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Plans will bear little fruit unless those most affected are involved from the start. (Gunn, 1994)
The concept of community participation have been introduced in the tourism development process as a mean to deject unfair decision making, attain more equal distribution of the benefits, and satisfy local community in better ways. As a female dominated industry, tourism is notably an increasingly important source of income and employment for women and so empowerment of women through tourism is essential for the achievement of both transparent and accountable sustainable community development. However, gender gaps are still a reality, and are in some cases growing. Given the importance of gender equality in today’s agenda of several governments and international organizations, it is important that the civil society gets involved in it, because significant changes need to be done at the grassroots.
Despite the value of the recent consideration to the issue of community participation in tourism development, the concept has remained relatively poorly critically analysed from a gender equality perspective. Since research is the key to determining how tourism policy should be shaped and how decisions will affect various tourism development issues, this research will provide valuable information on different ways that tourism policy can foster gender equality in tourism community participation and will facilitate equal participation of men and women in participation in the decision-making process of tourism planning and development.
One promising area of innovation has been the recent development of Information Communication Technologies' (ICTs) and the emerging of the Internet, which has opened up new venues for interaction among governments, organisations and citizens. Development of ICT provides enormous opportunities for women who should be an integral part in the society. Majority of governments and organisations have already developed comprehensive representations on line and have also established platforms for their internal management and collaboration with partners. Online base community participation provides opportunities for exploration, analysis and debate of women’s views. Developing an online active and structured community in which the citizen is actually involved increase the participation and access of women to decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication. Eventually, this study wishes to contribute to the development of policies and projects that could potentially lead to equal participation of men and women in the planning and decision-making process of tourism destinations.