Ethnocentrism and Attitudes Towards Tourism Destination Choices: Empirical Evidence from the GENE Scale

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Kimo BOUKAMBA, Wakayama University, Japan
Tatsuo OI, Wakayama University, Japan
Kaede SANO, Wakayama University, Japan
Tourism is a social, economic, and cultural consumption phenomenon involving human mobility across geographical and cultural boundaries. Its process includes the willingness to explore the otherness (pre-visit stage), the actual interaction (on-site stage), and the attitude adopted after interacting (post-visit stage) with communities away from one’s usual place of residence. Although the tourism industry has considerably expanded over the past six decades into becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world, a general examination of the regional distribution of international tourists arrivals between 1960 and 2016 reveals unchanged consumption patterns, consistent tourist clusters, and imbalances in distribution of tourism benefits among Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

The present paper is part of an ongoing PhD study investigating the effects of ethnocentrism on tourist destination choices. It argues that the recognition and emphasis of the potential benefits of tourism has generated intense competition among destinations, which in turn is not only shaping policy-makers’ approaches, but also the behavior of tourists globally. Within this line of thought, the construct of ethnocentrism is applied to tourism as an independent variable hypothesized to exert biased influences on one’s attitudes towards domestic versus foreign destinations. The Generalized Ethnocentrism (GENE) scale is used to assess 400 randomly selected respondents’ ethnocentric tendencies towards the functional attributes of domestic versus foreign destinations.

Ethnocentrism is a nearly universal socio-psychological trait, summarized into the tendency of judging other cultures (the out-group) according to the standards of one’s own (the ingroup). In consumer behavior, this tendency is translated into the beliefs held by consumers about the appropriateness and morality of purchasing products foreign origin, and is underpinned affective, cognitive, and normative structures, such as cognitive bias, moral obligation, economic threat, and rationality. Applying this theory in tourism can further the understanding of destination choices.