people received in-person training
  • 526 women received a promotion
  • 100% of participating businesses strengthened sexual harassment prevention
  • 100% of participating businesses committed to ‘equal pay for work of equal value’
  • 1 hour online ‘Gender Equality in Tourism Training’ course on atingi.org
  • Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines for the public sector
  • Gender Inclusive Strategy for tourism businesses
  • An awareness campaign at global scale about gender equality in tourism.
As we rethink the future of tourism, it must be one in which women and men are equally empowered to take the opportunities that the sector’s restart is bringing. The four pilot countries have led the way in putting gender-equality centre stage of their tourism recovery plans and UNWTO is committed to taking this work further and wider. UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili

For more information on the report contact: [email protected].


About UN Tourism

The World Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UN Tourism promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

Our Priorities

Mainstreaming tourism in the global agenda: Advocating the value of tourism as a driver of socio-economic growth and development, its inclusion as a priority in national and international policies and the need to create a level playing field for the sector to develop and prosper.

Promoting sustainable tourism development: Supporting sustainable tourism policies and practices: policies which make optimal use of environmental resources, respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities and provide socio-economic benefits for all.

Fostering knowledge, education and capacity building: Supporting countries to assess and address their needs in education and training, as well as providing networks for knowledge creation and exchange.

Improving tourism competitiveness: Improving UN Tourism Members' competitiveness through knowledge creation and exchange, human resources development and the promotion of excellence in areas such as policy planning, statistics and market trends, sustainable tourism development, marketing and promotion, product development and risk and crisis management.

Advancing tourism's contribution to poverty reduction and development: Maximizing the contribution of tourism to poverty reduction and achieving the SDGs by making tourism work as a tool for development and promoting the inclusion of tourism in the development agenda.

Building partnerships: Engaging with the private sector, regional and local tourism organizations, academia and research institutions, civil society and the UN system to build a more sustainable, responsible and competitive tourism sector.

Our Structure

Members: An intergovernmental organization, UN Tourism has 160 Member States, 6 Associate Members, 2 Observers and over 500 Affiliate Members.

Organs: The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization. The Executive Council take all measures, in consultation with the Secretary-General, for the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the General Assembly and reports to the Assembly.

Secretariat: UN Tourism headquarters are based in Madrid, Spain. The Secretariat is led by the Secretary-General and organized into departments covering issues such as sustainability, education, tourism trends and marketing, sustainable development, statistics and the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), destination management, ethics and risk and crisis management. The Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department carries out development projects in over 100 countries worldwide, while the Regional Departments for Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East serve as the link between UN Tourism and its 160 Member States. The Affiliate Members Department represents UN Tourism's 500 plus Affiliate members.

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