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Eureka: Algerian tourism, culture shock and Korean wave promotion Eureka: Algerian tourism, culture shock and Korean wave promotion
by Jay Gutman
2018-05-13 10:03:05
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What's been in the news I've been reading lately is Algeria trying to promote its tourism and South Korea trying to promote the Korean wave. Here are my two cents on those two issues, plus my two cents on culture shock.

algerian0001Algerian tourism. There are two types of tourism. Tourism in countries labeled as “safe and open to foreigners” and tourism in countries deemed “dangerous and hostile to foreigners.” In countries deemed safe and open to foreigners, tourists tend to go alone and with their families, stay in one spot or travel around the country, are sedentary or adventurous. Some like to visit the wineries, others like to taste as much local food as they can find, others like to take pictures in as many spots as they can, others travel around the country by train or by bus and look for the more tranquil spots. Of course even in the safest countries tourism can at times be dangerous, as in pick-pockets chasing tourists and trying to steal large sums of cash, or tourists losing their bags or belongings. Most of Europe, East Asia and to a certain extent Turkey, Argentina, Chile and India, perhaps even Vietnam and Thailand, of course Malaysia, Singapore and Australia tend to be considered safe destinations.

In destinations like Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Mexico or the Philippines, which can be considered dangereous or very dangerous to roam around and hostile to foreigners, a lot of the tourism is what I like to call “beach resort” or “desert resort” tourism. That is a lot of the tourists tend to go to a resort at the beach or in the desert, enjoy spending time there, perhaps go on a couple of guided tours or excursions, visit the local market a couple of times, go on frills, and spend the rest of the time at the local beach or desert resort. Some resorts can be isolated, other locations can group several resorts and be built like small towns linking the several resorts. Of course, normal cities or towns tend to be off-limits for tourists, and tourists are warned at their arrival to the resort that they should not venture outside the resort. The target age group and social group for such tours is professionals in their thirties or forties or fifties, single or married without children or with teenage or older children. 

Now to culture shock theory. A lot of the literature does not explain clearly why people who travel tend to experience culture shock. In culture shock theory, people tend to go from stages of a honeymoon phase lasting three months where everything seems nice and wonderful, then to a shock phase which tends to last a year where people keep comparing cultures and miss their home country, to an adaptation phase where people adapt to the local country and lead more or less normal lives in the normal country.

What is often not discussed is that people who relocated abroad tend to do so as part of an organization, either a school or a workplace, or go abroad looking for work. For those who go abroad looking for work, the honeymoon phase tends to be a lot shorter, and the shock phase tends to emerge within days of their relocation, especially if they don't have all the required skills of funds to survive in the country.

For those who are part of organizations, you need to keep in mind that they will be welcome at the orgnaization at the beginning, and new members tend to be treated cordially at organizations. As guests, as foreigners, as people from outside lands, they tend to be viewed with surprise and curiosity, tend to receive a lot of attention and tend to be treated as the best guests. So obviously all that attention makes for a honeymoon phase. But then members of the organization tend to get used to the new person and go back to acting in their original ways, there is no more novelty in the new member, and the harsh reality of getting good grades or performing well on the job tends to set in. So it will take about a year before the new member of the organization and other members of the organization get used to each other.

Finally, regarding the promotion of the Korean wave, the main questions that Korea needs to ask is do they want to promote artistic products, or do they want to promote sales? Of course the goal is sales of the product, but if sales take over the artistic value of the product, sales will have trouble picking up. That is I see a lot of promotional events for Korean cultural products, but I don't see interaction between Korean artists or promoters and the general public. This tends to give viewers the impression that promoters want to take the money and run. So the idea is to promote the artistic value of the product, be it a movie, soap opera or music album, and then try to think about promoting sales. Of course sales don't always follow logical patterns, as some albums can be written and produced in 5 days and sell record numbers while others can take months to produce and perform poorly in sales. Some record-selling artists can sell millions of albums for their debut album, and sell very few albums for their follow-up album. 

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