Nationalism and Tourist-Host Relationships: A Case Study of Bala, North Wales.

Griffiths, Ingrid. A (2011) Nationalism and Tourist-Host Relationships: A Case Study of Bala, North Wales. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Within the domain of tourism, tourist-host relationships are dynamic and complex. The nature of interaction between tourist and host potentially renders a destination more or less desirable to tourists and this, in turn, may impact upon the development and promotion of tourism for that destination. In particular, differences between tourists and hosts will influence the kind of relationship that emerges at the points of contact between them. In ‘intra-national’ settings, where tourists from one country interact with hosts from another, such differences will inevitably be in evidence. Thus, understanding the relevance of nationalism to tourist-host relationships is fundamental to the management of tourism in these contexts.

To date, however, little academic attention has been paid to nationalistic determinants of tourist-host encounters. The purpose of this thesis is to address this gap in the literature. Critically exploring the influences of nationalism within tourist-hosts relationships, it focuses specifically on the case of Bala, a small community and tourist destination in North Wales, identifying and appraising the extent and implications of nationalism on the relationship between English tourists and Welsh hosts. Utilising Q method, a technique designed for the systematic study of subjectivity, the research seeks to elicit English tourists’ and Welsh hosts’ subjectivities concerning nationalism, and by association, uncover subjectivities towards national identities, culture and tourism. It reveals that, fundamentally, nationalism does influence the nature of the relationship between English tourists and Welsh hosts in a number of ways, particularly with respect to nationalistic understanding, perceptions of self in relation to others and perception of others. However, the research also indicates that the nature of relationships between tourists and hosts is essentially an ongoing social process which, given time, will reach an organic equilibrium condition. As a consequence, tourism policy and process interventions to manage tourist-host relationships are considered futile within ‘intra-national’ environments.

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