Sustaining precarity : critically examining tourism and employment

Robinson, R. and Martins, A. and Solnet, D. and Baum, T. (2018) Sustaining precarity : critically examining tourism and employment. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. ISSN 0966-9582 (In Press)

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There is consensus that the social, or people, dimension of sustainability including its workforce thematics are neglected in the tourism literature and policy despite its prevalence in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Premised on the understanding that sustainability is inherently set in neo-liberal discourses of progress, development and growth, we set about to investigate tourism’s performance principally relative to SDG, no. 8 (UN, 2015), which calls for 'decent work'. Underpinned by precarity, an emerging sociological concept applied in the workforce context, and adopting critical approaches, this paper presents a review of a sample of industry reports from global, regional and national levels. The study provides evidence that tourism sustains precarity vis-à-vis its employment practices. Our findings suggest that, counter to prevailing sustainability discourse, tourism (employment) sustains deep social cleavages and economic inequalities – a triumvirate of precariousness of work, precariousness at work and subsequent precariousness of life.