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Dimensions of Tourism. Social Interaction Cross-Cultural Interaction For many travelers, cross-cultural interaction is the motivator Cross-cultural interaction is also the result of travel Cross-cultural interaction may be a “pull factor” of a region. Negative Use of resources/utilities

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Dimensions of Tourism

  • Social Interaction

  • Cross-Cultural Interaction

  • For many travelers, cross-cultural interaction is the motivator

  • Cross-cultural interaction is also the result of travel

  • Cross-cultural interaction may be a “pull factor” of a region

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Use of resources/utilities

Longer lines at the grocery store


Increased traffic

Larger crowds at recreation facilities


Exposure to new ideas

Increased interest in activities

Increased interest in the arts

Reduce barriers


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Contacts (Encounters)

  • Tourist (non-resident) and resident (host) contacts do not just happen in formal situations (such as check-in at a hotel or at a CVB)

  • Contacts can occur at any place of business (even if the business is not specifically tourist-related)

  • Contacts occur on the street or in cafes with regular residents of the host community

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  • Providers are those people in other sectors of the tourism industry who service the needs (and wants) of tourists, but are not located within the destination community

    • Airline personnel

    • Hotel employees

    • Travel agents

    • Information providers

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Directly Involving Tourists

Hosts & Tourists

Tourists & Tourists

Tourists & PotentialTourists

Tourists & Providers

Support of Tourists

Host & Providers

Providers & Providers

Hosts & Hosts

Contacts (Encounters)

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Dimensions of Tourism

  • Each contact, whether positive, negative or neutral, leaves an impact

  • All encounters are personal

  • At many commercial attractions, the tourists & tourists interactions are the most frequent (therefore, controlling tourists behavior becomes paramount)

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Social Impacts

  • Changes in the lives of people who live in destination communities which are associated with tourism activity

  • Tourists are also affected by social impacts

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Limiting Factors

  • Interactions between tourists, providers and hosts have four limiting characteristics:

    • Transitory

    • Bound by spatial and temporal constraints

    • Lacking in spontaneity

    • Unbalanced, less than equal

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  • By (modern) definition and design, tourism is short term

  • Interactions will be brief without forming personal bonds

  • If friendships do occur, they are most likely to be between tourist and tourist

  • Relationships between travelers and providers are even shorter, and involve the exchange of money

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  • Keeping to a businesslike relationship can be beneficial

  • Superficial greetings and comments are valuable because of the personal nature of service interactions, and should be maintained

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Spatial and Temporal

  • Because (as mentioned earlier), time is limited, tourists themselves are often impatient at delays which would be considered normal at home

  • The result is providers and hosts may begin to make tourism experiences predictable (reducing the chance of problems or delays)

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Lack of Spontaneity

  • As encounters become more regimented and predictable (to ease the strain of problems and delays), destination visits and experiences become less spontaneous

  • The “tourist bubble” for example, greatly enhances tourist access to providers and facilities, but almost completely eliminates the “chance encounter” or possibility of interacting with “the locals”

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Unequal Relations

  • Often, in tourism destinations, tourists and hosts have different socioeconomic backgrounds

  • Social and economic differences, when large, may make tourists avoid such encounters altogether

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Response Models

  • Social impacts of tourism can be explained by several models:

  • Irridex Model

  • Attitudinal Model

  • Adjustment Model

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  • The irridex model is one of the most commonly used and the most simple to understand

  • One of the problems with the irridex model is that it tends to group all residents together, not allowing for individual differences of the local population

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  • The irridex model has four stages:

    • Euphoria

    • Apathy

    • Annoyance

    • Antagonism

  • *Been to Lake Tahoe recently? According to the irridex model, where would the lake be?

