The paper 'Sustainability in Tourism, Unequal Guest-Host Relationships" is a perfect example of tourism coursework. Tourism, from the social point of view, is the process in which people from different cultural, economic and social context gain social contact. Relationships are bound to be developed from these social encounters and their nature and sustainability are dependent on a number of factors including the behavior, attitudes and motivations of both the tourists and the local people. Therefore, tourism is essentially a social phenomenon which plays a fundamental role in the tourist experience.
It is the kind of interaction between the host and the guest that gives a specific destination peculiar attractiveness. In other words, actual and perceived social interactions with local people attract tourists in the same magnitude as physical and cultural attractions. Therefore, logically speaking, the future development of tourism within a particular destination can be profoundly influenced by the nature of interpersonal relationships existing between guests and hosts (Nasa 2010). While these relationships have been found important in driving tourism growth, contemporary studies in tourism have revealed the existence of unequal/uneven power relations between the guest and the host.
According to Beeton (2006), the desire to learn about the culture of others can, by itself, act as a travel motivation, but cultural differences can act as a source of conflicts. The tourist-host relationship, therefore, becomes complex and the guest begins to see things differently from reality or from the host's point of view. The gap between the host and the guest, therefore, need to be reconciled so as to achieve the desired outcomes from tourism. This essay is will examine several causative factors to unequal guest-host relationships and thereafter examine steps/measures that the tourism industry has put in place to address the issue. Unequal Guest-Host Relationships ‘ Tourist’ is the person who undertakes a journey away from his normal place of residence or work and where they undertake different roles and activities from the residents of the destination.
To the host, the tourists are considered as guests as they are a mindset of enjoyment. In this regard, the tourist becomes a consumer of the tourism products and services produced by the host. The ‘ host’ on the other hand lacks an exact definition in the context of tourism but can be generally described as the local inhabitants of a particular destination (Wamwara-Mbugua and Cornwell 2008). Theories have been developed to provide greater insight into the dynamic and complex relationship between guests and hosts and more importantly the impact of resistance of the local community to adapt to changes in market needs.
Doxey’ s Index of Irritation (Irridex) is a framework which attempts to conceptualize the impacts of the attitudes of the host community towards tourists. The concept of irritation created among the hosts due to the increasing number of tourists in actually derived from the name of the model.
According to Irridex, the host’ s attitude develops in four main stages: Euphoria, Apathy, Irritation and Antagonism. During euphoria, tourists are small in numbers and they seek to find constructive mergers and relationships with local people. At this point, there are limited commercial activities concerning tourism and the hosts tend to be very welcoming. At the apathy stage, visitors numbers increase marginally and the host begins to take them for granted.
The guest-host relationship becomes more formalized. During the irritation stage, the number of visitors has grown significantly putting more pressure on commercial activities regarding tourism. Competition for resources intensifies between the host and guests which becomes a great concern for local people. Locals become completely hostile towards tourists at the antagonism stage and they could go to any lengths to limit tourism flows (Inskeep 1998).
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