Tourism is a vital sector that significantly contributes to global economic development. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), it accounts for 5% of the global GDP and supports 7% of the global workforce. In the Pacific region, tourism is particularly significant due to the increasing global demand for authentic cultural and natural experiences. Women constitute the majority of the workforce in this sector, making their empowerment crucial for sustainable development. This article aims to highlight the importance of empowering women in tourism and how digitalization can be a game-changer, especially in the Pacific region.
Gender equality is not just a social issue but an economic imperative. Women make up the majority of the tourism workforce worldwide, and their contributions are essential for the sector’s growth. In the Pacific, tourism serves as a key source of income and employment. Therefore, empowering women in this sector can lead to more sustainable and inclusive growth.
Digital investments have the potential to bridge gender gaps in labour market participation rates. Technologies like the Internet, digital platforms, and mobile phones can empower women economically. They offer opportunities for women to generate additional income, expand their employment prospects, and gain access to valuable knowledge. Digital financial services can further increase women’s participation in the financial system, allowing them greater control over their finances. Governments can play a pivotal role in promoting gender equality and digitalization in tourism. Investment in training programs aimed at empowering professionals in the sector is essential. Additionally, a robust legal framework and critical infrastructure can facilitate investment activities. Governments can also offer incentives like tax benefits and grants to attract international and private investments.
The private sector can invest in sustainable practices like energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, and biodiversity conservation. These practices not only make business sense but also contribute to gender equality by creating job opportunities that benefit women. Moreover, marketing and promotion efforts can highlight high-value experiences at natural and cultural sites, which can be particularly advantageous for women entrepreneurs.
Blended finance mechanisms can play a key role in addressing gender inequalities in access to capital. These mechanisms can promote lending to women-led companies and allow women to access capital for small-scale businesses, thereby boosting early-stage companies and job creation.
Empowering women in the tourism sector is essential for sustainable development, especially in the Pacific region where tourism is a significant economic driver. Digitalization offers a pathway to achieve this empowerment by providing women with the tools they need to succeed. Both government and private sector initiatives are crucial in this regard. By focusing on gender equality and leveraging digital technologies, we can ensure a more inclusive and prosperous future for the tourism sector in the Pacific.
- Liaplina, A. & Escalante, K. S., 2022. Closing the Gender Finance Gap Through the Use of Blended Finance. International Finance Corporation World Bank Group.
- Anon., 2009. WTO. World Trade Organisation.
- Anon., 2022. Pacific Perspectives Accelerating Climate Action.
- Biosca, A. B., Cusolito, A. P. & Hill, J., n.d. Financing Business Innovation, s.l.: World Bank Group.
Note: This article is based on research and aims to present a balanced view. It is advisable for readers to conduct their own research for a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.
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