Panel Discussion at ITB Convention 2022

The Forgotten Majority – Human rights risks for workers in the informal tourism sector

Paneldiskussion Informeller Sektor ITB 2022

Workers in the informal economy are a crucial element of tourism everywhere. Torn between entrepreneurial opportunities and the risk of exploitation, they make up a majority of tourism employment. Their potential to contribute to sustainable destination development is largely overseen. This also applies to the obligation of governments to protect people in the informal sector and of companies to respect the rights of these people. 

Tourism Watch at Brot für die Welt together with Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism, Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung and ECPAT Germany presented a panel at ITB 2022 to discuss the implications of COVID-19 on the growth of the informal sector and human rights of workers in the informal economy.

People in the informal economy were hit first and hardest by the impacts of COVID-19. Video testimonies of two female tourguides from Bolivia and Brazil confirm the difficult situation they went through. As a result, workers including women left the sector and started to look  for other income opportunities to survive.

On the other hand, the gig-economy continues to gain importance in tourism, so that new people are entering the sector (e.g. free tour guides, free drivers and others). Companies need to act with due diligence to fulfil their responsibilities to respect human rights, instead of benefitting from opaque business models, that increase the vulnerability of workers. 


Agnes Rodriguez –AGUICAT – Association of Tour Guides in Catalonia

Graeme Jackson –Travel Foundation

Antje Monshausen – Tourism Watch at Brot für die Welt

Moderated by Katharina Stechl – Roundtable Human Rights in Tourism


Short video presentations by:

Claudia Mitteneder – Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung e.V.

Irit Cudek - Tourguide, Brazil

Gloria Maldonado – Tourguide, Bolivia

Anusorn Sribunma, Chonrudee Fisher and Napason Wetchapram– PATA Thailand

Milena Grillo - ECPAT Costa Rica