9:00—10:00 AM ET

Migrant Workers in the Tourism Industry: The Impact of COVID-19

In recent months, governments around the world have closed borders and businesses to combat the spread of COVID-19. While these measures have had the desired effect on our health, they are having a devastating effect on the economy. and the tourism industry most of all. In 2020, the pandemic will cut travel by 25 percent and cost more than 100 million jobs in the travel and tourism sector.

These negative effects are magnified for the millions of migrant workers in the tourism industry, particularly those international migrants conducting low-skilled work in high-income countries. Migrant workers are being laid off or furloughed en masse, asked to take leave, or reduced salaries, affecting not only them as individuals but also their families and countries dependent on remittance flows from abroad to sustain their livelihoods. Moreover, travel restrictions have forced many international migrant workers into limbo, either by causing visa overstays or by preventing migrants from returning to their host countries for work.

How can governments support migrant workers in the tourism industry in the short-term? And how can the tourism industry rebuild in the long-term in a way that is more environmentally sustainable and with fewer work-related abuses? This webinar will bring together experts from across the tourism and migrant worker sectors to discuss these questions, and provide a series of recommendations for the way forward. CGD is hosting this event in conjunction with the release of the upcoming report Migrant Workers in the Tourism Industry: How has COVID-19 Affected Them, and What Does the Future Hold?.


  • Jeff Poole, Senior Vice President – Advocacy, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
  • Helen Dempster, Assistant Director and Senior Associate for Policy Outreach, Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy (MDHP) Program, Center for Global Development (CGD)
  • Christiane Kuptsch, Senior Specialist in Migration Policy, Labour Migration Branch, International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Madhu Rajesh, Director, International Tourism Partnership

Other speakers TBC


•    Elizabeth Becker, Journalist and Author of ‘OVERBOOKED: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism”

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