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This field study is about tourism in Victoria. It focuses on the experiences, challenges and issues that require improving to enhance the visitors’ satisfaction. A qualitative research was carried out on three focus groups that included tourism agencies, Chinese immigrants and students. The researcher used interviews to collect data.
The study revealed that language barrier is the primary cause of the problems that the Chinese visitors encounter in Victoria. The main limitation was that the participants were unable to respond to the questionnaire because of the language barrier. The study recommends that tourism agencies create websites that translate English to Chinese for easy understanding.
China is the most populous nation in the world. Therefore, it is the nation with the majority immigrants in Canada. Cultural and language differences between the two countries are the primary cause of the problems that Chinese tourists experience in Victoria. The problems render the majority of Chinese tourists being less satisfied as compared with other tourists in the region. Hence, this research aims to find out the possible solutions that can enhance satisfaction of the Chinese visitors who tour Victoria on a regular basis (Poy and Cao 56).
Tourism is one of the sources of economic revenue for most economies in the contemporary world. Hence, there is a reason for states that rely on tourism to uphold cultural differences that exist among people from different ethnic backgrounds. Promoting cultural differences attract potential tourists. Because China is the most populated nation in the world and has the fastest growing middle-income population, every nation that values tourism sector should have policies that can attract Chinese tourists.
The policies should be modified to mitigate challenges that often face visitors due to cultural and language differences. Every person wishes to feel loved and valued. Thus, there is a need to address the challenges that the Chinese visitors encounter and look for permanent solutions.
Chinese tourists have been experiencing numerous challenges whenever they visit Canada, and in particular Victoria. The large number of Chinese immigrants in Canada attracts many tourists from China every year. Hence, Canada has the benefit of getting visitors from China compared to other countries in the world except the United States. The United States has the majority of Chinese immigrants in the world. However, there are major cultural and language differences between the two countries.
Cultural and language differences contribute to the problems that Chinese tourists encounter during their expeditions. Canada is a multicultural economy. Thus, there are no definite cultural heritages and norms. The majority of the Canadians have mixed cultural backgrounds. Indeed, the Canadians have adopted a non-cultural lifestyle where they have less or no attachment to cultural norms (Scott and Laws 98).
On the other hand, Chinese are firmly attached to their cultural heritage. Consequently, they have difficulties in adapting a non-cultural lifestyle. Some basic norms such as greetings and recognition of age differences have an immense effect to a Chinese. Such norms have less or no impact to a Canadian. However, there is nothing that can be done to rectify that problem.
As a result, the Chinese tourists should be prepared to encounter issues that contravene their cultural norms in Canada and view them as inoffensive. Language barrier is a major concern for both the Chinese and Canadians. A few Canadians know the Chinese language. Conversely, a few Chinese understand English.
Since the two countries rely heavily on each other for tourism, efforts should be made to mitigate the language barrier as a way to enhance tourists’ satisfaction. In Shanghai, tourists who understand English encounter a few problems since directions, signs, and billboards are written in both Chinese and English languages (Conrady and Buck 93).
It would be difficult to write billboards and signs in both Chinese and English in Canada. Canada has a multi-cultural population with different native languages. Nonetheless, it is imperative to use both English and Chinese in Victoria where the majority of Chinese tourists often visit. Alternatively, a study should be conducted to establish areas where most Chinese tourists prefer visiting. Moreover, effort should be made to ensure that servers who understand the Chinese language serve the visitors.
Also, there is a need to address the social issues that contribute to tourists’ dissatisfaction. They include transport and hospitality issues. In Canada, the principal mode of public transport is the bus.
The Chinese use trains and cabs. Hence, it would be imperative to have signs on the buses that guide tourists on how the buses operate. The signs should be written in Chinese to ensure that the tourists manoeuvre without difficulties. On the other hand, hotels should have staff members that are fluent in Chinese and capable of offering hospitality services to foreign visitors.
The purpose of this study is to improve the experience of Chinese tourists in Victoria. As aforementioned, the methodology for this study was designed in such a way that it would enable the researcher to get information from three focus groups. The first group comprised the travel agencies that are located in Victoria and Vancouver.
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The researcher issued questionnaires to ten travel companies in Victoria and three in Vancouver. The three travel agencies that operate in Vancouver are managed by the Chinese. Consequently, they served as suitable sources of information about the Chinese tourists.
The questionnaires were structured in a manner that would help the researcher to get information about who visit Victoria, the objective of the visit, and the activities the tourists engage in when in the region. Also, information about the activities of each agency was collected to enable the researcher to understand how travel companies attract clients as well as the number of visitors that they serve. The interview also focused on client experience, common complaints, and the approach that the travel agencies use to handle the complaints.
The busy schedule hampered efforts to get Chinese tourists participate in interviews. As a result, the researcher had to choose international students and immigrants as the participants. The intention was to get information about their first experience in Canada and how it has changed over time with respect to language barrier and foreign travel policies.
The researcher found it important to include literature review in the methodology. Nevertheless, it was exigent because there were no study materials on the research problem. The researcher contacted students from Royal Roads who were pursuing a course in Tourism Management and requested for research works, which could be relevant and useful for literature review purposes.
The literature review had credible theories about challenges that the Chinese tourists face in Victoria. Hence, it formed the theoretical backbone for the study. After analysing the results, it was established that Chinese tourists encounter ethnic problems in Victoria. The problems are attributed to historical experiences.
Victoria serves as the capital of British Columbia and has strong connection to China since it was the harbour for international trade during and after the colonial period. For this reason, Chinese tourists view it as an extension of international relations.
