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Demographic changes and the labour market in the international tourism industry

Baum, Tom (2010) Demographic changes and the labour market in the international tourism industry. In: Tourism and Demography. Goodfellow, Oxford, pp. 1-19. ISBN 9781906884154

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This chapter considers likely impacts of demographic change over the coming two decades on the workforce in the tourism sector. A global assessment of demographic trends to the year 2030 points to a continuing decline in the rate of population growth and a consequent aging workforce, although the pattern of this trend is certainly not even across all regions and countries. The pattern of demographic change, globally and specifically in the context of developed economies, will pose major challenges for all labour markets in both quantative and qualitative terms and is likely to become one of the main areas of resource competition between nations. Tourism is a sector which is and will likely remain highly labour intensive. Tourism has traditionally depended heavily on the engagement of younger workers to meet its requirements of labour intensity. Therefore, the consequences of changing demographic structures, especially in the developed world, are potentially very serious for the sector and its competitiveness. Changing workplace demographics can also have consequences for the delivery of 'authentic' tourism experiences within some locations where people lie at the heart of the tourism marketing offer. Based on available projection and analyses, this chapter assesses the possible and wide-ranging implications of global population change on the tourism sector in the developed world context from a labour market perspective and will propose long-term strategies that could be adopted by policy makers and the industry in response to these implications, drawing on current labour market scenario planning for the tourism sector within the European Union.