Intercultural problems in the tourism industry

Essay, 2011
10 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of content

1 Introduction

2 Defining words and phrases
2.1 Culture
2.2 Communication
2.3 Inter- and cross-cultural

3 Intercultural Adaption in Tourism
3.1 Culture Confusion
3.2 Discussion of its application today

4 Conclusion

5 Sources

6 Register of Illustrations

1 Introduction

“McDonaldization” (GeorgRitzer), “Cocacolization” (Zdravko Mlinar) and “Mc-World” (Benjamin Barber) are just a few key words of a topic that has gained worldwide interest today. The Globalization is on the roll and seems to be unstoppable. [1] One by one, the world has become a ‘global village’ with multicultural societies, where it is unavoidable for us to get in greater contact with the rest of the world and other cultures. Our daily lives develop an increasingly international orientation. Globalization produced a demand for intercultural communication and awareness for both the tourism industry and many different commercial sectors. The travel and tourism industry has experienced a growing internationalization during the past decades. Especially here people are exposed to cultural different societies. In the tourism industry it is substantial to know cultures in its various forms and dimensions since it has a significant impact on tourism planning and development, management and marketing. Companies in the tourism industry have to understand the influence of national cultures on their consumers to be able to compete for market share successfully. Intercultural communication helps tourists to keep the quality of the interaction with different nationalities high and therefore contribute to their holiday experiences and perceptions of the visited destination. Many intercultural problems within the tourism industry arose during the past years and are becoming more and more threatening for both the host destinations and the tourist himself. This paper describes, analyzes and also discusses some of those problems in the tourism industry and try to find a possible solution for them in order to eventually smoothing the way from a global village to a global community.

2 Defining words and phrases

It’s essential in this topic, to define various terms, because there exist many different definitions and concepts for them.

2.1 Culture

“Culture is a black box which we know is there but not what it contains”[2] In 1952 the American anthropologists Kroeber and Kluckhohn documented all together 164 different definitions for “culture”, which makes it clear why it is important to explain these terms beforehand in order to deal with the topic intercultural communication.[3] In this case a classic definition written by Tylor was chosen: “that complex whole, which includes knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, law, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”[4]

2.2 Communication

Communication is nearly as hard to define as culture. It is a broad topic and can change depending on an author’s objective from book to book. Most of them are fairly abstract and long, because they try to cover all possible aspects. But for the interplay of culture and communication, a very broad definition like the one by Griffin is the most suitable: “Communication is the management of messages with the objective of creating meaning.”[5]

2.3 Inter- and cross-cultural

Contact When an intercultural contact is mentioned, it is referred to an interaction of tourists and hosts from two different cultures. Cross-cultural contact on the other hand refers to an interaction, where 3 and more cultures are involved. That means that an interaction of an American host with an Asian tourist is called an intercultural contact. But because both populations represent also many distinct cultural groups, this interaction could also be cross-cultural. [6]


[1] cf.

[2] Hofstede, G. Cultures Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, 1980, CA: Sage Publications, page 13

[3] cf.

[4] Tylor, Edward B., Anthropology: an introduction to the study of man and civilization, Macmillan, 1924, page 1

[5] Griffin, E., A first look at communication theory (6th ed.), Boston: McGraw-Hill,.

[6] Reisinger, Y., Turner, L.W., Cross-Cultural Behaviour in Tourism: Concepts and Analysis, Great Britain: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003, page 39

Excerpt out of 10 pages


Intercultural problems in the tourism industry
Stralsund University of Applied Sciences
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Anne Timm (Author), 2011, Intercultural problems in the tourism industry, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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