However, the nature of the business that created strong connection between China and Victoria has significantly changed. The residents of Victoria do not consider themselves obligated to accord special hospitality to Chinese tourists. Therefore, the tourists exaggerate the problem upon seeing the locals as unwelcoming, which is not the case in the real terms.
Consequently, the researcher’s spotlight switched from exploring challenges that affect the Chinese tourists in particular to a more generalised case. The researcher opted to concentrate on the challenges that affect tourists from other cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Above all, visitors encounter similar problems even though ethnic relations are given less attention.
According to the research, the results show that the Chinese tourists face numerous challenges in Victoria. The majority of the interviewees indicated that they were attracted to Victoria because of fascinating views. However, they said that they sought information about sightseeing before deciding to come to Victoria. The information was derived from the answers given for the first two questions in the questionnaire. The information was necessary in arriving at the conclusion.
All the tourists agreed that Victoria has beautiful sceneries for tourism. Therefore, the primary reason the Chinese tourists choose Victoria over other destinations is due to its scenic beauty. Chinese tourists consider the sightseeing data as the most critical information that one should have before visiting Victoria. Hence, they end up encountering numerous challenges such as those that arise from cultural shock, transport inconveniences, entertainment, and residence dissatisfactions.
As aforesaid, Victoria has a large number of Chinese immigrants who play a significant role in promoting tourism in Canada. They do so by inviting their families and friends for tourism expeditions in Canada. Indeed, the majority of the interviewees said that they got information about Victoria from either their family members or friends residing in Victoria. Hence, the reason for the absence of Chinese travels agencies in Victoria despite the region having a vast population of Chinese immigrants.
From the above information, it emerged that the travel agencies lack websites that can translate English to Chinese because most tourists do not bother to seek the assistance. The absence of the websites is not a scheme to ignore the visitors as it has been the assumption. From the questionnaire, it was discovered that the majority of the interviewees said that they preferred the Chinese restaurants. A few participants said that they preferred restaurants that served Western delicacies.
Those who preferred the Chinese restaurants said that they encountered problems associated with language barrier since there were no Chinese-speaking servers (Bowerman 24).
Hence, one can come up with the assumption that majority of Chinese tourists are conservative. As a result, they do not want to experience other cultural delicacies. However, the restaurants that offer Chinese foods do not have policies that enable them to hire servers who are fluent in Chinese language to enhance the quality of services they offer to tourists (Martin and Nakayama 128).
Besides lacking Chinese-speaking servers, there are no Chinese posters or signs that guide the tourists. Hence, it becomes tough for the tourists to communicate with the residents as well as understand what they should do in the course of their tourism expedition. The majority of interviewees choose buses as the convenient means of transport.
The interviewees confided that they could not hire cars because of difficulties in reading road signs and traffic rules. Worst still, the coaches lacked Chinese signs to help them understand what they should do for the driver to stop the bus whenever they need to disembark.
The study concluded that language and cultural barriers are the leading causes of dissatisfaction to the Chinese tourists in Victoria (Nyíri 98). The visitors do not take the time to learn a language that can help them to communicate with the locals. Instead, they want the locals to know the Chinese language. Also, there is little that has been done to make Victoria a hospitable environment for Chinese tourists because of the language barrier.
As stated earlier, the efforts to get Chinese tourists to participate in the interview were hampered by their busy schedule. Hence, it was not possible to get information from the tourists themselves. Also, it was challenging to make the interviewees understand the questions because of the language barrier. As a result, the researcher had to seek the help of another individual who was fluent in Chinese.
The biggest challenge that the researcher encountered in the course of the study was a task to remain impartial to the participants. However, it was difficult to stay neutral after learning that Chinese tourists experience a lot of problems in Victoria because they expect the Victorians to understand their language.
The researcher discovered that the Chinese do not bother learning English, which is the official language in Canada. Hence, the conclusion was that Chinese tourists experience problems in Victoria because of self-inflicted problems. The future study should focus on how to encourage the Chinese visitors to enrol for English lessons to ensure that they communicate effectively with the local Canadians.
The research found language barrier as the cause of the problems that the Chinese tourists face. Hence, the more confined a tourist is to the language barrier the more s/he is confined to cultural barriers. It underlines the reason most visitors choose Chinese restaurants. Therefore, the research recommends that the Chinese tourists take the time to study a foreign language to have basic communication skills when they get to foreign nations.
Also, the study recommends that there be measures to enhance the satisfaction of Chinese tourists in Victoria by ensuring that restaurants that offer Chinese delicacies have servers who are fluent in Chinese language. The bus should have Chinese labels to enhance transport services in Victoria.
It would be significant to note that Victoria is the leading destination for Chinese tourists in Canada. Therefore, there should be measures to mitigate the language barrier that tourists encounter. These measures should address issues such as the installation of Chinese signs in places where tourists are fond of visiting to help them understand basic things. It would also be important for the travel agencies to install language interpreter programs in their websites to enable Chinese tourists to understand the information from the website.
Bowerman, Gary. The New Chinese Traveler: Business Opportunities from the Chinese Travel Revolution, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Print.
Conrady, Roland, and M. Buck. Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2011, New York: Springer Science & Business Media, 2011. Print.
Martin, Judith, and T. Nakayama. Intercultural Communication in Contexts, San Francisco: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2012. Print.
Nyíri, Pál. Scenic Spots: Chinese Tourism, the State, and Cultural Authority, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011. Print.
Poy, Vivienne, and H. Cao. The China Challenge: Sino-Canadian Relations in the 21st Century, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2011. Print.
Scott, Noel, and E. Laws. Knowledge Sharing and Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism, Montreal: Routledge, 2013. Print.