June 22, 2024

Education, training, and capacity-building programs are necessary to empower women in the informal tourism sector, according to a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

Asian Institute of Management-Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism Research Manager Eylla Laire Gutierrez presented in a webinar the findings of the study “Gendering the Informal Tourism Sector toward Inclusive and Sustainable Growth: The Case Study of Boracay Island” which recognized the vital role of women engaged in tourism.

The study, also authored by PIDS Philippine APEC Study Center Network project development officer Jean Clarisse Carlos and Central Luzon State University-College of Home Science and Industry former Assistant Professor Marie Jel Bautista, suggested that a diverse set of programs in line with entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing, and training of informal women workers is imperative in order for the informal workers to have a stable income while improving the business in the island.

Gutierrez said key informants cited as example programs on financial literacy for women.

“Because these informal workers earn a lot of money, but then these are seasonal. So financial literacy is one of the key aspects that we hope would be provided by the government,” she said in a webinar organized by the PIDS.

The authors conducted key informant interviews with the members of the local government units of the municipality of Malay and the Boracay Island; women informal workers serving in the food and beverages, souvenirs, excursions and services sector in the island; and experts in tourism and informal economy at the national level.

The study said in the future, programs covering financial literacy need to be conducted to assist informal workers in handling their finances.

It suggested additional budgets to further engage and train informal workers.

Gutierrez also cited the establishment of Malay Colleges to create homegrown tourism employees to supply the demands for employment in Boracay Island.

Other recommendations to empower women informal tourism workers include utilizing technology to facilitate sustained and inclusive tourism development, and tailor-fitting of gender and development (GAD) indicators for tourism.

“While there are existing indicators, they are hoping to tailor-fit GAD indicators for tourism so that they could apply it more for monitoring and implementation of certain projects,” Gutierrez said.

“And again they highlighted the importance of community organizing and the involvement of the academe in making sure that these mechanisms are in place to capacitate more women to integrate them to the formal tourism economy.” – Press release