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Does tourist–host social contact reduce perceived cultural distance?

Tourist–host social contact significantly influences the perceptions of tourists and deserves more attention from scholars in the field of tourism research. However, studies on the relationship between these two constructs are limited.

To address this research gap, the present study develops and validates instruments for measuring social contact and perceived cultural distance in the context of tourism, explores the effects of social contact on perceived cultural distance, and provides implications for tourism stakeholders, including governments, tourism operators, and local communities. A survey was conducted among Hong Kong tourists traveling to Mainland China.

The study had two significant findings: 1) the quality of contact negatively influences tourists’ perceived cultural distance; 2) in terms of the quantity of contact, socialoriented contacts negatively influence perceived cultural distance, whereas service-oriented contacts positively affect perceived cultural distance.

Implications were provided to contribute to theoretical and empirical realms, and to guide policy formulation.

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This article is from the free online course:

Research Methods in Tourism Studies

Nankai University