Tourism and Migration

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Growth in migration and tourism are two of the most significant manifestations of globalisation. Migration makes important social and economic contributions to destination countries, culturally enriching their societies, enhancing tourism products and providing labour for the travel, tourism, hospitality and catering sectors.

Migration in itself is also a clear generator of tourism demand, with the increasingly two-way flow of expatriates visiting their countries of origin, and, in turn, their relatives and friends visiting relations based in new host countries.

Migrants’ remittances and income from tourism can be powerful instruments for enhancing tourism-related projects and investments in basic infrastructures at the community level in the countries of origin of expatriates, thereby having a real impact on poverty reduction.

UNWTO Study on Tourism and Migration

The UNWTO Study on Tourism and Migration published in 2009 explores the linkages between migration and tourism in order to assess the impact of migratory flows on tourism, and to investigate the opportunities resulting from the relationship between these two global phenomena. Case studies from selected countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas illustrate these tendencies and findings, forming the basis of the report’s recommendations on possible follow-up actions for relevant tourism stakeholders. Please visit this page or the UNWTO e-library to read the full report.


  • Contribution of MLT/TLM to development and poverty alleviation through remittances, development of SMEs, knowledge transfer, etc.
  • Need for institutional changes to harness economic benefits and improve social rights and inclusion of migrant workers
  • Migrants create new cultural products in developed countries
  • Restrictions on immigration restrict tourism development
  • “Brain drain” and “skill drain”

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