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CROSS-CULTURAL BEHAVIOR IN TOURISM A Dutch Context Dr. Omar Moufakkir Tourism Management Stenden University The Netherlands Helsingborg.

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Presentation on theme: "CROSS-CULTURAL BEHAVIOR IN TOURISM A Dutch Context Dr. Omar Moufakkir Tourism Management Stenden University The Netherlands Helsingborg."— Presentation transcript:

1 CROSS-CULTURAL BEHAVIOR IN TOURISM A Dutch Context Dr. Omar Moufakkir Tourism Management Stenden University The Netherlands Helsingborg

2 Tourism at Borders Physical borders Natural borders Economic borders Cultural borders Geopolitical borders Borders as attractions PERCEPTUAL BORDERS

3 Cross-cultural behavior in tourism One theory which is related to the social contact between people from different cultures is the contact hypothesis The cultural similarity and familiarity facilitates interactions because it reduces uncertainty (…) and anxiety (Reisinger and Turner, 2003) It is argued that those with similar values are perceived more positively than those with dissimilar values (…) Perceived cultural similarity is also positively related to mutual interaction, liking, decrease in social distance, and increase in familiarity between the contact participants(Reisinger and Turner, 2003, p. 50: citing Fetherstone 1980b; and Brower and Campbell, 1976).

4 This hypothesis suggests that contact between people of different cultural backgrounds may result in positive as well as negative outcomes. Accordingly, one theory posits that the closer the culture of the gests is to the hosts the bigger the understanding between the two peoples

5 The primary purpose of this study was to test this theory within a Dutch context. As people prefer to develop social contact with their own national group, or those with a similar background, we posit that the Dutch locals are more likely to develop social contact with German tourists than with Chinese tourists

6 Hofstede's five cross-cultural dimensions power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long term orientation


8 Limitation! Asians were perceived as exotic people who all looked alike. Koreans were mistaken for Japanese, who in turn were taken for Chinese, who in turn were seen as still another nationality. Even though their languages and cultures may be totally different (Kitano: cited in Reisinger and Turner, 2003, p. 170). Most of the time, Asian = CHINESE


10 How do the Dutch locals perceive the German tourists? –Physical appearance (negative) –Behavior(negative) –Language(negative) –Buying behavior (negative) How do the Dutch locals perceive the East-Asian tourists? –Behavior(positive) –Buying behavior (positive) STEREOTYPICAL stereotypes

11 What stereotypes do people hold of the Chinese ?!!!!!

12 China is expected to become the largest tourist destination country and exporter of outbound tourists in the world by Last year the country recorded a boom in outbound travel - more than 31 million went abroad, which almost doubled the 2002 figure of 16 million. The Chinese government has launched a campaign to curb the unsocial behavior of Chinese abroad, which has seriously marred China's international reputation.

13 But with the foreign praise of China's economic achievements come constant complaints about some tourists' uncouth behavior, such as making unnecessary noise in public places, spitting everywhere, and disrespect for queues. Due to increased complaints from both foreigners and the Chinese public, China's travel services have stepped up efforts to reduce the possibility of embarrassments.

14 Panda Xiao Di, a cartoon character who wears sunglasses and carries a travel bag, is the mascot for China's campaign to teach its citizens proper travel etiquette. Wednesday, April 25, (Source: China National Tourism Administration) China campaigns for improved travel behavior

15 When attempting to measure the level of irritation generated by tourist-host contact, Doxey (1975) drew up the following index: 1.The level of euphoria 2.The level of apathySouth-Asian tourists 3.The level of irritation German tourists 4.The level of antagonism 5.The final level

16 A few Insights!! The East-Asian group was perceived in a more positive way than the German group. This may lead to the following theorising: the lesser is the cultural distance between hosts and guests, the lesser the tolerance for perceived misbehavior. The bigger the cultural distance between guests and hosts the fewer the expectations, and the bigger the tolerance of perceived misbehavior. This supports the theory that increasing dissimilarity results in reduction in social barriers (blau, 1977).

17 Again, we might suggest that the more knowledge of a culture the more negative stereotype about that culture, and the lesser the level of tolerance with regards to perceived misconduct. It has been argued that whenever two cultures come into contact, each does not accept everything indiscriminately from the other (Driver, 1961). On the other hand as Knapp (1978) noted, when the social interaction is brief and superficial, the differences are few, and the chance of being rejected is small.

18 1.When the host community does not know much about the culture of the guests, the encounter between host and guest are more likely to be positive (because superficial!!) 2.When the encounter between host and guest is superficial –due to constraints, such as lack of time spent in the community because of length of stay, and lack of communication- that encounter is more likely to be positive.

19 The LOCAL GAZE revisited Superficial encounters are positive !! Language is a problem (not communication!) Stereotypes are pervasive, yet: –People travel and so do stereotypes –Stereotypes travel but not in tourism!

20 Steretypes are functional and serve a purpose, in that they offer an idea about popular beliefs and identify the characteristics of a culture or a group of people. They help to create indicators of peoples attitudes and feelings that are strongly positive or negative, as well as to understand the sources of conflict (Nachbar and Lause 1992; Bar-Tal 1989, 1997; Hewstone 1996; Johnston and Macroe 1994; OConnor 2005).

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