A Closer Look at Cultural Values: The Case of French Guests and Vietnamese Hosts


Series: Cultural Studies in the Third Millennium

BISAC: SOC005000

With a history of attracting French tourists since the 19th century and particularly during the colonial period, Vietnam has re-emerged as one of the most popular Asian destinations for the French. A number of factors augur well for a further increase in visitation. As a former colony, Vietnam has nostalgic appeal for many French visitors. After the release of the films L’ lndochine, L ‘amant, Le Cyclo, Papaye Vert, and the documentary-drama Dien Bien Phu in 1993, France became the main tourism source market for Vietnam.

As the ethnic composition of France has changed, the French are interested in learning about cultures generally and Asian cultures, in particular. The prospect of discovering new destinations and cultures encourages them to travel long-haul. They are quality conscious and culture loving, and prefer to use their own language when traveling overseas, favouring their own cuisine even though they do enjoy the cuisine of the host countries .Travel to Vietnam offers the prospect of fulfilling a number of their preferences. Another attraction for French tourists is that Vietnam is a member of the Francophone Community. Since 1988, the French legacy has experienced a resurgence with the renovation of colonial-style properties and restaurants. Tourists have been impressed by the French-style architecture, accommodation and cuisine that is available.

Despite Vietnam’s long history of contact with France, Vietnamese service providers are relatively ignorant about Western countries, their people and their values. Up to now Vietnam’s tourism authorities have paid little attention to the role of cultural understanding in the tourism development process and Vietnam’s overseas tourism promotions have given minimal acknowledgement of the cultural characteristics of source markets including those conducted in France. Servicing French tourists is likely to be a challenge for Vietnamese service providers because of the substantial differences between the respective host and guest cultures and rules of behaviour.

International tourism generally involves a cross-cultural component, particularly in the case of encounters between tourists and service providers. If it is accepted that the cultural values of Western travellers are different, it seems reasonable to conclude that the Vietnamese service providers need to consider the effect of this cultural dissimilarity on tourist–host mutual perceptions and social interaction in the intercultural service encounters. An understanding of areas of potential tourist dissatisfaction may assist the service providers to anticipate prospective negative perceptions and to address them, thereby contributing to overall holiday satisfaction, and improve the prospects of repeat visitation.

It is common for destinations to attract visitation from different source countries and cultures. Nonetheless, consumer behaviour literature on cross-cultural perceptions and interaction have been largely limited to homogeneous sample populations from Western countries. Furthermore, until now there are no published studies have specifically examined tourist–host service encounters interaction and mutual perceptions in the context of Vietnam as a holiday destination. Consequently, this research has both practical and academic significances. From the theoretical perspectives, this study provides an augmented comprehension on Argyle’s, Rokeach and SERVQUAL models. From the practical standpoints, this study offers service managers and marketers a heightened understanding of cross-cultural awareness for improving customer satisfaction. It acclaims an evidence base that can guide provision to meet the needs of international tourists with particular reference to the impact of rules of behaviour on tourist–host service encounters interaction. It accentuates the effect of cultural backgrounds on tourists’ perceptions towards and satisfaction with service quality. By this means, it applies the empirically based models to development related challenges confronting the tourism sector in the cross-cultural settings for designing appropriate strategies with the aim of gaining a competitive advantage.

Keywords: French Guests, Vietnamese Hosts, Cultural Values, Rules of Behaviour, Interactions, Satisfaction, Service Attributes and Performances.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Literature Review

Chapter 3. Methods

Chapter 4. Results

Chapter 5. Interpretation and Discussion

Chapter 6 Conclusion and Implications



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