The Effect of Migration on International Tourism Flows: The Role of Linguistic Networks and Common Languages

Luke Emeka Okafor, Usman Khalid, Katarzyna Burzynska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the effect of migration rates on international tourism flows and whether linguistic networks and common languages affect the relationship between migration rates and tourist flows. We utilize the gravity data set consisting of 166 origin and 30 destination countries, over the 1995–2010 period for the empirical analysis. The results show that increased migration rates lead to higher international tourism flows in destination countries. This effect becomes even stronger when the destination country has a larger linguistic network. Migration matters less, however, when a country-pair shares closer linguistic ties. The findings of this study will help to inform public, and tourism industry policies aimed at boosting sustainable tourism flows, especially post COVID-19 pandemic. Targeted immigration policies, such as those that seek to attract foreign workers with specific skill sets, tend to enlarge linguistic networks and contribute to multilingualism, which in turn can boost international tourism flows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)818-836
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • common language index
  • gravity model
  • linguistic networks
  • migration
  • multilingualism
  • tourism flows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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