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UN Tourism Calls on Sector to #InvestInWomen

As the world marks International Women’s Day (8 March), the United Nations Specialized Agency celebrates the achievements of women in tourism while highlighting the fact that women remain under represented in leadership positions, face barriers to career progression and have limited access to education and training.


This year’s theme, #InvestInWomen, highlights the need for investment to address the projected annual deficit of USD 360 billion in funding if the world is to achieve the global gender equality goals set under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 5 – to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. 

The benefits of increased investment in women could be huge, with evidence showing that closing gender gaps could boost GDP per capita by 20% and create almost 300 million jobs in the global economy by 2035. 

International Women’s Day provides the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on the progress that has been made and call out the huge investment that is needed for us to reach gender equality in the tourism sector says UN Tourism Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili,. In many countries we are seeing the fruits of previous investment, but more is needed to help unlock new opportunities for economic growth, social inclusion, and sustainable development.”

Supporting Members to take concrete actions

In the week leading up to International Women’s Day, UN Tourism ran a webinar series in different world regions calling on governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and individuals to take concrete actions to invest in women and promote gender equality in the tourism sector. These include: 

  • Implementing policies and initiatives that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in tourism, including equal pay, access to education, training, and leadership opportunities. 
  • Supporting women-owned businesses, enterprises, and initiatives in the tourism value chain. 
  •  Fostering partnerships and collaboration to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in tourism at the local, national, and international levels. 

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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