industry run by people and for people. The real potential for the tourism and hospitality
companies lies in their people. Each person’s differences bring unique and special gifts
to the organization. Cultural differences among employees and customers can make or
break the industry. If the industry is to flourish in the future, the managers of tourism’s
multinational companies need to be flexible and adapt to the growing number of people
from culturally diverse groups. Tourism industry representatives need to be able to
identify unique individual and cultural skills and utilize them appropriately.
A wide variety of people with different demographic, socio-cultural, and economic
characteristics, religions, and beliefs live in different countries and continents.
in their behaviors and values reflect a wide cultural diversity in these countries
and regions. In the United States, one third of the population is represented by
multicultural or multiethnic groups of people. The three major ethnic groups living
in the United States are African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans. Cultural
diversity often refers to multiculturalism, which describes the nature of a society
whose members are from different ethnic and religious groups. Cultural diversity
advocates equal status and rights for these groups.
Cultural diversity is important for the long-term survival of humankind on earth. Its
importance has been recognized by UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural
Diversity, adapted in 2001. Cultural diversity brings numerous benefits to the workplace,
including greater innovation, creativity, and responsiveness to consumer
demands, increased productivity, and more effective competition. Cultural diversity
determines management styles and practices of tourism and hospitality organizations.
Knowledge of the culture of the company’s employees and customers is important to
understanding how they will behave and how to manage them.
The importance of cultural diversity for global business will grow in significance
due to the increasing multicultural workforce and migration, growing international
ownership, and changes in demographics and the structure and composition of the
workforce. The major challenge for the tourism and hospitality industry is to utilize
cultural diversity as its competitive advantage.