ILO Tourism activities in Egypt

The International Labour Organization’s Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People (DJEP) project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada, conducted a series of workshops to promote decent work in the tourism sector in the Red Sea.

The Improving Competitiveness through Tourism workshops comprised of six trainings conducted between March and June 2015, and attended by a total of 119 participants from 52 hotels and resorts from Hurghada. The workshops aimed to introduce the ILO electronic learning tool
that promotes best practice by covering 75 measures of occupational safety and health in the tourism sector. The tool contains 10 interactive learning modules that include wages and benefits, equality and discrimination prevention, and international standards in occupational safety and health. The modules also include broader topics relevant to the tourism industry such as the hospitality industry, globalization and competitiveness, service quality, and smart environmental management.

Following the training, additional follow up sessions were provided to hotels at their premises where the toolkit was very positively received by international hotel general managers working in Hurghada. The managers also expressed interest for the ILO to rollout the training to their hotel chains across the Red Sea Governorate. There are ten such trainings planned to the end of the year.

The Poverty Reduction through Tourism workshop held from 15 - 16 June 2015 was attended by a number of high profile officials including H.E. General Ahmed Abdallah, the Governor of the Red Sea, several representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, the Egyptian Federation of Hotels, the General Trade Union for Tourism Workers in the Red Sea and Wolfgang Weinz, Senior Technical Specialist Tourism of the ILO in Geneva. The workshop was also attended by general managers and training and human resource supervisors from 25 hotels across the Red Sea governorate.

The workshop aimed to present the Poverty Reduction through Tourism toolkit, which was produced by the ILO to assist developing countries to create a sustainable tourism industry and business model based on decent employment. The workshop also aimed to (i) assess the needs of employers and workers in the tourism industry (ii) create social dialogue between workers and employers through working groups; and (iii) stimulate strategies for poverty reduction and ways to increase the competitiveness of the Red Sea tourism industry through decent work.

The key challenges raised by the working groups included the need for improved infrastructure in the governorate, as well as an increase and modernization to technical vocational education and training (TVET) schools. Participants also highlighted the challenges in high unemployment, underemployment and migration of tourism workers from Egypt, as well as the need for strengthening of trade union practices and protection mechanisms for employees working in Egyptian tourism.
The potential opportunities identified in the workshop to increase tourism and enhance the industry in the Red Sea included (i) collaboration with the new Ministry of TVET to transform technical schools into tourism schools and to implement apprenticeship schemes in hotels (ii) enhanced national and international marketing campaigns including the launch of a website and television channel to promote Red Sea tourism; and (iii) direct international flights to and from the Red Sea and a fast speed train between Cairo and Hurghada.

The Create Green Jobs through Green Tourism - The Green Star Hotel Certification Programme for Hotels in the Red Sea conference was held on 16 June 2015 by the DJEP project in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism in celebration of World Earth Day.

The conference brought together several national stakeholders and high-level executives, managers and engineers from hotels and resorts across the Red Sea area, and aimed to create green jobs through green tourism in Egypt’s Red Sea governorate by promoting hotels to join the Green Star Hotel Certification Programme.

The Green Star Hotel Certification Programme was developed under the patronage of the Minister of Tourism as an Egyptian national certification and supports hotels and resorts that are committed to improving their environmental performance, responsibility and social standards.

The key objectives of the Green Star Hotel Certification Programme include (i) significantly improving the environmental landscape of tourism destinations in Egypt (ii) conserving the biodiversity of marine life in all certified Green Star Hotels (iii) reducing hotel energy and water consumption (iv) increasing the use of renewable energy; and (v) ensuring that waste is properly handled and treated.