Immigration. Travel. Living.

The impact of immigration on tourism industries

The travel business may feel the effects of immigration, both positively and negatively. Let’s look at how immigration influences the travel business in a few different ways:

Everyone is Welcome signage on the wall.

Positive impacts

Benefits include a rise in demand for tourism-related services, as many immigrants still maintain close ties with people back in their native countries. Because of this, hotels, restaurants, and other tourist sites could see an uptick in business.

Cultural diversity

Immigrants’ wide range of life experiences makes them an asset to the hospitality sector. Tourism and cross-cultural understanding may benefit through their introduction of novel foods, practices, and rituals.

Labor force

Immigration is a viable solution to the shortage of available workers in the hospitality sector. The hospitality business often relies on immigrants to fill positions such as receptionists, tour guides, and wait staff.

To the countries that receive migrants, they bring cultural enrichment, improved tourism products, and much-needed workers in the hospitality, tourism, and food service industries. Both “Tourism-led Migration” (TLM) and “Migration-led Tourism” (MLT) are denoted as two separate ideas.

TLM is a result of the increase in travel and mobility around the world. Youth migration from central Europe to Western Europe’s tourism industry is one such example, as is the influx of male laborers from South Asia to meet the construction demands of the UAE’s tourism boom. Migrant populations include Asian retirees and Western European and North American second-home owners. 

Impact of MLT

It is claimed that in some cases (especially in Central America), ‘home visits’ made by non-resident migrants can increase economic output by as much as 15%. Approaches 70% of total inbound tourism in countries with net emigration. This is because the idea of migration-related tourism is MLT. As a result, MLT has a substantial positive impact on the economies of both the countries of origin and the countries to which migrants return, both during their absence and upon their eventual return, through the creation of new partnerships and the funding of new businesses (including tourism-related ones). Therefore, migration creates investment funds, establishes networks of entrepreneurs, and builds local capacity through cultural exchange and the adoption of business know-how, in addition to generating remittances for subsistence, which is generally considered the main value of migration for origin countries.

Negative consequences

The following are some of the disadvantages of immigration on the tourism industries:

Reduced domestic demand

Lower domestic demand for tourism services may result from increased immigration. Domestic tourism may suffer if immigrants started favoring trips to their own nations over those to their new home.

Competition for jobs

Immigration may also raise competition for hospitality industry jobs by bringing in more applicants. Local workers may see their wages drop and their working conditions deteriorate as a result of this.

Cultural conflicts

Conflicts between cultures can arise when newcomers to a country bring with them practices that are at odds with those of the native population. Because of this, potential visitors may be put off from traveling to certain areas.

Other negative features

However, there are also some negative features and repercussions (both real and perceived) of the relationship between tourism and migration. For example ‘brain drain’ and reduction in tax revenues in origin nations and wage deflation and social friction in destination countries. However, one may argue that these are all possibilities that the public and private sectors should pursue.

Sometimes, there just isn’t enough information to put a price tag on the potential gain. Therefore, there is an immediate need for targeted research and increased data collecting in chosen countries. A longer-term need to improve data capture through the adoption of uniform standards, particularly in regard to VFR tourism and non-resident return visits.

Understanding migration demographics can help shape advertising campaigns in both countries of origin and the final destination. Better planning in sending countries could increase the efficiency of investment and pave the way for the return of talented emigrants. The tourism industry, government coffers, and the fight against poverty in the world’s poorest nations would all benefit from a better understanding of tourism’s labor market gaps in OECD member countries, which could lead to changes in immigration policy and visa arrangements.

Take away

It is difficult to generalize about how immigration will affect the tourist business because so many variables are at play, including the demographics of the immigrant population, the state of the tourism industry in the destination country, and the political and economic situation there.

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