Perceived Tourist Harassment in Tourist Destinations: A Study of Southern Coastal Belt of Sri Lanka

Perceived Tourist Harassment in Tourist Destinations: A Study of Southern Coastal Belt of Sri Lanka

Shamila Rasanjani Wijesundara (Uva Wellassa University, Sri Lanka) and Athula Gnanapala (Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4787-8.ch019
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Abstract

Tourism is a fast-growing industry in the world. Many developing countries have recognized the economic contribution of the tourism industry towards to country; therefore, it has been included as an integral part of their development strategies. Sri Lanka continues to use tourism as one of the incomes earning strategy of its nation. At present, a huge tourism development is continued while accepting severe issues occurs itself like tourist harassment. The nature of the harassment is different from destination to destination, and this study mainly aims to identify the harassment in Sri Lanka. The study carried out in Southern Coastal Belt, considering foreign tourists as the sample to the study. A pretested questionnaire was distributed among 600 foreigners to collect primary data for the study, and 530 questionnaires were valid for the analysis. The collected data was analyzed through exploratory factor analysis, which revealed six major types of harassment in Sri Lanka as a result of tourist consumption process throughout the vacation.
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Theoretical Background

Harassment is a legal term and has different meanings in different jurisdictions (Otoo at el., 2019). As they explained in same study, tourist harassment is pervasive and may occur at any time or place within the tourism experience. Paying of deep attention will be needed on tourism experience gained by the tourists, because, as Kozak (2007) discussed “hospitality” and harassment” are words identifying two different aspects of a national culture and of a tourist’s experience. Purely, negative tourist experience. Meanwhile, positive experience make the tourists satisfied. Now, it is clear that one of the negative consequences arising from tourist-host interactions is the conflict of tourist harassments (Chepkwony & Kangogo, 2013). Meanwhile, Chepkwony and Kangogo (2013) and Barnett (2001) considered that tourists expect to be accorded with warm welcome any time they interact with the host community in the course of their holiday. These expectations of tourists and the warm welcome in terms of food, a place to rest and nice conversation by the host community should be interacted together to keep a well balance between two parties in order to achieve tourism development in the destination. However, the increase of tourist harassment than the feeling of hospitality will cause to leak of economic benefits from destinations. On oppose, it adds more costs to the tourism industry in an economy to implement a proper mechanism in order to overcome the harassment issues. Further, the situation will cause to downfall of global tourism.

According to Sri Lanka Tourist Police, 48 cases in 2010, 82 cases in 2011 and 90 cases in 2012 were recorded as tourism related crimes which included sexual harassment, harassment, frauds, selling illegal gems, charging extra money, not confirming the service before the arrival, providing bad service, robbery, breaking trust, stealing money and property etc., in island wide. Even though, the cases have been divided in to two broader groups like, Case Against Tourist (CAT) and Cases From Tourists (CFT) in order to handle them effectively, the number of cases happened in each year have been increased. However, as stated by McElory et al. (2007), although terrorism and crime are more serious tourism threats, harassment is one of the most pervasive and least studied problems affecting destinations across the globe. Further, they mentioned tourist harassment as a neglected area of study, and perhaps the least well understood.

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