The influence of cultural similarity on tourists' intercultural interaction decisions

Siew Ng

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The thesis suggests that the similarity-attraction hypothesis has potential in the tourism context. The results suggest that extent of cultural similarity between a host and a home culture positively influences people's intention to visit the host destination and also their preferred level of interaction within the host destination. While similarity is unlikely to be the only factor influencing people’s destination choice, it seems to outweigh cultural differences. Perceived cultural similarity was more strongly related to destination choice than were travel experience, uncertainty avoidance, novelty seeking or ethnocentrism. Stressing at least some elements of cultural similarity may increase the effectiveness of tourism destination promotions. The thesis also suggests that the acculturation model has potential in a tourism context. The results suggest the acculturation model is useful in explaining short term interaction strategies in a tourism context. That is, tourists seek different levels of interaction with their home and host cultures within a host destination. Thus, designing tourism itineraries with different level of host cultural involvement and home cultural maintenance may improve tourists' satisfaction with the host destination. It may be appropriate to promote more interactive options, such as bed and breakfasts, farm stays and even home stays with Anglo-Australian families, to German and American tourists visiting Australia. On the other hand, for tourists who come from more culturally distant places, such as China (for Australia), it may be more appropriate to emphasise the availability of Chinese speaking tour guides, Chinese newspapers and TV programs and Chinese food options. Finally, an individual’s values were found to influence the preferred level of interaction within a host culture. Using Schwartz's (1992, 1994) values, the present study found people with high openness to change, low conservation or high self-transcendence were
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


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