Culture, Hospitality and Tourism

The word “culture” cannot be defined with a precise and singular definition. In fact, Raymond Williams, a leading cultural theorist, pointed out “Culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (Williams 1983:87). There are more than one hundred definitions of culture depending upon the various academic disciplines, ranging from literacy studies to anthropology and sociology. Different scholars have different views about what constitutes the concept and meaning of culture.

Even though culture has different definition and meaning, the term used to define it, is used as if its meaning is clear. Culture has often been defined as the people’s way of life. It is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Tylor, 1874, p. 1). Culture defines the very way we live. It’s not just that people from different country have different religion, the people living within the same country have different culture as well.

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Culture comprises an entire set of social norms and responses that condition people’s behavior; it is acquired and inculcated, a set of rules and behavior patterns that an individual learns but does not inherit at birth, it enables people to make sense out of their world, and it is foreign only to those outside (Hall, 1973; Roeber and Kluckhorn, 1952). Fundamentally, groups of individuals develop their own environment as an adaptation to the physical environment, and they pass down their customs, practices, and traditions from generation to generation (Harris and Moran, 1979).

Culture has many sides and to understand the true meaning of culture one must understand the meaning of these sides. Culture refers to the social heritage, traditions, way of life, human environment, dress appearance, food eating habits, behavior, rules of social life, values and norms, beliefs and attitudes, sense of self, ways of thinking and ding things, work and leisure habits, time, cognitive knowledge, mental process learning, language, information and communication, symbols meanings, perceptions, religious, differences and similarities and material life etc.

Many people believe culture manifests itself in music, literature, painting, sculpture, theatre, and film. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization described culture as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group that encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyle, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs (UNESCO, 2002). Culture In terms of hospitality context is bringing in people from different age, sex, location, society or county together with different beliefs, values and norms to work in coordination with each other.

It also represents different food, drinks, literature, music, dance, sports etc. Today the world has indeed become a smaller place due to the advances in the high speed transportation, television, telecommunication and internet which we are very thankful of. People today from different walk of life with similar age from different location or countries are alike as they wear the same kind of clothing or designers, even eat the same kind of food and drink e. g. Mc Donald, pizza hut, and coca- cola and probably listen to similar music, wear the same adidas running shoes etc.

Globalization does not have a universal definition but it can be referred to the intensification of global interconnectedness, particularly the spread of capitalism as a production and market system. It also refers to innovations in technologies of communication and transportation, which are reconfiguring social relationships spatially, temporally, and in terms of speed (McGrew 1992; Robins 1997; Tomlinson 1997). People from all over the world are moving around to different location or different countries for better opportunities and so are the bigger companies.

These companies are involved in corporate partnership such as joint ventures to maintain their sustainability and at the same time helps in the increasing internalization of markets and the way organizations operate. In terms of hospitality industry large Multinational Corporation are hotels, tour operators, airlines, e. g. Mc Donald, Intercontinental, Radisson Blu, Hilton, Thomas Cook, Thomson, American Express, Pizza Hut etc. Huge number of people travels every day to different location.

These tourists often demand the same kind of products and service which they have been used to or costumed to at their country. People now can have the same kind of food and service everywhere they travel in the world. Due to the movement of people from one place to another, people now have settled in different countries. These minority communities have established themselves in many ways and one of them has been in the hospitality sector by giving the other people the taste of their country and culture.

There are china downtowns in almost every country and even Indian, Thai, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French restaurant all over the world. It might be quiet hard to believe but there are few Nepalese restaurant in Edinburgh as well mainly named as Khukuri, Gorkha or Everest restaurant Thus, making the hospitality industry very global. With the globalization of the hospitality industry one has the chance to interact with people from different country and understand their nature, their way of life, and even enjoy food and music while seated at their restaurant.

The fastest mean of transportation and its cheap flight has helped people move around the world without any difficulty. Tourism helps in bringing different culture together and at the same time help in the contribution to the economy of a country. These people who travel around the world generally would like to have a new experience, see something related to cultural tourism such as heritage, arts, creative, urban culture, rural culture, indigenous culture and experimental culture (MK Smith, 2009) . Therefore, it is very important that the host country preserves it culture.

There are some positive and negative impact of culture in hospitality which could cause change or loss in the local identity and values which the tourist might have expected. The culture could be commodized just to meet the tourist expectation called “reconstructed ethnicity”. If this process goes on for a longer time, people might actually forget their real culture. Some Hindu temples in Nepal are very sacred and thus the tourists from another country are not allowed to go in. This could be because cow is a sacred animal in Nepali religion and regarded as god whereas a lot of other foreigners who visit Nepal eat cow.

Tourist have their own needs , they often look for a familiar place to dine or drink coffee but it is also very important for the locals to understand that these facilities should not be very new or very must touristic. It’s important to remember that they are here to experience something completely new. There are some traditional restaurants in Nepal which are a huge attraction for the tourist. They serve local food and drinks and at the same time there is a touch of music and dance too. The commodification of the products creates a staged authenticity and quickly cultural erosion may occur.

