The Challenge

Globally, tourism is a key growth sector, accounting for 10% of total employment. With 54% of tourism employees worldwide being women, and a high number of WSMEs operating in this sector, tourism has tremendous potential to contribute to women’s economic empowerment.

Across economies, women-owned enterprises in tourism face more growth obstacles than their male counterparts such as lower access to finance and capital, and restrictive legal and cultural barriers. To date, little research exists on what can be done to specifically help women-owned businesses in tourism succeed.

Joining Forces

WeTour is a We-Fi program focused on the tourism industry, which provides market intelligence on WSMEs operating in the sector in Ghana and Sierra Leone. As a part of this program, a sector-wide survey was implemented to analyze the growth barriers faced by tourism-focused SMEs. The results of this survey contributed to the second edition of The Global Report on Women and Tourism, 2019, published by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in partnership with UN Women, GIZ, and Amadeus.


The project generates information on SMEs in tourism in Ghana and Sierra Leone and in particular, on the challenges facing WSMEs operating in this sector. Results will be used to inform the design of World Bank and IFC-funded SME support services in both countries.

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