Communicating Responsibly with the Global Tourist

Communicating Responsibly with the Global Tourist

Catalina Mueller (Brindusoiu) (Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9761-4.ch011
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This chapter is meant to give a glimpse into the challenges of communicating with foreign tourists. Since people travel nowadays more than ever, having hosts that are prepared for a quality intercultural interaction becomes of utmost importance. Starting with clarifications regarding the global tourist and the global tourist village, the section further discusses the basics of communicating with tourists and how responsibility translates to guest-host interaction. Culture as a potential barrier in communication occupies a central place.
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Stephan is a young entrepreneur that plans to open his own business in tourism as soon as he graduates. He specifically enrolled in a master program on international tourism in order to gain knowledge about the field and the routine of running a business in this domain.

Some time ago, when coming back from a trip to Berlin, Stephan discovered in the magazine of the airline an interesting article about Plus One Berlin. The concept was completely new to Stephan. He learned that it refers to offering a tourist the opportunity to be “the plus one” of one local which, in Berlin for example, means that the tourist would have a one-off experience of the city life; he would be able to discover a side of it that only locals see and he would also get to choose from a selection of inspiring places to stay in terms of design, architecture and/ or commitment to being green.

Later that week, when browsing the news, Stephan read about a similar concept that originated in USA and was implemented in Cluj, Romania: “dine with a local” (Figure 1). This program involved a short 2-3 hour, one time, interaction between a local resident and a tourist. The local would be able to enjoy a bit of adventure from the comfort of his own home and some extra cash, while the tourist could travel to a home to meet a local, have dinner and benefit therefore from a more meaningful experience.

Figure 1.

Dine with a local

Source: Staicu, 2013

This new information made Stephan wonder: Is there a profile of the global tourist? Are there certain styles of communication that we should be aware of when talking to foreign tourists? How should communication with tourists be approached? What does responsability refer to when interacting with foreign guests? He decided to bring up these topics in the next class discussion.

Reflect: Before reading further about the ideas discussed in the class and the questions that arose, write down your understanding about the global tourist and being responsible when communicating with guests.


The Global Tourist And The Global Village

We have heard many times the word “globalization” and we might already have a good grasp of the idea. If the concept is still fuzzy, we should remember that globalization can be seen, on one hand, as the highest development level of internationalization, serving markets outside home country (Peric, 2005, pp. 33), and on the other hand, as a network of social relationships, “a flow of meanings, people and goods” (Robinson & Picard, 2006, pp. 34). In other words there are two approaches: an economic one that speaks of global markets and highly mobile, transnational capital and labour, and a cultural one which focuses on cultural exchange. Our attention will be focused on the second view, as culture, communication and tourism are closely interconnected. The globalization of tourism has given rise to the global tourist and the global tourist “village” (Peric, 2005).

Reflect: What traits can be used to sketch the profile of the global tourist?

The traits useful in sketching the profile of the global tourist can be divided in two groups (Bowen & Clarke, 2009, pp. 7-8):

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