Accepted Paper:

Confusion about hosts and guests: migrant workers in Mediterranean tourist destinations  
Ramona Lenz

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to show how migrant workers cope with the peculiarities of working in the tourism sector in southern Europe and how their practices challenge concepts which are based on the assumption of immobile locals on the one hand and mobile tourists or migrants on the other hand.

Paper long abstract:

Greece and Cyprus, which were for a long time considered as countries of emigration have in between become also attractive as immigration or transit countries for migrants from the global East and South. With the beginning of the 1990s the number of immigrants increased rapidly in both countries. Moreover, in the last decades Greece and Cyprus have become popular tourist destinations.

Whereas tourism research, tourism policies and tourist practices in the Mediterranean are mostly based on the concept of travelling tourists versus sedentary locals, I would like to stress that tourism and migration are very much connected, so that we do not only have travellers on the one hand and locals on the other hand but also different kinds of mobile people interacting in tourism, all of them being subjected to the European mobility regime in one way or another.

The presence of all these mobile groups contradicts the dominant notion of authentic, immobile, traditional cultures in the South of Europe, which still shapes tourist expectations and the representation of the Mediterranean in guidebooks and brochures. This dominant representation of Mediterranean countries has consequences for the every day life of migrants who are working in tourism related businesses where the promotion of authenticity and tradition may be part of the job.

On the basis of fieldwork conducted in Crete and Cyprus I would like to show how migrant workers cope with the peculiarities of working in the tourism sector in Southern Europe and how their practices challenge conventional concepts of tourism and migration studies which are based on the assumption of immobile locals on the one hand and mobile tourists or migrants on the other hand.

Panel W094
Migration and cultural change in Europe