Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Jeanie H. Lim

Committee Members

Youn-Kyung Kim, Stefanie Benjamin, Sally J. McMillan


In recent years Saudi Arabia has made a great deal of effort in establishing and improving its tourism industry. These efforts include many infrastructure projects and programs that were not available in prior years. The purpose of this research is twofold: (1) To uncover the residents’ attitude toward the current transition in tourism development and (2) to explore Saudi residents’ experience of encountering non-Muslim tourists and domestic entertainments that expose the western culture. To achieve these objectives, two theories were adopted. Social exchange theory was used as a theoretical framework to explore Saudi residents’ attitudes toward the new tourism development. The theory of anxiety and uncertainty management was used as a theoretical framework to gain a better understanding of how residents feel about interacting with nonMuslim tourists. This study adopted the qualitative method with the phenomenological approach by conducting in-depth personal interviews with current residents in Saudi Arabia. Contrary to anxiety and uncertainty management theory, the findings of this study revealed that residents’ feelings of anxiety and uncertainty do not come from intercultural contacts with inbound tourists with different cultural backgrounds but from expected cultural dilution that might be caused by residents’ exposure to domestic entertainment events that promote the western culture. The findings of this study suggest that an increase in intercultural contacts by the tourism development can enhances social acceptance of otherness and benefit society. The study generated four main themes, including mixed perception of the new tourism development, support for tourism development, resistance to cultural impacts, and desire for sustainable tourism development. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.

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