Social distance between residents and international tourists - implications for international business

Sinkovics, R. R. and Penz, E. (2009) Social distance between residents and international tourists - implications for international business. International Business Review, 18(5), pp. 457-469. (doi: 10.1016/j.ibusrev.2009.06.002)

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This paper uses the social distance concept and employs a revised version of Bogardus’ [Bogardus, E. S. (1933b). Social problems and social processes: Selected papers from the proceedings of the American sociological society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press] social-distance scale, to explore cognitive structures of Austrian residents towards Japanese and German tourists. The removal of conflicts between residents and international tourists is vital to improve the economic outcomes of the exchange of individuals from various cultural backgrounds. This can help the tourism sector, which is significant factor in the service industry. Data from a quota-sample of 449 respondents, commenting on everyday life interactions with German and Japanese tourists is used. Similarity analysis methodology is applied to ‘link’ statements and interpret differences in views towards tourist encounters. Austrian residents view tourist groups similar in terms of brief interactions (e.g. when visiting museums or walking in gardens). However, long-term relationships (e.g. kindergarten and schools vs. personal invitation to homes) manifest themselves differently. The cognitive structures of interaction we identify can be seen as conflict-coping strategies. For residents, social distance serves as a means to avoid malfunctioning relationships. In that respect, Austrians are more reluctant to engage in personal interactions with Japanese tourists than with German tourists. The paper concludes with managerial recommendations for international business and tourism managers that are designed to improve social and economic performance of interaction.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Group conflict, international tourism, similarity analysis, social distance.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sinkovics, Professor Rudolf
Authors: Sinkovics, R. R., and Penz, E.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Business Review
ISSN (Online):1873-6149
Published Online:02 July 2009

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