Language and Culture in Tourism supported research activities for which Dr Clyde Ancarno (Research Associate in SELCS) was responsible. These concentrated on investigating the views and experiences of tourism industry professionals regarding the ways they communicate in a culturally diverse work environment. This project draws on theories and methodologies from a range of disciplines, particularly discourse analysis and corpus linguistics.
LCT’s key research questions:
- How can CPD courses in intercultural communication address the needs of London’s tourism industry?
- What are tourism professionals’ understandings of ‘culture’?
- Which communication strategies do tourism professionals use to successfully interact with guests coming from different ‘cultures’?
- How can Intercultural Communication best be reconceptualised to address the communication needs of cosmopolitan workplaces?
In common with the small scale of the project, the research at the core of the Language and Culture in Tourism project focussed on a specific sector within London's tourism industry: hospitality businesses providing room services (4*/5* hotels and hostels). The data consists of interviews. These were carried out with 24 staff from the two 5* hotels and two hostels who took part in the study.
The interviews were semi-structured, which partly reflects the exploratory nature of the investigation. No assumptions were made regarding practices related to intercultural communication within the tourism industry. Following Seidman (1998: 3), interviews give access to ways of understanding ‘the experience of other people and the meaning they make of that experience’, which echoes the focus on the subjective experiences of tourism industry professionals in the study. Interviews are seen as stories, i.e. a useful way of knowing, which give access to experiences through language (Seidman 1998: 2).
Training and research in intercultural communication have become increasingly popular.
Despite the centrality of intercultural communication in the tourism industry, particularly in cosmopolitan work environments such as London’s tourism industry, existing training in this area is often often based on static approaches to culture (e.g. considering that culture means nationality). These ignore the (increasing) complexity of intercultural communication pertaining to global mobility trends.
Training in intercultural communication is rarely covered by formal education training in tourism and the training opportunities available to tourism businesses are therefore mostly offered by consultancy firms for whom challenging static approaches to intercultural communication training cannot always be a priority.
The aforementioned focus on nationality-related traits in the sphere of training reflects to a large extent a similar focus in academic research in Intercultural Communication (e.g. Hofstede’s widely acclaimed research).
The research activities in Language and Culture in Tourism advocate that Intercultural Communication researchers must address the communication needs of cosmopolitan workplaces and acknowledge, for example, the fluidity of the concept of culture (e.g. Piller, 2011).
Indicative reading list:
- Bochner, S. (1982). Cultures in contact: studies in cross-cultural interaction. Oxford, Pergamon.
- Boyer, M. and P. Viallon (1994). La Communication Touristique. [Paris], Presses Universitaires de France.
- Cooper, C. and C. M. Hall (2008). Contemporary tourism: An international approach. Amsterdam ; London, Butterworth-Heinemann.
- Dann, G. (1996). The language of tourism: A sociolinguistic perspective. Wallingford, CAB International.
- Dawson, M. E. and J. Abbott (2009). Hospitality Culture and Climate: Keys to Retaining Hospitality Employees and Creating Competitive Advantage. International CHRIE Conference-Refereed Track.
- Fitzgerald, H. (2002). Cross-cultural communication for the tourism and hospitality industry. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Hospitality.
- G., J. and P. A. (2012). Tourism. Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication. J. J. London, Routledge: 539-552.
- Hayllar, B., T. Griffin and D. Edwards (2008). City spaces - tourist places: Urban tourism precincts. Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.
- Holliday, A. (1999). "Small cultures." Applied Linguistics 20(237-264).
- Jack, G. and A. M. Phipps (2005). Tourism and intercultural exchange: why tourism matters. Clevedon, Channel View.
- Jackson, J. (2012). The Routledge handbook of language and intercultural communication. London, Routledge.
- Jaworski, A. and A. Pritchard (2005). Discourse, communication and tourism. Clevedon, Channel View.
- Lew, A. A., C. M. Hall and A. M. Williams (2004). A companion to tourism. Oxford, Blackwell.
- Nakayama, T. K. and R. T. Halualani (2010). The handbook of critical intercultural communication. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell.
- Robinson, M. and A. Phipps (2010). "Worlds Passing By: Journeys of Culture and Cultural Journeys." Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 1(1): 1-10.
- Schott, C. and K. A. Sutherland (2009). "Engaging Tourism Students Through Multimedia Teaching and Active Learning." Journal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism 8(4).
- Seidman, I. E. 1998. Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences. New York: Teachers College Press.
- Snell, S. and J. Carpenter (1988). Communications in travel and tourism: practical guide lines and assignments for students of travel and tourism. London, Arnold.
- Williams, A. M., C. M. Hall and A. A. Lew "Contemporary Themes and Challenges in Tourism Research."
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