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Alba Sud News | Responsible Tourism


Equality in Tourism and Associates COP26 declaration on gender equality

During a time when the world’s eyes are on the Climate Crisis we want to ensure that Gender Equality isn’t left out of the conversation. Equality in Tourism and other associated organitzations, among them Alba Sud, together we have written a declaration focused on the role of tourism in climate change and the impacts on women.

Photography by: Equality in Tourism, Olivia Jameson.

Equality in Tourism International and its Associates recognise that climate change threatens women and contributes to negative impacts on their lives and livelihoods. The pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable the tourism industry is and how much worse women are negatively impacted. In the context of the essential socio-ecological transition required to save the planet from climate catastrophe, we must rethink tourism and women’s place within it:

  • The dominant tourism development model, as an engine of continuous economic growth, has to be questioned. Tourism produces about 8% of the world’s overall CO2 emissions, and is expected to increase by 4% every year (Nature Climate Change, 2018). Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor, and their livelihoods are very often dependent on the natural resources which are threatened by climate change. A reorientation is therefore vital to reduce negative environmental impacts and tourism’s own contribution to climate change.
  • Investing time and effort in re-promoting the same pre-pandemic tourism model condemns us to more vulnerability, which will affect the most disadvantaged sectors more, where the majority of women are located. To ensure that women’s voices are integrated in important environmental decisions, tourism organisations (public and private sector) should ensure equal representation of women to men in their senior leadership committees. Women leaders and women members on boards cause their companies to be more environmentally sensitive and to operate in a more sustainable way (Kassinis et al., 2016; Shoham et al., 2017).
  • We call on tour operators, tourism organisations, the accommodation and transport sectors to ensure that women’s rights and needs are reflected in their participation in the planning and development of mitigating the impacts of climate change and reorienting tourism. We want to see economic empowerment, improved inclusion and protection for their livelihoods in a collaborative, supportive manner. CoP26 is an opportunity to come together to plan to redress women’s inequalities, in tourism and beyond.


This article was originally published on Equality in Tourism website on November 2021. 

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