Religious, contextual and media influence: determinants of the representation of female tour guides in travel agencies

Author's Department

English Language Instruction Dept (ELI)

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Mohamed Mousa, Hala Abdelgaffar, Islam Elbayoumi Salem, Ahmed Mohamed Elbaz, Walid Chaouali

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

Publication Date

Winter 1-25-2023




Purpose This study aims to investigate the perceptions of female tour guides’ lower and top levels of management in travel agencies about how misunderstanding Islam and its culture may engender the poor representation of women in the tour guide profession. Design/methodology/approach A qualitative research method is used, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 full-time female tour guides working at several travel agencies in Egypt. Thematic analysis helped extract main ideas from the transcripts. Findings The representation of female tour guides in travel agencies is shaped by the following three determinants: religious (familial obligations and marital status), contextual (nature of tour guide activities, poor representation of women in senior tourism-related jobs, cronyism, sexual harassment and spread of foreign female tour guides) and media influence. Understanding these three factors may enable a more comprehensive representation of female tour guides. Practical implications Female tour guides could work closely with tourism policymakers in Egypt to shape the media messages about them. This might include elaborating on the main challenges faced by female tour guides. Social support from families and friends may allow female tour guides more freedom and empowerment. Originality/value This study contributes by filling a gap in tourism, human resources management and gender studies in which empirical studies on the representation of females in travel agencies have been limited so far.

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