Tourism host-guest encounters in the conservative Muslim setting of the Sultanate of Oman

Al Balushi, Amina Abdullah Majid (2020) Tourism host-guest encounters in the conservative Muslim setting of the Sultanate of Oman. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Tourism development has been recognised as a vehicle for economic benefits at a national and local community level. However, its growth is widely associated with detrimental socio-cultural, environmental and economic impacts with regards to local communities residing in tourist destinations. Negative impacts of tourism include adverse changes in local communities’ social capacity and quality of life, reflecting the socio-cultural drawbacks of tourism which, overall, could influence host attitudes towards tourists and the sustainability of tourism development. Although substantial literature on tourism’s socio-cultural and socio-economic impacts exist, little attention has been directed towards tourism’s socio-cultural impacts and its influence on host-guest relationship, particularly within emergent tourist destinations with conservative Islamic values.
To explore the socio-cultural impact of tourism and its influence on host-guest relationships in conservative Arab Muslim communities in the Sultanate of Oman; the specific cases of Bidiyah (a desert tourist destination) and Wadi Bani Khalid (WBK, a natural water-pool destination), both located in the Al Sharqia North Governorate, are investigated. This research applies ethnographic methodology, using a non-participating observer who takes an interaction approach through conducting 31 face-to-face semi-structured interviews in Bidiyah and 27 interviews in WBK with tourism stakeholders, including government representatives, tourism business, local community members, international and domestic tourists and an NGO representative in Bidiyah.
In addition, three focus group discussions are conducted with a group of four female craft-makers in Bidiyah, another four female craft-makers in WBK, and a group of five local community residents in WBK. The respondents are selected using the purposive sampling technique followed by snowballing and sequential methods. This study also applies document analysis to government reports, statistics and tourism brochures.
To enhance the understanding of host community attitudes towards tourism development and tourists, this study expands upon Doxey’s 1975 framework for studying relationships between host communities’ attitudes and tourists through the level of tourism development. This model suggests a linear evolution of attitudes from a positive position, becoming increasingly negative through four stages of tourism development: euphoria, apathy, annoyance and antagonism. This trend occurs in parallel with an increase in tourism. This study examines the socio-cultural impacts of tourism to assess tourism development from the host community’s perspective, thereby expanding upon Doxey’s model to explore host-guest relations in the context of the Sultanate of Oman.
This study contributes to the body of knowledge surrounding tourism development and its socio-cultural impacts on host-guest relationships in a conservative Muslim community setting; specifically, it explores the planning and development of host-guest relations in conservative Muslim destinations in Oman. This study’s first contribution is an empirical close study of the experiences of two distinct tourist destinations, and an in-depth investigation of the socio-cultural impacts of tourism on Bidiyah and WBK with tourism stakeholders. This study obtains and analyses the perceptions of key government representatives, host communities, tourism business operators and international and domestic tourists in both destinations.
This study also contributes to the theoretical model of Doxey’s Index by critically discussing the model and expanding it with the socio-cultural, economic and environmental dimensions of specific tourist destinations in influencing host attitudes towards tourists in conservative Muslim contexts. Finally, this study contributes to practice by providing tourism planners and policymakers with a deeper understanding of the socio-cultural dimension and its influence on host-guest relationships in conservative Muslim communities in Oman, which in turn impacts the level of host support for tourism development. Thus, this study seeks to help emergent tourist destinations with conservative Muslim communities to develop appropriate tourism strategies and management plans that can mitigate negative impacts and enhance positive host-guest relationships for the sustainable development of tourism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Precurrent Departments > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Supervisor's Name: MacLeod, Dr. Donald and Tiberghien, Dr. Guillaume
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Mrs Amina Abdullah Majid Al Balushi
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81780
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2020 09:41
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2024 08:30
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81780

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