Thus a diaspora comprises migrants and their descendants who maintain a relationship to their country of origin. This broader definition reflects the changing magnitude and nature of global migration. Since 1975, world migration has more than doubled. Today, approximately 3 percent (over 150 million people) of the world’s population are migrants, many of whom have emigrated from a developing country to a developed country. One in ten persons living in a developed country today is a migrant.
Diasporans, individuals living in the diaspora, are able to remain connected to their countries of origin more easily and cheaply than ever before, reinforcing and strengthening their group identity. Innovations in transportation and communication technologies now allow migrants to psychologically and physically connect with their countries of origin in ways that were virtually unimaginable in the past. Declining costs in air and other transportation modes make it easier for immigrants and their descendants to visit their countries of origin. Global media provide immigrants with a constant stream of information about their origin countries. Ethnic bulletin boards, cyber communities, and e-com-merce sites on the Internet offer immigrants an opportunity to socially connect not just with each other but also with family, friends, and other individuals in their countries of origin.
Savvy global marketers are beginning to recognize and unlock the marketing potential of diasporas in several different ways. For example, many diasporans long for the products or services produced in their home countries. On Tulumba’s online marketplace (http://www.tulumba.com), Turkish diasporans can satisfy their craving for Turkish food products, such as simit and mantı; purchase Turkish books, music, and movies; and even acquire “Evil Eye” jewelry. Fast-food giant, Jollibee, often actively selects its overseas locations near high concentrations of Filipino migrants. The company website (http://www.jollibee.com.ph/) describes the importance of Jollibee for overseas Filipinos as “more than home for them. It is a stronghold of heritage and a monument of Filipino victory.”
Thamel.com’s web portal (http://www.Thamel. com) allows Nepalese diasporans to purchase goods and services online from Nepalese suppliers and have them delivered to the homes of friends and family living in Nepal. After a huge success selling more traditional items, such as flowers, cakes, and CDs, the company has expanded its product line to enable Nepalese diasporans to purchase health insurance, arrange for limousine service, finance automobiles and household durables, or pay tuition, utility, or other bills for friends and family in Nepal.
Diasporans often visit friends or family back in their countries of origin or simply travel to learn about their cultural heritage. Wizz Air (http:// wizzair.com/) is a low-cost travel airline targeting the nearly one million Eastern Europeans who have moved to Western European nations since the 2004 EU expansion. Many travel agencies are offering “cultural heritage tours” to diaspora groups. For example, the African American Travel Agency (http://www. africanamericantravelagency.com/) offers educational tours for African Americans who want to “learn about the African presence in Brazil.”
Diasporans are important for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government marketing efforts too. To raise resources for relief efforts following the 2004 Asian tsunami, NGOs actively targeted the Indian, Thai, Indonesian, and Sri Lankan diasporas, and the Armenian government partnered with Armenian diaspora groups around the world. Coptic Orphans (http://www.copticorphans.org/) is an example of an NGO fully supported by a diaspora community. Through its fundraising efforts among Egyptians living in the United States of the Coptic Christian faith, Coptic Orphans provides tuition, tutoring, and other services to Coptic children in Egypt. Numerous governments and diaspora organizations have put on investment-promotion events for diaspora communities living abroad to encourage them to invest in existing companies or start new businesses in their countries of origin.