Employment and Decent Work in Tourism — ILO-UN Tourism Joint Project —


Tourism industries are largely labour intensive and provide jobs for many people. They include well trained professionals, but also a large number of workers with difficulties to find a job elsewhere, such as newcomers to the labour market (young people and migrants), women with family responsibilities who can only work part time, and workers with little qualification in general. Tourism provides working people with income and experience, and therefore contributes to their social inclusion and personal development.

On the other hand, the tourism sector suffers from shortage of workers with required minimum qualifications or skills. Because employment and working conditions often do not meet their expectations, people working in tourism tend to look for better jobs elsewhere and may, at the first opportunity, leave to take up more decent work elsewhere.

The world of work in tourism is generally not well-known because reliable data are missing. Only a handful of countries have meaningful statistics on employment in the tourism industries. Contributing to the improvement of methods of statistical data collection and better coverage of persons employed in tourism industries will provide reliable and consistent information on employment, occupational structure, qualifications, skills, working conditions, wages and remuneration, etc.

This is the area where, over the past years, UN Tourism has been cooperating on with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) through an agreement in the area of employment and decent work in tourism. The work is being carried out jointly by the ILO Department of Statistics and the UN Tourism Statistics Department.

​​​​One of the areas covered by the above agreement is the improvement of national methods of data collection of employment in the tourism industries. It is with that objective that the two organisations have undertaken different initiatives: the first of these has been the elaboration of this joint publication: Sources and Methods: Labour Statistics. Employment in the Tourism Industries – Special Edition, which provides methodological descriptions of statistical series on employment, wages and hours of work in the tourism industries derived from various sources, as well as methods used by countries to compute the above variables.

The second of these initiatives is the design of some general orientations, grounded in a detailed questionnaire that builds on the first outcome. The publication Measuring Employment in the Tourism Industries - Guide with Best Practices, provides some examples of best pratices of measuring employment in the tourism industries from countries that have demonstrated capacity to develop a comprehensive set of employment indicators.

The third initiative deals with testing the applicability of the Technical Guide in two case-study countries to better understand which of the set of ILO Decent Work Indicators could be produced in the context of tourism.

Workshops on employment