Tourist-resident interactions and evaluations of these interactions in diverse geographical contexts

Authors: Xing Su*, Utrecht University, Pieter Hooimeijer, Utrecht University, Bas Spierings, Utrecht Univeristy
Topics: Urban Geography, Tourism Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: Tourist-resident interaction, social contact, decentralization, mainland Chinese tourists, Hong Kong
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Tourist-resident interaction is a multi-dimensional phenomenon and involves the encounters of two populations in different geographical contexts. However, limited attention has been paid to the extent to which geographical contexts influence such interactions and whether these interactions further influence both tourists’ and residents’ evaluations of interacting with the other. This paper addresses this gap through an examination of tourist-resident interactions and evaluations on these interactions in diverse urban neighborhoods from a bilateral perspective, utilizing the conceptual framework of contact hypothesis. A survey was conducted among mainland Chinese tourist traveling to Hong Kong and local residents living in Hong Kong in two urban neighborhoods, located in central area and decentral area, separately. The study had two significant findings. Firstly, the more favorable conditions under which tourist-resident interaction has taken place, more positive evaluation of interaction for both actors. This effect is more significant in decentral area than central area. Secondly, in terms of frequency of interaction, the higher frequency of interaction take place and consequently the more positive tourists’ evaluations towards interacting with residents. However, it is the other way around for residents. This effect is more significant in central area than decentral area. The importance of geographical contexts for tourist-resident interactions, and their evaluations of these interactions are confirmed. Practical implications are suggested for tourism management by segmenting the tourist market using geographical means.

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