While not unique to the travel industry, gender inequality manifests itself in many forms throughout the tourism sector. Despite women comprising the majority of the workforce, making up almost 54 percent of those employed, they typically work in service and clerical jobs while the smaller percentage of men hold management positions. This is a stark contrast considering women employed in the travel industry have the highest purchasing power.
For women with managerial roles, like Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises, working in a male-dominated field each day can be difficult. “If we are in meetings with people from outside our company, no one assumes I am the president and CEO.”
Understanding the root of such discrepancies means looking into the structure and organization of companies in the travel industry. Organizations are not neutrally organized and are instead the “product of history and culture and are influenced by external conditions,” as Ines Claudia Rijo de Carvalho argued in her essay, “Gendering the Tourism Sector: Women Managers’ Experiences in Hotel and Businesses in Portugal.”
Following the World Travel & Tourism Council Summit in 2021, featuring almost 600 international travel leaders and CEOs, attendees created several goals to tackle these issues.
By 2030 private sector signatories agreed to increase female representation in leadership roles within the travel industry by 30–50 percent. They also agreed to increase the number of female corporate executives and board members by a third. AccorHotels became the first and only hotel group to join the HeforShe campaign in 2015, while at Banyan Tree Group, 31 women and 43 men comprise top management. Thirty-two percent of officers on Celebrity Cruises are women, about six times higher than the average.
Michelle Woodley, president, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, noted progressive changes within her company. As a female head of a hospitality brand, Woodley works to ensure women are provided with the same tools to reach managerial positions: “We don’t distinguish excellence by gender, though we realize that diversity of thought and approach is vital to a prosperous workplace. By having both women and men in top management, we receive a valuable mix of perspective in the areas of collaboration, communication style and change management, which helps us overcome barriers and make well-rounded decisions.”
The World Tourism Organization created an action plan to narrow the gap between male and female management roles in the travel sector, listing skills training for women, the implementation of technology and the encouragement of female students in tourism studies as some ways to address this issue.
Travelers can help narrow the gap by joining trips aimed at supporting and connecting women, like Wise Steps Travel’s A Woman’s Journey; supporting women-owned tourism businesses; and visiting websites like fairhotel.org to find out if their travel supports workers and their chance for a better life.
As Lutoff-Perlo noted, “Too many people talk about gender equality, but too few actually achieve it, and too few also create a welcoming and nurturing environment that these women can thrive in. Therein lies the challenge and the opportunity.”
Read This Next
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Austrian Airlines to Bring Back Flying Chefs
Austrian Airlines plans to bring back its Flying Chefs program this summer, returning after a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with its caterer DO & CO, chefs employed by the catering company will offer a complete gourmet experience to passengers traveling in Austrian’s business class on long-haul flights.
Enter to Win $500 and Get Six Months’ Free Access to the New GT App
Now through May 8, sign up for a free six-month trial of the Global Traveler app and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $500 gift card of your choice for Amazon, Apple or American Express.
Bucket List Blooms: Best Places to Witness Spring Blooms
With spring on our doorstep, the world prepares to see bursts of color, from bold bluebells to vibrant cherry blossoms. While every destination welcomes spring, these places not only see beautiful flowers blossom but also celebrate these blooms with festivals and floral-themed offers from local hotels.
eFlyer ReviewsMar 22, 2023
Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf Review
Among the handful of hotels in the area, Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf is the newest. I was excited to check in for a little staycation — and even more excited when I checked into my room just in time to see the sun set over the boats docked in the Potomac River.
Share Your Travel Preferences with Global Traveler in a Short Survey & Win
Learning more about our readers’ travel habits and preferences ensures Global Traveler delivers the content you desire. As the travel industry has adapted and changed over the last few years, it’s more important than ever to connect. To best meet your short- and long-term travel content needs, please help us!
Meadow Homes, New Boutique Vacation Rental Platform in New England, Launches
A new upscale vacation rental platform invites travelers to enjoy boutique properties across New England. Meadow Homes debuts with more than 20 properties in the countryside of upstate New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont, with a keen focus on large, private homes close to popular lake and ski destinations.
Saudi Arabia Launches New Airline: Riyadh Air
eFlyer LeadMar 22, 2023
Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese Offers Unique Photography, Romantic Proposal Experiences
Through tailored experiences, guests at Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese embark on a photo tour around Rome led by Ryan Neeven, the @DoorsofItaly founder, to not only see historical sites, culinary highlights and modern marvels, but also to learn how to professionally capture them.
Europe is more fun with a Portugal Stopover.
DailyMar 21, 2023
Salem, Massachusetts, Announces 2023 Festival Schedule
The town of Salem, Massachusetts, may get a lot of attention come October and Halloween, but this year-round destination offers a full schedule of festivals perfect for any season.