Employment Experience of Immigrant Workers in Tourism


  • Alja Žigo
  • Janja Gabruč
  • Emil Juvan


This research explores the experience of immigrants employed in tourism in Slovenia. Four main areas were studied: (1) formal regulation of working and living, (2) health and social care, (3) job satisfaction, and (4) integration into the Slovenian environment. The causes for this research were recent stories in various media regarding foreign workers in Slovenian economy and little to no research studies in the field of tourism. The idea of the article was to demonstrate the employment of labour migrants’ experiences in tourism and to make proposals to improve the employment experience in the future. We started out by studying the existing theory, and then performed qualitative research, in which the employment experiences of four immigrants was studied in the previously mentioned four identified areas. Interviews were carried out with immigrants from different countries and of different professions, and were later evaluated with content analysis. The results of the study show that the employment experience of immigrants employed in tourism in Slovenia is both positive and negative, as there were positive and negative factors of experience identified in all areas of research. We do not want to give a generalised assessment of the experience, but rather show certain views and experiences; based on that, we can learn. The results do not apply to the entire population, but with them we present the diversity of the subject. The greatest limitation while researching was finding participants. Initially, proposals for improvement are given on three levels; government, employer, and society. The main improvement should be the better flow of information, for which we suggest transferring more information online. Slovene society should be striving for tolerance so that foreigners would feel more welcomed.


Baum, T. (2015). Human resources in tourism: Still waiting for change? A 2015 reprise. Tourism Management, 50, 204–212.

Bešter, R. (2003). Migracijska politika Slovenije in eu: primerjava zakonodaje. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Mirovni inštitut.

Bešter, R. (2007). Integracija in model integracijske politike. In M. Komac (Ed.), Priseljenci: študije o priseljevanju in vključevanju v slovensko družbo (pp. 105–134). Ljubljana, Slovenia: Inštitut za narodnostna vprašanja.

Bofulin, M., & Bešter, R. (2010). Enako zdravstvo za vse? Imigranti v slovenskem zdravstvenem sistemu. In M. Medvešek & R. Bešter (Ed.), Državljani tretjih držav ali tretjerazredni državljani? Integracija državljanov tretjih držav v Sloveniji (pp. 270–311). Ljubljana, Slovenia: Inštitut za narodnostna vprašanja.

Brovč, M., Ahčin, J., Šlajpah, M., & Rotar Pavlič, D. (2009). Ekonomski imigranti v Sloveniji in njihova stališča o boleznih – kvalitativna raziskava. Zdravstveno varstvo, 48(1), 26–32.

Cetina, I., & Pokrivač, D. (2014). Vključevanje v slovensko družbo: informacije za tujce. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Ministrstvo za notranje zadeve Republike Slovenije.

Devine, F., Baum, T., Hearns, N., & Devine, A. (2007). Cultural diversity in hospitality work: The Northern Ireland experience. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(2), 333–349.

Dugguh, S. I., & Dennis, A. (2014). Job satisfaction theories: Traceability to employee performance in organizations. Journal of Business and Management, 16(5), 11–18.

Feng, F., & Pearson, T. E. (1999). Hotel expatriate managers in China: Selection criteria, important skills and knowledge, repatriation concerns, and causes of failure. Hospitality Management, 18, 309–321.

Hancova, R., Beehr, T. A., & Christiansen, N. D. (2003). Antecedents and consequences of employees adjustment to overseas assigment: A meta-analytic review. Applied Psychology on International Review, 52(2), 213–236.

International Organization for Migrations. (2011). Glossary on Migration. International Migration Law, No. 25.

Irimias, A., & Michalko, G. (2016). Hosting while being hosted: A perspective of Hungarian migrant hospitality workers in London, uk. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 16(2), 172–183.

Janta, H., Brown, L., Lugosi, P., & Ladkin, A. (2011). Migrant relationships and tourism employment. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(4), 1322–1343.

Janta, H., Ladkin, A., Brown, L., & Lugosi, P. (2011). Employment experiences of Polish migrant workers in the uk hospitality sector. Tourism Management, 32(5), 1006–1019.

