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Cruise Tourist Dress Behaviors and Local–guest Reactions in a Muslim Country

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This article examines the ethics of tourism and cross-cultural communication between Western tourists and the local community in a Muslim country. Communicating with people who have different value systems and communication styles can contribute to various "culture shock situations" and to an increase in stereotypes and "stigma." The main goal of this research is to analyze the dress behavior of cruise tourists, applying the concept of "mindfulness" and secondly to analyze the voices and values of the resident community and of other tourists. Any apparent contradictions will be identified between local values, pretravel information, media social constructions, and tourist dress behaviors, and suggestions will be proposed about how to avoid culture shock situations. Two questionnaire surveys were conducted with German-speaking cruise tourists visiting two different destinations in the Sultanate of Oman during 2012 (N = 830) and 2013 (N = 235). In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted with members of the local community and cultural brokers as well as with tourists, onboard tour guides, and an onboard pastor. Moreover, government officials and the Assistant Grand Mufti were interviewed and pretravel information was studied. The results indicate that a mindless dress behavior has been facilitated by the type of information that is provided prior to travel and by cultural brokers, both on shore and on board, who do not make explicit reference to local dress codes. This approach promotes a concept of tolerance towards the tourist and an "accommodationist" and "laissez faire" attitude. On the other hand, tourist dress behaviors can be seen as a reflection of the posttourist, who is seeking individual authenticity and freedom. For the local community the increase in the number of mindless cruise tourists exceeds the level of acceptable tolerance in both places and has created "culture shock" situations. This research fills a major gap in applied research on the cruise tourist behaviors in a Muslim country and on crosscultural communication.
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Keywords: CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION; CRUISE TOURISTS; DRESS BEHAVIOR; MINDFULNESS; QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY; SULTANATE OF OMAN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 26, 2016

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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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