The tourism labour conundrum: agenda for new research in the geography of hospitality workers | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2042-7913
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7921


In this review, we argue that the study of tourism and hospitality labour geography must be readdressed since it has, with few exceptions, only superficially been treated within the overall economic geography of tourism. Specifically, this past research has largely evaded the rigorous political economy approach advocated by many commentators over the last two decades. The resurrection of the labour theme is especially important since the tourism and hospitality sector is advocated as a significant job generator in many regions worldwide. However, jobs in this industry are often low paid, low skilled, temporary and/or part-time. These include the numerous lower-end employment positions within the hospitality sector where limited training appears to be the norm and long-term career opportunities are few. The hospitality workforce at this lower tier of the employment spectrum predominately consists of women, immigrants and young people. We argue that these individuals’ work is first and foremost reproductive; in other words, these hospitality workers’ tasks are associated with the housewife’s unpaid tasks within the home. Furthermore, staff turnover in this sector is notoriously high. Taken together, this leads us to suggest a focus on the socio-spatial labour mobility and the division of labour from an intersectional perspective (sex, race and class) in an attempt to better understand the complex relations and processes at work expressed in a tourism and hospitality labour geography.


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  • Article Type: Article
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