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A discussion as to whether race affects an individual’s tourism experience

A discussion as to whether race affects an individual’s tourism experience
Author: Jenny Noriega
1 Commentries
Key Words
Racism, Discrimination, Tourism, Ethnicity, African American

This conference paper discusses the impact an individual’s ethnicity has on their tourism experiences. It aims to identify whether African American tourist receive discrimination and racial profiling while travelling. It will also use semi structured interviews to gather primary data from one participant. The paper also aims to analyse and examine, how ethnic minorities are dealing with the issue of racism and discrimination.

Many ethnic minorities receive discrimination and prejudice within the tourism industry (Mitten and Wodak,1993). This paper looks exclusively at how marginalised groups are being treated negatively. This is a valuable topic to research as we live in a more connected and globalised world (Hurrell and Woods,1995). This paper also aims to raise further awareness for discrimination and racism within the tourism industry.

The literature review highlights the lack of media representation of ethnic minorities within the tourism sector (Alderman, 2013). It also explains how African American people feel that they are not welcome at particular tourist destinations as a result of this. Moscardo and Pearce (1999) argued that in some cases ethnic minorities are more willing to participate in activities and engage more while visiting cultural and heritage attractions. This therefore results in them having a more enhanced experience as they participate more. Stephenson and Hughes (2005) explained in a research study that black Caribbean people often have a different experience when traveling due to racism and discrimination. It explained that they are often disengaged from the experience due to lack of representation. During the literature review very, little information was found regarding individuals experience due to ethnicity. This clearly highlights a gap in the research, meaning primary data is needed.

Primary data was collected by using semi structured interviews (Clifford et al., 2016). This was in order to gather first-hand information from a participant who has experienced racial profiling while traveling. This method was chosen as it allows the researcher to gather in-depth primary data and allows the conversation to flow naturally. The participant was a middle-aged black Caribbean male, who travellers for business and leisure purposes. The participant answered 25 questions around the topic of racism, discrimination and their visitor experience. They discussed what negative experiences they have had while travelling and visiting tourism attractions. The participant gave new insights into their personal stories while travelling. He also explained that he has faced many instances of discrimination and racial profiling particular at the airport. This meant he had to go through extra security checks.

The primary data indicated that there is a clear issue with ethnic minorities being treated poorly while travelling as a result of racism or prejudice. This, therefore, means that the tourism sector is not fully promoting equality and is potentially losing business as a result. The paper also highlights that there is a lack of research surrounding the topic, in regards to individuals experience. One key recommendation for the future is to make media advertisements more inclusive. This means using marginalized groups such as ethnic minorities to be in the adverts. This may be a tourism magazine for example or a holiday brochure. This makes people feel more represented and therefore more welcomed and accepted. It could also potentially make their visitor experience more enjoyable.

- Alderman, D. (2013) Introduction to the Special Issue: African Americans and Tourism, Tourism Geographies, 15:3, 375-379, DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2012.762544
- Mitten, R. and Wodak, R., (1993) On the discourse of racism and prejudice. Folia linguistica, 27(3-4), pp.191-216.
- Stephenson, M. and H. Hughes (2005) Racialised boundaries in tourism and travel: a case of the black Caribbean community. Leisure studies 24 (2), 137-60
A similar issue examined ...
Author: Chioma Peters
This discussion paper addresses how racial discrimination affects ethnic minorities access to tourism – a similar issue examined in my paper but focuses particularly on how they are disengaged from travel experiences due to a lack of media representation, an element of the topic that I undervalued, therefore, I found the authors comments informative and was intrigued to discover how the author assessed this angle of this topic that I neglected.

The author has aptly reviewed how marginalised groups are treated differently due to factors such as race and ethnicity within the tourism industry (Mitten and Wodak,1993) currently still a prevalent issue. The critical evaluation of ethnic minorities feeling unwelcome in certain places due to a lack of media representation (Alderman, 2013) was very interesting as the author cites that they disengage from travel experiences because of this (Stephenson and Hughes, 2005) this could be an indication of a coping strategy they adopt to avoid experiencing racism and discrimination and would require further analysis.
The author should be commended on the adoption of primary research to gain further knowledge on the topic of how race and ethnicity impact tourism experiences and to substantiate the topics examined in the literature review. By doing so, the author has contributed to the study of race and tourism participation which still remains somewhat underdeveloped (Stephenson and Hughes, 2005).

This paper, however, could be further strengthened by utilising concepts to support the research. Since the author conducted an interview with a middle-aged black Caribbean male, the author could have used the intersectionality concept as a means to understand how factors such as gender and race intersect to produce advantage and/or disadvantage and influence on travel experiences (challenges experienced and coping strategies developed because of that) (Higgins Desbiolles, 2020).

Nonetheless, this is a well-researched paper that has broadened my knowledge of the issue. The author also made relevant recommendations to make media adverts more inclusive of ethnic minorities and the references used are suitable for the topic of the paper and compliment the authors' findings.

Carter, P. (2008) Coloured Places and Pigmented Holidays: Racialized Leisure Travel. Tourism Geographies, 10(3), pp.265–284.

Cheong, S. and Miller, M. (2000) Power and tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 27(2), pp.371–390.

Higgins Desbiolles, F. (2020) Diversity in tourism: a perspective article. Tourism Review, 75(1), pp.29–32.