Understanding Refugee Employment in Tourism Social Enterprises: The Case of the Magdas Hotel
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The tourism and hospitality sector has come to rely heavily on immigrants, including displaced people (i.e., refugees), as a significant employee source. While much research has explored the role of immigrants and refugees in the tourism and hospitality sector, fewer studies have considered the tourism social enterprises (TSE) context. This research uses a qualitative case study to better understand refugee employment from the stakeholders' perspective at the Magdas Hotel, a tourism social enterprise in Vienna, Austria. Four groups of 20 stakeholders participated in this study, which included on-site observation and in-depth interviews. This study contributes to the existing tourism and hospitality literature by investigating refugees' employment experiences from a stakeholder perspective, offering a comprehensive analytical approach to explore refugee employment in the context of tourism social enterprises. Also, this research considered the ethics of care approach, which is rooted in feminist theory and utilized in stakeholder theory to understand refugee employment. Thus, this dissertation introduces the social enterprise of Magdas Hotel as a responsible business model that supports human well-being (Boluk et al., 2019). In addition, this study conceptualizes Magdas Hotel as a market-based approach that applies the ethics of care within the tourism sector to approach social issues and build sustainable choices for societies (Higgins-Desbiolles & Monga, 2020). Key findings include: (1) the significance of employment as a major priority in a refugee's life; (2) employment in the hospitality sector is a two-way avenue, refugees require skills to counter labour shortages, while the corporate culture and employment policies need to be flexible and sensitive to refugees’ circumstances; (3) tourism social enterprises could be a starting point for refugee job-seekers aiming to join the hospitality sector; (4) refugee workers can be an asset to their employer in the hospitality sector and create a satisfying tourist experience while building an enhanced business reputation. This study has highlighted that tourism social enterprises provide necessary financial, social, and professional support for refugee workers within the hospitality sector's broader scope. I argue that the findings of this study add to our understanding of this critical and timely topic through the perspectives of various stakeholders. I consider the conclusions of this thesis as an opportunity to improve policy development and implementation based on an enhanced understanding of refugees' employment experiences. Furthermore, this dissertation poses various questions for future research related to refugee employment in the hospitality sector and in regard to tourism social enterprises.
Cite this version of the work
Thabit Alomari (2021). Understanding Refugee Employment in Tourism Social Enterprises: The Case of the Magdas Hotel. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17723