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The UK Travel Industry and Ethnic Minorities: Social Inclusion and Cultural Awareness

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This article examines the issues of race and social inclusion in the British tourism industry. The UK, along with other countries of Western Europe, has substantial populations of non-white ethnic groups. Are these new citizens in the market for holidays and what is the attitude of the tourism industry to them as potential customers and employees? This study examines the meaning and limitations of multiculturalism and the extent to which the travel and tourism industry in a multicultural society such as Britain is socially inclusive. Using evidence from a regional survey of consumers of South Asian origin in Britain, focus group discussions, and tour operator interviews, we conclude that the travel industry in the UK, especially in the Yorkshire region, demonstrated a degree of racial segregation. Many UK travel companies had outdated stereotypical images of ethnic minorities as only wishing to visit their ethnic homeland. A lack of market intelligence and cultural awareness was causing the UK travel industry to ignore a potential growth market, especially that of young affluent professionals from ethnic minorities. An audit of tourism training revealed few young people from ethnic minorities training to work in the travel sector, resulting from poor perceptions of travel as a career among south Asian communities. The study also examined the problems experienced by Asian travel businesses in developing into professionally qualified and bonded travel agencies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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