For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"From Liminal Labor to Decent Work: A Human-Centered Perspective on Sustainable Tourism Employment"

by Ioannides, Dimitri; Gyimóthy, Szilvia; James, Laura (2021)


In its sustainable tourism agenda for 2030, the UN World Tourism Organization has embraced three United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. One of these, specifically SDG 8, highlights the need to pursue decent work and growth. Nevertheless, despite the growing recognition of this target and although there is a growing number of writings lamenting the precarity characterizing many tourism-related jobs, the topic of tourism-related work continues to receive sparse attention in the considerable volume of academic literature on tourism and sustainability. This paper attempts to redress this neglect. First, by providing a review of extant studies on tourism labor, we seek to explain why this research lacuna continues to exist. We then examine organizational and technological aspects of tourism governance, which hinder attempts to establish decent work and improve dignity in the tourism industry worldwide. By acknowledging the volatile and liminal status of tourism work and future labor market prospects, we arrive at the following question: what should sustainable tourism work look like? This leads us to suggest that the development of a human-centered research agenda, which focuses on workers’ agency and resources, offers a promising research avenue for expanding on the tourism and sustainability research agenda.


Precarious Work, Seasonal Work, Tourism, Travel, Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Decent Work


Sustainibility, Green Jobs, Gig Work

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