Therefore, it is very important not to go beyond the limitation. Improvising is good but extensive improvising might not be the right idea. It is always very nice to have your homework done before visiting a different country. Having done a little research won’t hurt but instead it gives a general idea of what the country is like and the people behavior is. Respecting other culture is very important. E. g. women in the Muslim country are supposed to be covered while outside, cow is regarded as god in Hindu religion etc. These might not seem to be anything for the foreign countries but it could be a very big deal for the host country.

Some tourist might not care about these issue and may drink alcohol publicly, sunbath topless etc. which might cause cultural clash causing disputes between the host country and the tourists. Religion is the way of life in Nepal where both Hindu and Buddhist are closely connected to each other and live in harmony. This is the kind of impression that a tourist should have before and after visiting the country. No matter what, it is very important to keep our culture alive because, it’s who we are. That is what, identifies or separates us from the other people’s culture.

Cultural diversity is about understanding and respecting the differences, values, behavior, and belief. It is about how two people communicate and react based on their cultural differences. “People are different from one another in many ways- in age, gender, education, values, physical ability, mental capacity, personality, experience, culture and the way each approaches work. Gaining the diversity advantage means acknowledging, understanding, and appreciating these differences and developing a workplace that enhances their values- by being flexible enough to meet needs and preferences- to create a motivating and rewarding environment”.

Jamieson and O’ Mara (1991: 3-4). Nepal is a landlocked country, sandwiched between two huge nations India and China. Although, being a small nation it has 60 ethnic groups and more than 92 spoken languages. Kathmandu which is the capital of Nepal is also the most diverse city as people from different region live here. It is where countless number of hospitality industries is situated including some big hotels, franchises restaurants and various local restaurant and bars. It’s not been very long since the fast food giants Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Pizza Hut have been launched in Darbarmarg, Kathmandu, Nepal.

On the 23 of November 2009, Nepalese people got the taste of some American food chain. This is huge for the Nepalese people and the economy of the country as the country hope for more multinational companies to join Nepal creating better job opportunities to the locals. Before the opening of these franchises, staffs were recruited and suitable candidate were sent to India for a month training which included the service, preparation of the food, giving the staff the knowledge of the franchise and also the working environment.

Nepal is a very popular destination for tourist who wants to trek, as eight of the fourteen highest mountain lie in Nepal. A lot of tourist enjoy their treks are sometimes during the trek they are invited over to the villagers house for some food and drink and maybe for a nights rest as well. This helps the other people understand the way of life of Nepalese rural culture and at the same time share their thoughts and their culture with them. Tourist being invited over to house seems to have disappeared as more and more contemporary B & B are available for the tourist.

The food menus in these rural areas are provided by the Nepalese government for the tourist and are likely to be similar in all the other lodges and accommodation in the area. The reputed hotels in Nepal often have cultural night dinner where typical Nepalese food and drinks are served and various forms of songs and dances are performed to give the tourist a little hint of the diverse culture in Nepal. These hotels also do other theme night such as French, English nights depending upon the necessity of the situation.

Most of the hospitality industry in Nepal prefers to use local produce where as some reputed hotel might use foreign products to satisfy their customer needs. Due to the very poor condition of the Nepalese economy most of the people from Nepal are found working in the hospitality industry of gulf countries such a as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Jordan and also Malaysia, japan, Korea, Hong Kong etc. As part of the culture most of the Nepalese may not have the interaction skills as they prefer to stay quiet and seems more comfortable to them unlike other cultures where interaction is a must.

Eye contact is regarded disrespectful where as in other culture eye contact is necessary to make sure that the person has understood what has been said. Anyone who is elder to your or someone in a higher position than you are not called by their names. They are either call Mr. , Mrs. , Sir, uncle and aunty. Like in most of the houses in Nepal, the Nepalese people prefer to eat their meal with their right hands. Culture is a very important issue that has been unnoticed which control almost every aspect of our daily lives especially in our corporate culture. To manage this diversity in culture it is very important that we learn from others by bserving their behavior, body language, observing how they interact and try and to resemble what they are doing as certain body languages and sign languages might not be appropriate in other’s culture but which might seem perfectly normal in other culture. it is very important to appreciate the differences, respect other values and patience is also required for example some cultures has the habit of giving a very long answer for a very simple question which could have been answered in a sentence. With a lot of people living and working abroad cultural ideas are shared which helps bring in different cultural aspects in the country.

The practice of inviting tourist home for food and drinks should be encouraged rather than focusing on the modern B&B. It keeps the culture alive. Women are needs to be encourages working in the hospitality industry in spite of a lot of motivation from their respective colleges. It could be their parents or the society that forbids them to work in the hospitality sector. A person who has worked abroad has made a huge impact in the development the hospitality sector with their skill and knowledge they have learnt from abroad.

People who are working abroad needs to be encouraged to come home and provide them with better opportunities so that they can help improve the Nepalese hospitality sector. The tourist are generally looking for authenthicty rather than culture that has been commodized. Nepal has the potential to serve the tourist expectation of they are seeking to see and learn from the culture. Hiking gives a real view of what culture of Nepal is as you walk through different villages you can feel that the villages has not been affected by these more contemporary culture.

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Culture, Hospitality and Tourism. (2017, Apr 01). Retrieved from