Empowering Women: A Decade of Surging Employment in the Travel & Tourism Sector

The latest Social Impact Report on Travel & Tourism, presented by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, sheds light on a remarkable surge in female employment since 2010.

This research underscores the global Travel & Tourism sector’s pivotal role in providing abundant employment opportunities to women and young individuals worldwide. The findings indicate a substantial increase in the direct employment of women within the sector, soaring from 38.6 million in 2010 to 47.8 million in 2019, marking a noteworthy 24% rise.

The hospitality sector emerges as the primary employer of women in Travel & Tourism, contributing to over half of female employment. Additionally, the report emphasizes the significance of young workers, constituting 15% of all jobs within the sector in both 2010 and 2021. This stands in stark contrast to the decreasing share of young workers in the global workforce, underlining the Travel & Tourism sector’s pivotal role in youth employment, dropping from 16.5% in 2010 to 12.5% in 2021.

H.E Ahmed Al Khateeb, the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, expressed the report’s significance, enabling nations to establish clear objectives for empowering women and engaging youth. He highlighted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s substantial investments aligned with Saudi Vision 2030 goals, resulting in a 64% increase in female labor force participation since 2021.Ms.

Ms. Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, commended the collaboration with the Sustainable Tourism Global Center, emphasizing the report’s unprecedented revelation of the sector’s positive global impact, supporting high-wage jobs and fostering gender equality.

H.E Gloria Guevara, Chief Special Advisor of the Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, lauded the report as a milestone for the global travel and tourism sector, promoting quality employment for both young people and women, aligning with Saudi Vision 2030’s goal of creating a thriving society.

The report provides a comprehensive regional breakdown of employment across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Notably, in 2021, women constituted 39.3% of the Travel & Tourism sector, slightly surpassing the global average of 39.2%. The hospitality sector continued to lead in female employment, accounting for 52% in 2019.

The research also highlights the consistent growth of young people employed directly by the sector, totaling 39.7 million jobs globally in 2019, a 28% increase since 2010. However, the impact of COVID-19 resulted in a 27% drop in youth employment. Asia-Pacific dominated global youth employment, with a growth rate of nearly 37% between 2010 and 2019, outpacing other regions.

In terms of high-wage jobs, the global Travel & Tourism sector witnessed an increase from 29.6% in 2010 to nearly 34% in 2021. Asia-Pacific held the largest share of high-wage jobs (38.7%), followed by Africa (36.2%) and the Americas (30.6%).

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