After considering the role of governments in promoting gender equality, day four of #5Questions4Change turns its attention to what tourists themselves can do to challenge gender bias in the tourism industry. We asked our respondents whether they thought that tourists cared about the working conditions of women in the places they visit, as well as to what extent issues such as gender equality figured in tourists’ considerations when deciding where to travel. Overarchingly, while some of the women interviewed stated that tourists did not care, most expressed that tourists were beginning to become more conscious. This demonstrates how tourists are already enacting the sentiment of #ChoosetoChallenge whilst travelling, and will hopefully only continue to do so more in the future.
Do you think tourists care about the conditions of workers in the places they visit?
SHELLEY BRAGG – Co-founder / Director of Development for GOOD Travel, USA & New Zealand @GoodTravel
I truly believe they do. That is part of the reason why we saw the space for GOOD Travel. People want to have a positive impact when they travel, they want to be fair. We also believe that travelers have incredible individual power to bring change to the industry and to increase equality. Through the questions they ask and the types of business they choose, to the way they communicate about their travel experiences, they can bring a shift in perceptions and promote change. There is so much potential but there is still a lack of information out there to help travelers make informed choices. That’s why raising awareness and informing travelers is so important to us at GOOD Travel.
FROSSO BORA – Frosso Bora Ceramics, Rethymno, Crete @FrossoBoraCeramics
Yes, some of the tourists do. Some of the tourists ask if I manageE to make both ends meet, if I am financially comfortable , how much a teacher like me husband earns in Greece. The tourists that I works with are interested in Greece and the local culture; they are even trying to pick up some Greek words. However, there are “mass tourists” that visit Crete and they do not even know where the island is on the map!
CARMEN N. PORTELA – Co-founder, Local Guest. Puerto Rico @LocalGuestGlobal
The travellers that Local Guest have been serving for the last five years understand the importance of doing research before traveling to a destination. This includes workers’ conditions, environmental conservation, sustainability practices, ect. For a long-time, traveling responsibility felt like a niche right now the pandemic has shown that slow travel is the present and future of our industry. I foresee a more informed tourist that cares and passes accountability to operators, properties and tourism stakeholders about fair trade and sustainability practices.
CAITLIN MURRAY – Owner of Purposeful Nomad, USA @purposefulnomad
I think that is really 50/50. You still have a great divide in how tourists choose to spend their tourism dollars and what they care about. Some are completely oblivious and just don’t care what their impact is on the destination they visit. There are some though that do care. Where their dollars are spent is important and ethical travel is important. Ultimately, I do want to believe people care so my duty is to try and lead by example personally and with my business. I think employing locals in all facets of tourism is also key to connecting them to what is happening in that culture. I always encourage my travelers to ask questions- even if they are the hard ones.
PATS KRYSIAK AND LAURA GRIER – Co-Founders of Andeana Hats & Andeana Travel, Peru @andeanahats
Absolutely. Travelers and consumers in general are much more conscious now more than ever. They want to leave a positive impact wherever they go. They want to know and see that they are making a positive direct difference in the communities they visit. Impact travel is the future. At Andeana Hats, we host Women’s Retreat to Peru, so travellers can visit the communities where Andeana Hats are made so they can meet who made their product. We wanted to create an immersive and transparent experience for travelers. Andeana Hats has partnered with the non-profit organization, Awamaki, to create sustainable tours that not only are fun and educational, but provide a positive impact in the Quechua communities that we are working with. Not only are you supporting our artisans through every hat purchase, but by booking one of our private tours to meet these amazing Quechua women you will witness firsthand where your hat comes from while helping to provide income opportunities and eradicate poverty.
To what extent do you think issues, such as gender equality in the workplace, influence the choices made by tourists – such as the choice of airline, hotel, resort, tour company or holiday destination?
JORDAN ASHLEY – Founder of Souljourn Yoga Foundation, USA @SoulJournYoga
I think people rarely care about the impact their travel is going to have aside from being self-serving. However, with that being said I think more and more travel companies are taking it upon themselves to offer experience of international globe trotting that do have more of an impetus behind their itineraries and excursions. There are more female-run tour operators, which is really fantastic to see especially when they engage with ethical practices in the lodging and activities that they provide. “Regenerative travel” has become a buzz phrase and honestly thrown around quite a bit, so I think people should think not only how their trip is going to impact themselves as individuals, but also the people and places who they are going to meet on their journey as well.
IVA SILLA – Owner and author of Secret Zagreb Tours, Croatia @Kazivacica
Similar to my previous answer, I am not sure they influence the choices if the tourists are not informed. Again, raising awareness might change that. Companies and destinations that do promote positive values overall, including gender equality in the workplace, would most likely influence the choices made by at least some tourists. I have to say, though, that I can’t remember any big company or destination that successfully promotes such ideas and incorporates them in its brand.
AISHA NABWANIKA – Tour operator at Baksimba Tours, Uganda @BaksimbaTour
It differs, for the airline, hotel and resort most tourists would love to be in a more female dominant in service because they care more and are give an extra but the rest that is tour company and holiday destination it is the opposite they fell the males have more knowledge and an offer a better service more so in African destinations where tourists all the time think something is going to go wrong at some point.
ILIADA STAVRINIDI – Manager at Kouros Village, a hotel located on Antiparos island, Greece @KourosVillageAntiparos
I think this would not be the first criteria someone would look at when choosing something from the above. However, if all things equal, if one company had a better profile regarding gender equality over the other and made a deal out of it, it could win more customers or gain a more loyal clientele. I can’t recall though in any of my trips to have given this a thought, as there has not really been any mention to it.
We hope you enjoyed the first day of #5Questions4Change, join us throughout the week as we ask women to challenge more aspects of the Tourism Industry. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for updates on #5Questions4Change and more!