How responsible tourism can help development after a crisis.
The cases of women entrepreneurs, from their own voices: women working in responsible tourism have solutions for conflict solving
We will go where women have contributed to bring about resolution in the aftermath of their country’s crisis, and show how responsible tourism projects that employ women can be a tool for development, achieving MDGs.


The stories and the opinions that we collected and we are shortly reporting here, as a first suggestion for an inquiry, make it clear why women choose tourism as a tool of development against conflicts (a war, a natural disaster, a conflict between ethnic groups, an economic crisis, the reintegration of displaced population). Even though there are tens of “normal” responsible tourism awarded and worthy projects, the examination of these “emergencies” and problematic cases (why to make tourism when your country is in danger?), makes the deeply essential needs of development more evident. The key strenght that we found in the projects examined, in order to bring Development with tourism, are: free choice according to capacity and will, open mind to cultures, community participation, social justice desire, managing capacity for the aims.


Experts of disaster management and recovery say: looking for common memories, examining identity, recognizing the other party vulnerability, participation and collaboration, promoting changes such as girl education, are incentives to built capacity in a community emerging from poverty or backwardness. According to Oli Brown (Senior Programme Officer Coordinator, Disasters and Conflicts Subprogramme, UN Environment): <<A period of instability can carry an immensely long legacy in terms of reductions in tourism numbers. In short, I think that tourism can be a route out of crisis, as part of the longer term transition to development (partly with the exeption of environmental disasters)>>. Tourism can support development and also peace, for example, when putting pressure on governments to cease fighting, or it can establish harmonious relationships between citizens , or increasing tolerance and acknowledgement of the rights of others (as in Guatemala, Kashmere, Rwanda, see Note 1). <<One very big example of tourism as an opportunity for peace, is in northern Ireland -according to Rochelle Turner, Research Director at WTTC-. Here, after 30 years of violence, came out that they needed more integration between north and south. The solution has been “Tourism Ireland”, one system for the all Country, sharing trails across borders, information, events, campaigns, special offers. Another case, successful in helping to reintegrate, is the project Peaks of the Balcans, that ideally unified a triangle between Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro with a transnational trail.
Then, one of the drivers of peace is equality between men and women >>


On one thing all the NGOs interviewed for this research agree: “the most durable Projects for Development are based on women’s work and ideas”, “when women have a political say it is better for the conflict resolution”.

It is proved, by projects performances data, that, when women are involved, results are positive and durable, that female entrepreneurs projects are more succesfull and women are more motivated in responsible tourism projects as crisis solution.

Word Bank’s and ILO’s studies demonstrate the positive social results when women are reaching for political participation and leadership and economic resources (note 2) Despite difficulties, in many developing countries, tourism ranks as the first sector for female occupation (ILO) (note 3) Women make up 55.5% of the tourism industry labor force worldwide; are earning 15% less; work at service or clerical level rather than managerial level (for the first time this year in England, more women have been appointed in senior and executive roles) . (Note 5) Daniela Alarcon, from Equality in Tourism, assures that <<Promoting measures to reduce gender inequality in employment in tourism forges the sustainable development of the economy, reduces poverty, improves tourism policy and even the ethics of the sector. It also promotes responsible consumption>>. Equality in Tourism is launching suggestions to the UNWTO report, that fails to grasp the importance of SDG5 for achieving all other development goals; leaves out discussions of political empowerment and broader questions on structural inequalities and – as such – it is not clear how tourism is meant to contribute to achieving SDG5, nor the role of institutions in working toward this; finally, they note that to advance tourism’s contribution to SDG5, dedicated resources are required. (Note 4 )

Roni and Suzan, are “partners cross the front line”: one in Israel, the other in Palestine, witnessing deepening hatred, alienation and racist expressions, they organize “Fair trade fair peace”, the first product line combining their two women artisans cooperatives, Sindyanna of Galilee and Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans. They show how cooperation works on the ground, enabling tangible, positive and productive dialogue between the Arab and Jewish populations, channeling profits for empowering arab women, on the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder.

In the Kayah region of Myanmar, the women of isolated war-torn villages are now welcoming tourists in their land of culture, producing handicrafts and showcasing their rich heritage. The “NTF Inclusive tourism on Kayah State” project is an experiment of the Dutch cooperation. Ohnmar Khin, is a Tour Operator: opening sustainable enterprises during the embargo, she is now launching responsible tourism in formerly isolated areas. In her enterprise women are 75%, with same salaries and most determined.

Lebanese women operate a successful trekking program, Lebanon Mountain Trail, in the fragmented, humanitarian emergency context. Martine Btaich -president of  Lebanon Mountain Trail Association, represent, with local women, the struggle to keep a corridor of sustainable rural guest houses, guides, food heritage, among refugee camps.

In Rwanda, where gorilla safaris are booming, the 40 women of Nyamirambo (many of whom left poor and alone after the genocide 20 years ago) are organizing the “Live Like a Local” tour program in Kigali.
Marie Aimee Mugemi, director of Nyamirambo Women’s Center is managing a Center with free classes in literacy, English, basic computer skills, handicrafts and sewing, trainings on responsible community based tourism. We have 3 different tours to show travelers Kigali’s oldest neighborhoods

Manisha Pande is the founder of Village Ways , the community sustainable tour operator in India and Nepal, where women guides and tourists have worked together to rebuild schools after the earthquake.
Women are significant in the all region, both in normal time and in the emergency: In the ten nights-six days Sailung trekking, one of the many in India and Nepal of the award winner association, guides and hosting ladies are proud to show and share their culture, and now also the new school.

Note 1:
From the “Tourism as a driver of Peace Report” , from World Travel Tourism Council and Institute of Economics and Peace

Note 2:

Global Gender Gap Report

ILO Women and the future of Work

Note 3:
Poverty reduction throught tourism

Note 4

Comment to the UNWTO Discussion Paper

Travindy- transforming tourism news. The role of gender equality toward achieving sustanavle tourism

Note 5

A C&M Travel Recruitment study

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