Joppe, M. (2012). Migrant workers: Challenges and opportunities in addressing tourism labour shortages. Tourism Management, 33(3), 662–671.

Kralj, A. (2008). Nepovabljeni: globalizacija, nacionalizem in migracije. Koper, Slovenia: Annales.

Lipovec Čebron, U. (2010). Slepa pega evropskega zdravstva. In K. Medica, G. Lukić, & M. Bufon (Ed.), Migranti v Sloveniji – med integracijo in alienacijo (pp. 57–81). Koper, Slovenia: Annales.

Lukšič-Hacin, M. (1995). Ko tujina postane dom: resonalizacija in narodna identiteta pri slovenskih izseljencih. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Znanstveno in publicistično središče.

Lundberg, C., Gudmundson, A., & Andersson, T. D. (2009). Herzberg’s Two Factor theory of work motivation tested empirically on seasonal workers in hospitality and tourism. Tourism Management, 30(6), 890–899.

Lyon, A., & Sulcova, D. (2009). Hotel employer’s perceptions of employing eastern european workers: A case study of Cheshire, uk. Tourism, Culture & Communication, 9(1–1), 17–28.

Mathieu, J. E., & Zajac, D. M. (1990). A review and metaanalysis of the antecedents, correlates and consequences of organizational commitment. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 171–194.

Medica, K., Lukić, G., & Kralj, A. (2011). Delovne in življenjske razmere delavcev migrantov v Sloveniji (Report). Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče Koper, Koper, Slovenia.

Ministrstvo za delo, družino, socialne zadeve in enake možnosti. (2010). Strategija ekonomskih migracij za obdobje od 2010 do 2020. Retrieved from http://www.mddsz.gov.si/fileadmin/mddsz.gov.si/pageuploads/dokumenti__pdf/Strategija_ekonomskih_migracij-2010-2020.pdf

Oštir, N. (2012). Tujec na delu v Sloveniji: delovne in življenjske razmere delavcev migrantov v Posavju (Unpublished diploma thesis). University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Požar, U. (2010). Težave delavcev migrantov v Sloveniji (Unpublished diploma thesis). University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia.

Romzek, B. S. (1989). Personal consequences of employee commitment. Academy of Management Journal, 32(3), 649–661.

Silverman, D. (1993). Interpreting qualitative data: Methods for analyzing talk, text and interaction. London, England: Sage.

Trokić, S. (2006). Regionalna integracija imigrantov v eu (Unpublished diploma thesis). University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Vrečar, N. (2007). Integracija kot človekova pravica: prisilni priseljenci iz Bosne in Hercegovine v Sloveniji. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Inštitut za slovensko izseljenstvo zrc sazu.

Wood, R. C. (1992). Working in hotels and catering. London, England: Routledge.

World Tourism Organisation. (2014). Measuring employment in the tourism industries: Guide with best practices. Madrid, Spain: unwto.

Zabukovec, M. (2015, 16 February). Migrantski delavci v Sloveniji: življenje na robu. Delo. Retrieved from http://www.delo.si/ozadja/migrantski-delavci-v-sloveniji-zivljenje-na-robu.html

Zakon o delovnih razmerjih (zdr-1). (2013). Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 21.

Zakon o podaljšanju prehodnega obdobja na področju prostega gibanja državljanov Republike Hrvaške in njihovih družinskih članov (zppopghr). (2015). Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 46.

Zakon o varnosti in zdravju pri delu (zvzd-1). (2011). Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 43.

Zakon o zaposlovanju, samozaposlovanju in delu tujcev (zzsdt). (2015). Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 47.

Zopiatis, A., Constanti, P., & Theocharous, A. (2014). Migrant labor in hospitality: The Cyprus experience. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 37, 111–120.

Zupan, N. (2001). Nagradite uspešne. Ljubljana, Slovenia: gv založba.




How to Cite

Žigo, A., Gabruč, J., & Juvan, E. (2018). Employment Experience of Immigrant Workers in Tourism. Academica Turistica - Tourism and Innovation Journal, 10(2). Retrieved from https://academica.turistica.si/index.php/AT-TIJ/article/view/96



Research Notes