KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — More women workers in the tourism sector have been affected by job loss compared to men globally, as more women were involved in the tourism-related industries hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis, according to the International Labour Organisation’s 2020 analysis.

In Malaysia, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the number of women working in the country’s tourism industry dropped more than two per cent to 48.3 per cent in 2020 compared to 50.3 per cent in 2019.

“The tourism-related industries most affected included accommodation and food services, retail and wholesale trade, as well as other services including arts and recreation.”

She said this in a session on the impact of Covid-19 on women in tourism: policies for recovery through a gendered lens session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Regional Conference on the Empowerment of Women in Tourism in Asia and The Pacific, here, today.

Nancy said a recent UN Conference on Trade and Development analysis in 2020 predicted that there would be a significant impact on employment for countries reliant on the contribution of tourism to gross domestic product.

In overcoming these challenges, Nancy said the government of Malaysia has continued to introduce support measures, incentives and various initiatives to accelerate recovery and improve the tourism industry as a whole.

“The overarching framework guiding this is Malaysia’s National Tourism Policy 2020- 2030 which is based on the three pillars of competitiveness, inclusiveness and sustainability, and aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in its six transformation strategies.

“In particular, strategy five is aimed at promoting Sustainable and Responsible Tourism with specific initiatives to benefit women, youth and disadvantaged groups, particularly within the rural communities,” she said.

Nancy said that apart from these targeted initiatives for women and disadvantaged groups, the government’s recently unveiled gender-responsive Budget 2022 was making significant strides towards spurring inclusive recovery to equally benefit women in tourism.

“To date, a total of 6,034 female tourist guides hold an active licence from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia in four categories, namely, City Guide, Nature Guide, Region Specific Tourist Guide and Local Community Host. This figure comprises 35 per cent of Malaysia’s licensed tourist guides totalling 17,067 currently,” she said.

The two-day hybrid event officiated by Nancy has more than 100 participants including high-level officials from the national tourism administrations and women entrepreneurs and representatives from non-governmental organisations. — Bernama