ABSTRACT

Introduction Tourism, or leisure travel and the industry that serves it, is built on attractions to differences or similarities, and is profoundly gendered for both service providers and tourist consumers (Swain 2002). I focus here primarily on providers, acknowledging that hierarchies of power and synergies of meaning, or interactions of ideas, among tourists and other tourism stakeholders shape these gender landscapes. Tourism is frequently used as an engine for economic development policy in developing countries. As such tourism work has been evoked and critiqued as a harbinger of gender equity, when women’s income earning is equated with empowerment (Ferguson 2011; Tucker and Boonabaana 2012). This chapter interrogates such equations, drawing from global assessments by development agencies, feminist theory in tourism research, and case studies. I will address the proposition that “gender issues and women’s participation must be mainstreamed for sustainable tourism to be a reality.”1 Specifically, it is argued here that cultural landscapes of gender, the systems of ideas about women’s and men’s relative worth, identities, and roles on global and local scales must be understood and negotiated to find a way forward, to enable equitable and sustainable tourism.2