Tourism As an Engine of Gender-Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Bolivia. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism was one of the most dynamic sectors in Bolivia, with an annual growth rate more than double the rate of the country’s overall GDP growth. By 2019, international tourism had become the fourth most important export product in the country. It has generated more jobs than the mining and natural gas industries combined. However, while more than 75% of the population employed in tourism are women, the jobs in which women are employed are more precarious than those of men, and women are underrepresented in tourism enterprise leadership. The COVID-19 pandemic struck the tourism industry severely. This project proposes to foster sustainable tourism for a low-carbon transition, women’s economic empowerment, and the involvement of local communities in recovery in Bolivia. 

The project will provide empirical evidence to guide public and private investment in the tourism sector and foster tourism as a key engine of gender-inclusive and sustainable development in Bolivia. The research will explore the potential of the tourism sector for a low-carbon and more inclusive development model for Bolivia. It will dig deeper into how this alternative economic activity may become viable and scalable; identify the main private and public actors; and explore what specific actions should be taken to promote this transition. It will test and explore the impacts of various interventions on women-led businesses in the sector, on the surrounding communities, and on the environment. 

The project will develop a Bolivian Tourism Observatory, ORBITA, which will work at the intersection of the private and public sector, gather data about tourism, promote research, generate evidence about its impact, and build academic-public-private alliances to strategically boost the transition to a more gender-inclusive and sustainable development model for the country. It will test innovations and training for women-led small- and medium-sized businesses and build the capacity for the Observatory to become self-supporting.

For more information, please visit www.orbita.bo