Intercultural Communication within the Tourism Industry: Cultural Differences, Misunderstandings and how to reduce them

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GRIN Verlag, Nov 8, 2010 - Business & Economics - 151 pages
Bachelor Thesis from the year 2010 in the subject Tourism, grade: 2,0, University of Cooperative Education Ravensburg, language: English, abstract: Tourism is the most superficial way of an intercultural encounter1 and one of the biggest industrial sectors in the world. “The WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) estimates that over 230 million jobs in world are supported by the tourism industry, which equates to 8.3 per cent of total global employment, or one in every 12 jobs.”2 Furthermore, the latest statistics from 2008 show that tourism has not reached its peak yet. Over 80 countries earned more than € 642 billion through international tourism in 2008, while in 1990 it had only been € 207 billion.3 Another statistic representing and pointing up the booming tendency is the one showing the international tourist arrivals: while there had only been 25 million arrivals in 1950, the number constantly rose to 922 million in 2008 and by 2020 1.6 billion international tourist arrivals are expected.4 With so many tourists spending time abroad every year it is a logical consequence that different culture groups meet. From time to time, people may spend two weeks in Turkey, Dubai, Cancun or on Bali. This unfortunately might happen without the people even getting the local culture rudimentarily. But if they try to get to know the local culture, difficulties may occur. It is not only the language which is different and causes troubles and misunderstandings in communication; attitudes and the way people think vary greatly. Tourists often do not prepare themselves properly for their stays abroad; just reading a travel guide may not be sufficient at all. When going abroad people need to be aware of different behavioural rules and patterns. But not only tourists have to face this problem. In the tourism industry many people work abroad which not only leads to multicultural teams but also to misunderstandings going back to cultural differences. These groups, both tourists and employees, need to face their upcoming cultural communication challenges. Communication is an important and indispensible commodity; especially in the tourism industry conversations and interpersonal contact are trivial. Imagine a city tour or a checkout without a single word spoken. According to scientific investigations on interpersonal communications in the economy, managers spend 70% of their daily labour time with communicating.5 Due to the increasing internationalisation and globalisation of the tourism industry, the effects of intercultural relations on human resource management need to be taken into consideration.

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