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Asian tourists and cultural complexity: implications for practice and the Asianisation of tourism scholarship

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 02:12 authored by Can Seng OoiCan Seng Ooi
Asian tourist behaviour is often characterised along essentialistic terms such as Asians are collectivistic and hierarchical. The essentialist approach to understanding culture faces serious criticisms. In using cultural complexity instead of culture, this paper introduces functional culture and negotiated culture perspectives, as derived from structural functionalism and conflict theory respectively, to situate Asian tourist behaviour. Cultural complexity is manifested as a dynamic web of stable and yet changing social manifestations. The pool of contrasting and contradicting cultural manifestations is a resource for members of society to express, control and navigate the variety of situations they encounter in life. The diversity of potential cultural expressions also provides society room to experiment, respond and manage changing circumstances. This paper offers implications from the functional culture and negotiated culture perspectives on the management of Asian tourists. It also addresses the academic implication, in the context of the Asianisation of tourism scholarship.


Publication title

Tourism Management Perspectives








School of Social Sciences


Elsevier BV

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Socio-cultural issues in tourism