Professor of Geography & Tourism: Flows of People and Money


KU Leuven


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Start Date

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

In the Science, Engineering and Technology Group of KU Leuven, Faculty of Science, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Research unit Geography and Tourism, there is a full-time academic vacancy in the area of Flows of People and Money. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with an excellent research record and with educational competence within this field. The main mission of the department is to carry out state-of-the-art scientific research with respect to the functioning of geo- and ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales, including the interaction between humans and the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources. The Research unit Geography and Tourism conducts research and provides academic training in the interrelated fields of society and space, tourism studies, earth surface processes and climate, and education in geosciences. This research unit has systematically been given a high ranking for research and education quality by independent accreditation committees.

The research unit is strong in both tourism studies and socio-economic geography, but aims to expand its expertise on the important issue of mobility of people. How socio-economic geography is changing due to the mobility of people and their associated flows of money, and how does this impact on places at different scales? To answer this question, we need a geographer focusing on the intersection of economic and financial geography on the one hand, and migration and tourism studies on the other. Demographers and urban geographers have studied the effects of (inter)national migration in terms of changing population, urban segregation and socio-spatial inequality more widely defined, but the economic geography of how migration impacts on spatial structures, including management of natural resources, remains underdeveloped. The field of tourism studies on the other hand, also looks at flows of people, but has developed rather separate from migration studies, even though the border between what constitutes migration and what tourism may not always be as clear-cut as they would appear at first sight. Whereas flows of tourists are often seen to initiate flows of money between places, migrants are typically conceptualised as poor groups entering the bottom of the labour, services and housing markets.

Yet migrants are also shifting existing economies of places in various ways and may have deep and long-term effects on the geographical flows of moneys, e.g. through remittances, international travel and international investment flows that are directed at the place of origin. Both tourism and migration initiate flows of money, which have an impact on the spatial structures of geo- and ecosystems and management of natural resources. Natural resources and climate change also impact on the flows of people and their associated flows of money. A geographer studying the entangled flows of people and money will strengthen the Division of Geography & Tourism by focusing on the intersection of migration, tourism and socio-economic geography. Depending on the candidate, they may also strengthen existing research expertise in development, heritage, climate change, financial geography or sustainability.