Glocalization and Successful Tourism

Dynamic Language | July 12, 2016

disneyland-localization.jpgTraveling to exotic lands, tasting authentic cuisine from other parts of the world, viewing how other cultures live; all a brief representation of what tourism represents and what tourists say they want to experience when traveling abroad.  The interesting contradiction however, is that tourists want to experience the local culture while retaining westernized amenities.  Glocalization represents a blend of globalization and localization and tourist towns that have blossomed discovered this bridge is key to success. A tourist seeks the exotics in India but travels on tour buses with others like themselves and stay in five-star hotels that offer, internet, buffet, bottled water, pool, spa etc.

International tourism has become one of the most significant beneficiaries and vehicles of globalization in the last few decades.  Presentation, perception and interpretation of local cultures is an intrinsic part of international tourism and provides a direct link between western and non-western cultures.  While some may argue that globalization destroys the inherent culture localization aims to protect; the two when combined are creating an opportunity for tourism to transform local culture into cultural capital while retaining cultural heritage.

People have journeyed to witness historic places of cultural importance since ancient times, but what is new is the ever increasing speed, intensity and extent of travel and tourism.  Private and public sectors worldwide are converting cultural heritage resources into destinations and attractions, in a bid to obtain a piece of the lucrative global tourism pie.  Glocalization has been advocated as an attractive alternative to mass tourism, providing sustainable livelihoods to small local operators, protecting and sustaining the cultural resources, and educating tourists and locals alike. 

Globalization and localization working in conjunction can be seen both on a national and international scale.  In New Orleans, the Mardi Gras experience is one that represents the localized culture.  When visiting New Orleans, you will see the expected beads, masks, live jazz and creole that one would expect.  Larger companies have modified their local presence in order to further bridge this gap of comforts of home and experiencing new culture.  For example, Red Robin in the heart of the French quarter offers such items as cat fish n chips and gumbo on their menu.

In 2005, Disneyland was not that successful in Hong Kong with park attendance and growth revenues. Disneyland then made an effort to cater to the local Chinese taste by reducing prices, adapting to local Chinese customs and labor practices and also changed the decors and settings. Glocalization was successfully applied to the theme park in Hong Kong.

These few examples show a flourishing trend toward glocalization as a means to represent tourist towns with their locally known heritage and provide the westernized comforts of home.

Understanding the culture of the market place you are entering is the first step in merging your global brand with local cultures.  Dynamic Language specializes in localization for a variety of industries.  






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