The travel and tourism industry is responsible for nearly 300 million jobs worldwide. People across the globe, either directly or indirectly, depend on the industry for their livelihood. At the most grassroots level, the tourism industry employs individuals who do not have access to jobs and a means of sustained livelihood. A lot of tourism relies on low-skilled jobs, this, in turn, helps open doors for many individuals who may not have the required qualifications to apply for other jobs.
How the tourism industry provides jobs to the marginalized
The tourism industry operates on multiple levels. When tourists plan their vacations, they seek out different kinds of experiences. Therefore, at every step, from tour guides to people employed at hotels, there is a wide range of jobs available. Further, rural areas have become areas of interest for tourists over the years. In these areas, the setting up of local shops and finding people to tend to tourist areas generates more jobs. These jobs open up several opportunities for people belonging to these areas, who may otherwise not have the kind of access they need.
Additionally, the travel and tourism industry also employs a huge proportion of the younger generation. In economies where the youth are much higher in number but are still unemployed, the jobs provided by the tourism industry can come as a sigh of relief.
Smaller countries rely solely on tourism for jobs
Smaller nations rely heavily on tourism. In the island nation of Maldives, for example, tourism accounts for 40% of all employment. In other economically backward countries like Seychelles, Cape Verde, Cambodia, travel and tourism is instrumental in job creation for thousands of individuals. For a country like Bhutan, the number of tourists is steadily increasing. This has directly led to the creation of nearly 30,000 jobs.
In such countries, it is important for the government to work with local authorities to ensure that people are benefited from the spike in tourism. If overseen accurately, such countries can continue to prosper with tourism as their main source of income and livelihood.
Women are employed in higher proportions
Around the world, women have been continually discriminated in the workplace. The job opportunities presented to women are far less than those offered to their male counterparts. In recent times, though things have begun to slowly change, the gender disparity in the workplace is still very prominent.
However, in the travel and tourism industry things are markedly different. Women are employed in a much higher proportion according to research. In the hotel sector, women make up 60% of the labour force. In countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, more than half of tourism businesses are run by women. In Latin America, jobs available for women follow a similar trajectory. Women occupy administrative and management roles across the tourism sector.
The travel and tourism industry is undoubtedly changing the landscape of job opportunities for several countries. To further encourage more jobs, governments and tour operators should work together to ‘go local’. By encouraging indigenous communities to offer their unique experiences to tourists, it will continue opening up more jobs.
Governments should also work on improving infrastructure that will directly encourage more tourists to visit a destination thereby helping locals to maintain their businesses related to the industry. The travel and tourism industry has the ability to bring about large-scale social change and development and must continue to tap into this potential and empower thousands of people.