Date of Award

May 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Lauren N Duffy

Committee Member

Kenneth F Backman

Committee Member

Sheila J Backman

Committee Member

DeWayne Moore

Abstract

Successful tourism is based on a good relationship between tourists and the residents. To date, the resident-tourist relationship has been understood through two major approaches. The studies emphasizing the industrial aspects of tourism consider tourists as customers who bring economic benefits to a destination, while seeing residents as beneficiaries of the tourists’ expenditure during their trip. Other studies that see the resident-tourist relationship in terms of a host-guest relationship assume that residents, as hosts, should treat their guests with respect, while disregarding the industrial aspects of tourism. These two approaches have amplified the skewed and incomplete understanding of the resident-tourist relationship, while disregarding the importance of reciprocity and the merchandized purpose of the exchanges in this relationship.

This dissertation explored the resident perspective in the resident-tourist relationship throughout three journal articles using a case study of Jeju Island, South Korea. In Study One, the concepts of tourist attractiveness, resident satisfaction, and resident commitment were explored and operated through a mixed-method approach in order to examine the resident perception of tourists and their attitude towards relationships with tourists. This study posited that tourist attractiveness includes five sub-dimensions: tourist familiarity, tourist financial capacity, tourist responsibility, positive tourist influence, and negative tourist influence.

Using the constructs established in Study One, Study Two examined the relationship among the variables in order to examine the mechanism of residents’ sequential decision making process in the resident-tourist relationship: how their perception of and their relationship with tourists predict their reactions. The structural equation model (SEM) showed the statistically significant relationships between the variables, indicating tourist attractiveness is a crucial predictor of resident satisfaction with relationships with tourists and resident satisfaction leads to resident commitment to a future relationship with tourists.

Study Three adopted and operated a theoretical framework of the social determinants suggested by Urry (2002) in order to explore the social-contextual factors influencing the resident-tourist relationship. Of the nine determinants of the original framework, seven remained after the purification of the factors: ratio of tourist to resident; tourist’s level of involvement in tourist attractions; organization of the tourism industry (primary and second industry; tertiary industry); economic and social differences; needs of standard services (restaurant and food service; travel service); tourism-friendly government and policies; and the extent to which tourists are blamed for local problems. In addition, the SEM analysis of the seven dimensions showed that six of these social determinants — the exception being tourism-friendly government and policy — had significant influences on the resident-tourist relationship.

The approach used in this research is consistent with the sustainable tourism paradigm, which emphasizes community participation as a way to express the needs of residents as well as to improve tourist satisfaction, given that the resident is part of the tourist experience and an important stakeholder. These studies also provided an opportunity to rethink our traditional understanding of the relationship between residents and tourists, one that has often been described in terms of a host-guest relationship, by reminding us that it is business-like relationship pursuing rewards or benefits from each other.

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