“The tourism industry is still thinking in ancient medieval ways. We need to be much more active in empowering those who work in it, particularly those in lower paid positions. This is what people want to see: a sense of ethics and values within tourism. Despite this, the industry remains glacial towards the issue.”
The frustrations but great desires of Gavin Bate, Social Entrepreneur, and Owner of Adventure Alternative were tangible yesterday at the World Travel Market session ‘Women, Human Rights and the Travel Industry. Helping or Hindering the Future of Women?’
Such frustrations were shared by his fellow panellist Tricia Barnett, Director of Equality in Tourism, who spoke of ‘the missing woman in the industry: the invisible chambermaid’, whom most people neither notice nor care about.
In the words of Matthias Leisinger, Vice-President of Corporate Responsibility, Kuoni, “people want a clean room but they don’t care who cleans it”.
Not only are they unnoticed but also “they are usually unaware of their rights or how to advocate for them”, Nora Russell, Marketing Manager Women For Women International, informed us.
Wakey! Wakey! Travel Industry! For how much longer do we need to keep giving you a morning wake-up call?!
Then there's the "Chambermaid," who must be between 25 and 40 and have a "public school" education. She's in charge of tidying the rest of the hotel room. That sounds like a cakewalk compared to the listing for "Delivery Bundle Girl," who delivers and picks up the guests' laundry. Along with the "female" qualification, they were required to have "good feet, eyesight, and a trim figure."