Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to reveal insights into the relationship between migrant communities and the hospitality industry by examining the case study of Irish migrants into nineteenth century Victoria in Australia. Design/methodology/approach – The paper provides examples of the pattern of engagement with the hospitality industry as well as individual and family stories that highlight how hotel‐keeping and the service of alcohol in Melbourne and regional Victoria in the mid‐to‐late 1800s, was a key element in social improvement and mobility of Irish migrants at that time. Findings – Although the relationship between the English and the Irish in the nineteenth century could be classified as difficult, the tensions that characterised Anglo‐Irish relations in a European context were remarkably absent in colonial Australia. This paper describes how conditions in the colonies when the majority of Irish migrants arrived allowed them to use the hospitality industry to improve their social standing and to consolidate their position in Australian society. Research limitations/implications – Migration presents an interesting interface between host communities and guest migrants, which go to the heart of hospitality. In addition, this case study suggests there are some interesting avenues to be followed by exploring cases of other migrant communities both in their relationships with hosts, but also in the opportunities offered by the hospitality industry for opportunities denied to migrants in wider community. Practical implications – The opportunities offered to migrants in the hospitality industry can provide a useful means of engagement for migrants into host communities through employment, and more importantly through the cultural interface allowed through hospitality enterprises whereby the migrant as guest acts as host to host community members in hospitality entrepreneurship. Originality/value – The paper has value to both practitioners and academics because it provides an example of migrant experiences and the opportunities presented by the hospitality industry for employment, entrepreneurship and ultimately community integration.
International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 14, 2007
Keywords: Hospitality management; Australia; Integration; Migrant workers; Modern history; Communities
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