The most effective way to make sure your tourism spending stays in local hands is to support female-led and operated businesses around the globe.
The global tourism sector is valued at USD $7.6 trillion and is the world’s fastest growing industry. Tourism is a powerful tool for female empowerment and job creation. Over half of the tourism workforce are women, but men remain in leadership roles: business owners, tour guides, and transportation operators. A paradigm shift is needed to create opportunities for women to take on senior-level high-paying jobs in the industry which will transform the world.
Putting money directly into a local woman’s hands not only empowers her but will also have a ripple effect on economically empowering her family, community, and beyond. This, in turn, improves the community’s overall wellbeing, health, and education. According to The United Nations, women invest 90 percent of their income into their families and communities — men contribute just 35 percent of their earnings. Women are likely to use the funds to support education, health care, and nutritious meals.
Community Homestay can #doitlocal for genuine cultural experiences that will make a lasting impact on local communities by supporting women entrepreneurs as they travel.
Buy Souvenirs From Women’s Cooperatives
Purchase souvenirs and keepsakes directly from female craftswomen, women’s cooperatives, female-led social enterprises, and charities that provide underserved women vocational training. Buying directly from female artisans channels economic investment into the destination and supports job opportunities for local women.
Handicraft collectives usually offer the most unique items that you’ll fondly cherish once you’ve returned home from your adventure. Many projects are also weaving together social and environmental sustainability by upcycling waste materials. Rehash Trash in Siem Reap, Cambodia, weaves used plastic bags into creative goods such as rugs, coasters, handbags, and more.
Learn How to Cook Traditional Meals with Local Women
A tourism activity that can be enjoyed in most destinations around the world is a local cooking class. In patriarchal countries where gender roles are very traditional, cooking classes may be the only way a local woman can be empowered and employed in the travel industry. Avoid cooking classes in foreign-owned hotels and instead seek out one led by a local women’s empowerment nonprofit such as El Khir in Essaouira, Morocco. Not only will you learn how to make local delicacies and traditional dishes but you’ll also have the chance to get to know local women, their way of life, and have an insight as to how gender roles operate in the place you’re visiting. The women will share with you their ancient recipes and generations of experience in preparing mouth-watering meals.
Book Tours Led by Female Guides
Seek out female-operated tour companies to direct your tourism dollars towards the empowerment of local women. It’s quite rare for women to be forest rangers and tour leaders — but by supporting females in these roles, you can encourage other businesses to place women in these positions. Tour guides have the chance to practice their language skills and potentially make extra earnings through tips.
Local Cambodian female guides from Lavender Jeep Siem Reap show visitors their Khmer villages and heritage from a picture-perfect purple jeep. Meaningful and memorable experiences such as these are transformational. Female-led tours are an intimate way to get to know the locale you’re exploring as you’ll have the unique chance to learn more about the intricacies of local life directly from community members.
Stay in Locally-Owned Homestays
Women can benefit from the tourism industry by opening up their homes up to travelers. Community Homestay makes this possible by empowering local women to launch their own homestays which provides them with the tools for financial freedom. Women who operate homestays have the opportunity to dictate where resources are allocated such as children’s education and local community projects.
Choosing a homestay as your lodging will provide a truly authentic experience when visiting a destination near or far. When staying in a local’s home you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the local way of life. It’s an immersive way to travel if you join the family in their activities such as dinner, community outings, and cultural events.