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  • I will not ask you to re-draw this model or label it, but I will ask you to be able to explain it if you see it on the test (hint, hint)

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  • This model allows for different residents to have different feelings about tourists and tourism

  • This model allows for the same resident to change his mind

  • This model allows for the same resident to have different feelings on issues and impacts related to tourism and tourists

  • The attitudinal model uses “strong” and “quiet” (each in two different situations) to indicate how residents will respond in positive/negative and active/passive categories – definitely read this!

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  • This model also allows for residents to have more than one feeling towards tourists and tourism

  • The five categories of responses to impacts are:

    • Resistance

    • Retreatism

    • Boundary maintenance

    • Revitalization

    • Adoption

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  • Residents take active, aggressive (and often hostile) actions against tourists

    • Refusing to speak the language of tourists

    • Refusing to serve tourists

    • Purposely taking advantage of tourists monetarily

    • Taking advantage of tourists that don’t treat the natives (or the environment) respectfully

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  • Avoiding contact with tourists on a social level, but dealing with them at a business level

  • The community is often dependent on tourism for economic reasons, but has a resentment over that fact

  • This may be a passive form of resistance (tourists are almost always unaware)

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Boundary Maintenance

  • Locals may appreciate tourism (and even enjoy the tourists), but make an effort to separate themselves from the tourists

  • Common with sub-cultures in the US

  • Customs, dress, diet, language, technology, etc. can keep a distance from the tourists

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  • One of the most controversial areas of tourism destination/social impacts research

  • Local customs, festivals, rituals, architecture, dress, foods, religious ceremonies, etc. can often be tourist attractions

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  • Historic districts (Boston, Colonial Williamsburg, Charleston) can use tourist derived dollars to maintain themselves, and act as “living museums”

  • Residents of these areas may practice boundary maintenance

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  • The local community adopts the lifestyle and orientation of the tourists

  • The community organizes (or alters) its festivals and marketing and local wares to cater to tourists

  • Such a place is known as a “tourist town” (Gatlinburg, Aspen, Amity Island)

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Boundary Maintenance




Native Americans

Ethnic Grous/Tourists as Modern Man

Charlestown, SC

New Orleans

Summary of Adjustment

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Cultural Impacts

  • Cultural impacts are thought of as a change in the art, artifacts, customs, rituals and architecture of a people that result from tourist activity

  • Much of this work is debated since cultures are dynamic (they change anyway, on their own or by outside forces – see Nelson Grayburn)

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Cultural Impacts

  • Local traditions, customs, etc., may be preserved by tourism

  • Local traditions, customs, etc., may be trivialized by tourism and result in what is called “airport art”

  • Some traditions or skills may be lost altogether because they were not marketable in terms of tourism

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Social & Cultural Impacts

  • (pg 96) Summary

    • Social Interactions

    • Morality and Religious Norms

    • Social Norms

    • Cultural Ways and Activities

    • Day-to-Day Activities

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Case Study

  • Alarde in Fuenterrabia

    • Local festival (to recreate the 1638 victory of Spain over France in the region) became so popular with tourists that the small, intimate feeling of the ritual was lost

    • Locals first responded by keeping tourists away, but quickly decided to market the ritual, and thus it has become a commodity rather than a local community celebration

    • It makes lots of money for Fuenterrabia, but locals rarely attend

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  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  • www.unesco.org

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Heritage Tourism

  • Beware…

    • Is heritage tourism just another excuse for mass shopping???

    • Case study(ies) Rouse Company’s “Festival Marketplaces”

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“Heritage” Tourism

  • Heritage tourism has many guises, some more authentic than others

  • As society has become increasingly white collar and increasingly service oriented, oddly, places where blue collar people once worked are more and more popular as tourist attracts – postmodernism gone mad

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Pull factor

Push factor




Host (Host community)



Irridex model

Adjustment model

Attitudinal model

Social impacts


Tourism vs Travel



Multiplier effect

Terms &Vocabulary

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Natural environment

Build environment

International tourism

Internal tourism

Domestic tourism

National tourism



The Grand Tour



Slides of cathedrals



Terms & Vocabulary