Cooperation between TUI Germany and GIZ in Tunisia: socially sustainable promotion and development of tourism

Description of measures

Economic integration of women and new quality standards in the tourism industry
Commissioned by: Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)
Overall term: 2012 to 2016

Hotel employee in Tunesia at work


Tourism is an important economic sector in Tunisia. This is predominantly mass beach tourism characterised by the cut-price market. Cultural tourism, on the other hand, remains much less significant. Between 10% and 30% of hotel employees are women. They work mainly in areas such as cleaning, laundry, cooking, reception or wellness services. None of these is well-paid or requires a high level of qualification. In Tunisian society, working in the tourism industry, especially for women, does not have a good reputation. However, hotel managers have come to value the work performed by their female employees.

The political upheavals in the MENA region caused a temporary decline in demand for tourism in Tunisia, but at the same time, the aspirations for democratisation have woken new hopes regarding opportunities for women.


The economic integration of women has improvement, as have their employment opportunities and working conditions. The tourism sector has developed new approaches in the field of cultural tourism.


Federal Minister Niebel with TUI Deutschland GmbH representative

Prompted by the altered political situation in the MENA region, the travel group TUI Germany inquired of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) about the possibilities for cooperation. BMZ therefore commissioned GIZ to prepare a suitable project for the socially sustainable promotion and development of tourism in Tunisia.

The specific partner for TUI is the programme ‘Economic Integration of Women in the MENA region’, which GIZ is likewise supporting on behalf of BMZ. This programme is working to improve conditions for the integration of women in business and the workplace, in the four countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

The cooperation agreement between TUI and GIZ involves a three-pronged approach.

  1. Promotion of Tunisian handicrafts at a selected location, with product and market development, and the inclusion of an artisans’ initiative among the tourist trips offered by TUI – the incomes of women who produce handicrafts in rural areas should improve, and the range of products should expand in terms of quality and variety.
  2. Vocational training initiatives as well as awareness raising among the managers of larger hotels regarding aspects of corporate social responsibility and equal opportunities; support to the managers for the application of the knowledge they have acquired – this should improve the working conditions and climate for women employed in hotels.
  3. Revising the educational content and curricula used in hotel management schools, and promoting the vocational qualification of hotel staff, especially women – here, women’s access to professional training in the tourism sector should improve, more young women will enter the tourism sector, and women will become empowered to take on skilled jobs.
Artfully designed house entrance in Tunisia

All these activities are accompanied by effective public relations measures. The initiative plans to cooperate with a large number of stakeholders, such as local hotels, hotel management schools, government authorities and employers’ associations. These include the Tunisian hotel federation ‘Féderation Tunisienne de l’Hôtellerie’ (FTH).

The measures are financed equally by BMZ and TUI.

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