Schools Training

Catering to International Tourists

19 FEB 2013
Career Path : Hospitality

Tourists come from two locations, the local visitor who wants to see a bit more of their own home, and the international traveller. Whether they’re taking some time away from business or their strictly for pleasure, international visitors can be a great source of tourism revenue, and for the most part, people are the same the world over. However sometimes they need special attention. Some of this is taught in tourism diploma programs and some of it is very regional.


Certain areas attract different sorts of tourist. Some of it is proximity. Bordering countries get lots of neighbours passing through. This is relatively easy to deal with as they have a good chance of knowing what they’re visiting before they get there. Another popular source of visitors is amongst countries who share a common language or colonial background.  For example Commonwealth countries visit each other a lot. And of course areas with heavy immigration also attract tourists, who may even be staying with family.


More unusually, sometimes an area will have a magnetic attraction to a particular group. The landmarks mentioned in Anne of Green Gables draw an enormous amount of Japanese tourists annually, who adore the story. That’s just one of the inexplicable things about the nature of tourism; sometimes people just like a particular place that’s very far apart from their home and culture.


Cultural friction is generally the issue that international tourists have. They may not be as confident with the local language. If you get a lot of tourists from a particular area, being multi-lingual can be a good idea. You can even study abroad in their country, for some full immersion. However, if that’s too much of a commitment, alongside your tourism management school courses, taking a few introductory classes and learn the basics. Sometimes all a nervous tourist needs is a friendly greeting in their own language to get the confidence to know they’re among friends.


International tourists will likely have saved up for a long time to afford to take the trip. Their expectations for customer service may be tempered by what they expect at home. Some countries do not do tipping, not because they don’t appreciate good service but because their service staff is paid more.  Another thing that varies is the amount of personal space, and the eye contact people expect and even facial expressions. North Americans tend to be very friendly, which can be off putting to some travellers. It’s not that the guest isn’t happy to be there, it’s just a cultural thing!


When faced with hiccups like that think about what you’ve studied in your tourism diploma programs. A good host never embarrasses guests, but if they seem a bit at sea, it’s okay to explain a bit of your homeland if they ask. Tourists are almost always curious about the world.



Visit Canadian Tourism College for information on various tourism training, including resort management.