Intercultural communication in experience tourism in the Inari area
Tiivistelmä – Abstract Multicultural people both live in and visit the Inari area, where tourism is the main industry. Interaction between tourists and people working in the tourism industry is an essential part of the experience provided to the tourists. The focus of this study is on how multicultural workers in experience tourism in Inari area interact with international tourists. Another focus is how the workers act together as a multicultural team. The empirical part of this study focuses on one company located in the municipality of Inari. The interviews concentrated on gathering stories of both successful as well as challenging events of the interaction and teamwork. The stories were analyzed using a narrative structure. Due to the small amount of stories gathered, the rest of the transcribed interview data was also analyzed by using content analysis. The analyzed data was divided into two categories: tourist-worker interaction and multicultural teamwork. These two main categories were further divided into subcategories, namely: language, communicative competencies, professional competencies and intercultural awareness. These subcategories were discussed following a review of intercultural communication literature. Multicultural teamwork has two subcategories: teamwork and “it always works for us”. These were discussed following a review of multicultural teamwork literature. In the case study company, the success factors are: careful planning and training, good co-operation between the teams, flexibility, as well as experienced and professional workers. The findings show that the workers in the experience tourism industry need foreign language, interaction, and intercultural skills as well as their professional competencies. The major challenges the workers face when interacting with tourists are most likely caused by the assumption of the similarities and the difficulties in interpreting nonverbal communication. The analysis of the multicultural team remains rather superficial due to the work division of the case company. Based on the findings of this research the influence of multiculturalism of Inari does not seem to have a significant impact on the interaction and teamwork in the case study company. ...
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