Inspiring ways tourism is helping refugees, and how it could do more

A Migrantour guide showing visitors around Petit Mali in Paris
A Migrantour guide showing visitors around Petit Mali in Paris

If you only read some of the more reactionary publications around, you might be mistaken for thinking that tourism’s response to the growing refugee crisis was mostly anger at having holidays spoiled. “Holidaymaker misery” ran one headline. “British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays ‘awkward’ in Kos” announced another.

But if you look beyond the bile there are some truly inspiring stories that deserve to be circulated and replicated far more.

In Brief
  • An initiative started by travel agents including the Dutch operator Jonas Madsen is granting tourists visiting Greek islands such as Kos and Lesbos an extra 20kg of free luggage if they use it to take out much needed supplies to the refugees arriving at the same islands that they are holidaying on.
  • At the recently opened Magdas hotel in Vienna almost all the staff, ranging from receptionists to waiters – are refugees. In all there are refugees from 11 countries working in the hotel, which also reserves two suites at the hotel for asylum-seekers under the age of 18 living in Austria without family.
  • Over the last 24 months, Migrantour has been creating a European network promoting guided walks led by citizens from migrant backgrounds, designed to promote intercultural diversity and to provide an added source of income for disadvantaged migrants.
In Depth
In the Future
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

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