Dr Tolkach, an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) hosted a research seminar featuring Assistant Professor Dr Denis Tolkach and his recent collaborative research on ‘Ethics of Chinese & Western Tourists in Hong Kong’.
The seminar was hosted in light of the rising tensions between visitors and residents due to inappropriate tourist behaviour, becoming increasingly observed in destinations around the world particularly rapidly growing tourist markets from Asia.
Dr Tolkach, an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management has undertaken teaching and research in Australia and Timor-Leste, prior to moving to Hong Kong in 2013.
He has been teaching a variety of subjects in the hospitality and tourism field including visitor management, contemporary issues in tourism and ethics & social responsibility.
In his presentation, Dr Tolkach argued that understanding tourists’ ethical judgments of different scenarios is important. His study asked tourists and residents to ethically evaluate five different scenarios, using a multidimensional ethics scale and rate the likelihood they are to engage in these scenarios while at home and on vacation.
The research was conducted in collaboration with Ms Christine Y.H. Zeng and former STHM staff member Dr Stephen Pratt.
An intercept survey of 1,827 questionnaires was collected from Hong Kong residents, Mainland Chinese and Western tourists. Teleological ethical theories may justify actions that are deemed ethically inappropriate by deontology or ethics of justice.
It was found that western tourists are more likely to engage in unethical behavior on holidays than at home while for mainland Chinese visitors, the opposite is true. The research also showed that Chinese tourists are less likely to engage in unethical behavior on vacation than at home.
Dr. Alexander Trupp, senior lecturer and leader of the postgraduate programmes at STHM stated that the area of ethical decision-making in travel and tourism contexts requires further attention.
The debating audience suggested that research approaches in the Pacific region be expanded.
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