Mobile Workers, Mobile Lives: Tourism Workers in London and Lapland

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Saara KOIKKALAINEN , Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
This conference paper focuses on two European tourism destinations that thrive on seasonal labour often performed by circular migrants: London, UK and Lapland, Finland. London is an important urban tourism destination in Europe attracting more than 30 million tourists each year. Lapland is a major tourism destination at a smaller scale:  the land of ice and snow, the aurora borealis and reindeer safaris attracts just below one million tourists each year. While the profiles of these two places are very different, they yet do share important similarities in terms of labour demand. In London the pubs, hotels, shops, and amusement parks rely on seasonal labour, often performed by young people originating from other European countries. In Lapland the hotels, skiing resorts, wilderness safari companies and other tourism-related services also require flexible, seasonal workers who return to their countries of origin or to Southern Finland for the off-season. A look at this unlikely pair of case studies can increase our understanding of the migration – tourism nexus, and provide an insight into the differences between the tourist experience and the mobile worker experience. Drawing from the tourism research and migration research literatures the presentation explores how the experiences of tourists and migrant workers differ from each other. Is working at a tourism destination in fact a form of lifestyle migration? And how do seasonal migrants form workplace communities, develop place attachment, and bond with the local community, if they know that their own stay at the tourism destination is only temporary?