Title: From the Costa Del Sol to Vietnam: culture, behaviour and ethnographic inquiry in tourism studies

Authors: Nuno F. Ribeiro

Addresses: Tourism and Hospitality Management, School of Business and Management, RMIT University Vietnam, 702 Nguyen Van Linh Blvd., District 7, HCMC, Room 2.2.31, Vietnam

Abstract: In this research note, I discuss culture, taken as a cognitive construct derived from Goodenough's (1967b) definition, as a cornerstone concept in tourism studies. Reflecting on my experience as a hospitality practitioner and as a tourism scholar, I marshal autoethnographic evidence to support the view that ethnographic inquiry is perhaps the most useful tool at the disposal of tourism scholars to make significant forays into the study of tourism. Specifically, I contend that issues that tourism scholars deal with such as excessive dependency on recall data, lack of understanding of relevant local conceptual categories, responder and researcher's bias, a narrow focus on quantitative measurement, and dogmatic epistemological attachment can all be ameliorated through the use of ethnographic research. I conclude by discussing food tourism in Vietnam as a case study where ethnographic inquiry is particularly valuable for tourism research. Implications for current literature and directions for further research are discussed.

Keywords: anthropology; autoethnography; behaviour; cultural anthropology; cross-cultural research; culture; ethnography; ethnographic inquiry; tourism; tourism anthropology; tourist behaviour; Vietnam.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2019.107321

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2019 Vol.7 No.3/4, pp.256 - 267

Received: 19 Jul 2019
Accepted: 21 Oct 2019

Published online: 13 May 2020 *

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