196 Countries

Is Your Tourism Business Culturally Sensitive?

“Operating a business in the tourism industry can be detrimental to your humility and pocket-book if you aren’t culturally sensitive or a have a bad sense of humor.” Kelly Little

What may be acceptable in one country or Culture may not be in the next. My story Tasteless Tourism on the Racist Train is a testament to that quote and speaks volumes of the need to practice Cultural Sensitivity and accountability.

In this case, one uneducated curator allowed a public display of what appeared to be a decapitated black man at the hand of the KKK that was dripping with racial sarcasm.  The owner excused it away when I called her out by claiming ignorance and stating that the decapitated head was not an African-American/Canadian but a Russian.

Cases such as this are harmful to tourism but more importantly to the people who have survived or lost a life to these types of abusive ideologies.

Tour operators must have a keen sense of what they are trying to portray or promote and the effects thereof. If not, they are adding fuel to a fire that should have lost its spark years ago.

Although the display I wrote my story around had historical relevance, it was seriously unnecessary and in extremely poor taste.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the same type of display, blatant ignorance and disregard depicted the Holocaust and the Jewish plight?

THAT, would NEVER happen and if it did, all HELL would break loose!

Please take heed if you are a service provider in the tourist industry.

Brush up on your history or take a Cultural Anthropology class.

Get to know whom you are showcasing and whom you are targeting; your sensitivity to their past will speak volumes about global tourism and your reputation in the future!


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