Encounter Experiences among Tourists at Attraction Sites – An Application of Social Contact Theory
Hsuan Hsuan Chang
Department of Leisure and Recreation Management, Ming Chuan University, Taiwan
Chin Chung Chiang
Institute of Business and Management, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
This study uses the social contact theory to understand the attitudes of tourists towards other tourists, their encounter experiences, conflicts, and coping strategies used to overcome encounter conflict, and then investigates whether differences in these areas between American/Canadian and Chinese tourists are moderated by the recreational setting (indoor/outdoor). The study results show that Chinese tourists have more positive encounters with tourists who share their national background than with American/Canadian tourists, who for their own part experience more cultural conflict with other tourists in outdoor settings than do Chinese tourists. We conclude that the recreational setting moderates the relationship between American/Canadian and Chinese tourists, their level of encounter with other tourists, the type of conflict they experience, and the coping strategy used to ameliorate conflict. With respect to the latter, study participants at outdoors destinations, particularly American/Canadian tourists, prefer using an active adaptation strategy to overcome cultural and behavioural conflict, whereas those at indoor destinations prefer using an emotional strategy.
Keywords:Contact Theory; Tourist-to-Tourist Encounter; Encounter-Conflict; Adaptation Strategy