An Analysis of Fostering Intercultural Competence Among Host Communities in Hostels (Case Study: Hostelling International Santa Monica) – Completed 06/2016

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The tourism industry is one of the world’s largest industries, contributing over seven trillion U.S. dollars in 2014 (The Statistics Portal, 2014). It is also frequently highlighted as a possible agent in promoting peace, as well as improving cross-cultural understanding. In particular, tourist accommodations can allow for such opportunities. This research analyzes how hostelling, in particular, Hostelling International Santa Monica, serves as an avenue to foster intercultural competence for host communities. This study uses a combination of grounded theory and ethnographic research methods, in order to conceptualize a process model of fostering intercultural competence. Conceptualizing the hostel as an intercultural space, this research identifies the importance of purposeful facilitation to foster engagement, self-reflection and behavioral transformation for improved intercultural competence. This study illustrates hostels as an embassy to improving cross-cultural understanding. It recognizes the potential for hostelling to foster diverse understanding and cultivate intercultural competence. It also serves to solidify Hostelling International USA’s contribution to broadening cultural exchanges, encouraging intercultural dialogue and educating for peace. 

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