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Title: The influence of ethnocentrism, tourist-host social contact and perceived cultural distance on tourists' travel attitude : evidence from Hong Kong tourists to Mainland China
Authors: Fan, Xuefeng Daisy
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: Tourism has long been considered an industry that contributes to improved relationships between cultures by facilitating mutual understanding. However, there is insufficient literature with empirical evidence addressing this issue. The present study integrates related theories to simultaneously evaluate behavioral and perceptional effects on tourists' travel attitude. To test the inter-relationships among ethnocentrism, perceived cultural distance, tourist-host social contact, and travel attitude, the current study focuses on Hong Kong tourists traveling to mainland China. These two regions are selected because tourism between them has been booming, and because there have been increasing conflicts between residents in both groups. Specifically, ethnocentrism has been found to be a good predictor of behavior and cognition in anthropological, sociological, and psychological research; however, it is a largely unexplored realm in the field of tourism. In addition, although cultural distance has been studied to a great extent, the perceived cultural distance encountered in travel has not yet been explored, and cultural differences between ethnically similar but ideologically different regions need to be identified. Regarding the concept of social contact, the existing applications in the tourist-host context are problematic due to inappropriate measurement instruments. In addition, the effects of those concepts on tourists' travel attitudes have yet to be explored. To bridge the aforementioned research gaps, the current study adopts mixed methods to test the proposed conceptual framework using constructs of regional ethnocentrism, perceived cultural distance, tourist-host social contact, and travel attitude in the context of Hong Kong residents traveling to mainland China.
The results reveal that the construct of perceived cultural distance consists of three factors: cultural retention, civilization and sociality. Quantity of social contact includes two factors: social- and service-oriented contact. Structural equation modeling (SEM) is applied to test the proposed framework. As a result, regional ethnocentrism is found to have negative effects on the quantity and quality of social contact, behavioral travel attitude, and perceived cultural distance. Perceived cultural distance is found to have a positive effect on the quantity of social contact and a negative effect on its quality. Finally, the quantity and quality of social contact are both found to have positive effects on travel attitudes. In addition, using a bootstrapping method, the mediating effect of social contact is identified in relationships between perceived cultural distance and affective and cognitive travel attitudes. The findings of this study contribute to both academic and managerial fields of knowledge. Theoretically, this study pioneers the application of ethnocentrism in the tourism field. A framework regarding ethnocentrism, tourist-host social contact, perceived cultural distance, and travel attitude is established. The current study also empirically develops measurement instruments for tourists' perceived cultural differences and social contact with hosts. In addition, by examining the incoherence of the relationship between cultural distance and travel attitude, the current study identifies the effect of cultural distance from a new perspective. Practically, this study explores the largest inbound source market for mainland China. Suggestions are provided for many participants in the sector, including government officials and policy-makers. In addition, the Hong Kong-mainland case can be generalized to other regions or countries that face problems among residents who are ethnically similar but ideologically different. Understanding the ethnocentrism-attitude mechanism helps policy-makers in terms of regional cooperation and development.
Subjects: Tourism -- Social aspects.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xii, 248 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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