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Abstract

Tourism is believed to be a peace industry based on the contact theory. However, not all interactions between tourists and hosts have a positive outcome. The purpose of this study is to test whether or not prior expectation and trip experience would impact the post-trip attitudes in multiple destinations. This study is based on the surveys conducted with two groups of students: 1) prior and post trip of a group of 66 students who went on study abroad program to the South Pacific (Australia and Fiji) or Europe (Austria and the Netherlands) , and 2) a control group of 80 students who did not participate in the study abroad programs. The results show that attitude changes were positive towards the Dutch and Australians,, negative towards Austrians, and mixed towards Fijians. Further investigation of experience during the trip shows that non-tourism related services experienced played an important role in changing the attitude towards Australians. This study supports the expectation theory, but contradicts the cultural distance theory of attitude change.

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TOURISM AND ATTITUDE CHANGE: THE CASE OF STUDY ABROAD STUDENTS

Tourism is believed to be a peace industry based on the contact theory. However, not all interactions between tourists and hosts have a positive outcome. The purpose of this study is to test whether or not prior expectation and trip experience would impact the post-trip attitudes in multiple destinations. This study is based on the surveys conducted with two groups of students: 1) prior and post trip of a group of 66 students who went on study abroad program to the South Pacific (Australia and Fiji) or Europe (Austria and the Netherlands) , and 2) a control group of 80 students who did not participate in the study abroad programs. The results show that attitude changes were positive towards the Dutch and Australians,, negative towards Austrians, and mixed towards Fijians. Further investigation of experience during the trip shows that non-tourism related services experienced played an important role in changing the attitude towards Australians. This study supports the expectation theory, but contradicts the cultural distance theory of attitude change.