Volume: 35, No: 3, Year: 2010  

New Directions for Considering Touristsí Attitudes Towards Others


The study of touristsí reactions towards those with whom they interact on holiday is a niche area of tourism study with its own short history. Attitudes are a widely used construct in this kind of tourism research. This paper examines closely the way tourism researchers have viewed attitudes. In particular, it is argued that by often reducing attitudes to a set of responses to Likert scales, tourism researchers have lost the dynamic, performative and communicative character of attitudes. The paper provides a context for this re-appraisal of attitudes by noting the major schemes used to understand touristsí views of others. The contact hypothesis, expectation models of touristsí attitudes and consumer involvement theory are considered. Recent story-telling approaches to understanding touristsí accounts of their experience are then highlighted. The identification and crystallization of individual, authentically valued incidents can be seen as pivotal in providing the content of stories and then the protection and preservation of attitudes. Attitudes can also usefully be seen as embedded in social representations and this construct further develops ways researchers can address studies of the outcomes of contact. Based on these appraisals, researchers may be able to reformulate their approach to attitudes in future studies and in so doing renovate the conceptual schemes which have driven previous work.

Keywords: attitude methods; positivism; contact hypothesis; consumer involvement; story-telling; authenticity;dynamic attitudes..

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