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Enriching the tourist and host intercultural experience by reconceptualising communication
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by C Steiner, Y Reisinger
The aim of this paper is to reconceptualise intercultural communication as it is conventionally understood in the field of tourism studies. Tourism literature identifies many problems related to intercultural communication between tourists and hosts from different cultural backgrounds. Some of these ‘problems’ occur only because tourism researchers assume that the appropriate goal for ommunication is ‘communing’, that is, finding common ground or understanding. This philosophical paper suggests that if one reconceptualises communication without the communing,using the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and Jean-Luc Nancy, the ‘problems’ in intercultural communication disappear and communication becomes a source of enrichment for both tourists and hosts. This paper suggests that the basis of intercultural communication in tourism should be the acknowledgement of cultural differences between international tourists and local hosts, and the goal should be the ‘spacing’ of culturally different individuals rather than the ‘communing’ of ‘idle talkers’. Treating intercultural communication in this way creates an opportunity for both sides to appreciate and value cultural difference. Experiencing cultural difference is one of the most fundamental motivators for travel and for opening host communities to international tourists. Reconceptualising intercultural communication by adopting Heidegger’s and Nancy’s philosophies promises not only to enrich the tourism experience but also to transform researchers’ approaches to tourism education and training, and to tourism marketing and management.