According to the Regional Report on Women in Tourism in the Middle East released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, even though only one in 10 tourism workers (8 percent) in the Middle East are women, this percentage is steadily increasing. The report highlights the progress that has been made, as well as opportunities to further advance gender equality in the sector. It aims to act as a benchmark for future research into the effects of these policies and to catalyze further work towards gender equality.
On a global level, 54 percent of people employed in tourism are women compared to 39 percent in the broader global economy.
The report shows that even though women have higher rates of tertiary education than men, they are not entering the tourism workforce. Concerns over balancing family and work life and legislative barriers were found to be among the primary contributing factors for this.
The public sector is leading the way for women in leadership roles. Twenty-one percent of tourism ministers in the region are females, compared to 23 percent at a global level.
The report also highlights a rich mosaic of women in senior tourism positions and a raft of policy-level initiatives such as Saudi’s Vision 2030, Egypt’s Tourism Reform Programme and the United Arab Emirates’ Gender Balance Council.