Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C Travellers to Muslim countries need to be culturally intelligent, or run the risk of a negative experience for themselves and their hosts, a researcher has advised. Muslim countries are faced with finding a balance between developing their tourism industries and ensuring that their culture is not eroded in the process, senior lecturer Dr Noel Scott of The University of Queensland’s School of Tourism said. This fear of cultural erosion is leading the governments of some Muslim countries to pick and choose the types of tourists that they target in their marketing campaigns.“Tourism is a focus for change in society and I suspect tourism is a leading sector that is being used in Muslim countries to explore issues of how society should develop,” Dr Scott said. Whilst tourism exposed Muslim culture to a wider array of social practices and belief systems, western tourists needed to do their homework before visiting because acceptable behaviour differed from one country to the next. That governments were becoming selective of whom they prefer to visit their country reinforced the need for tourists to understand the nature of Islamic law and respected customs.“Saudi Arabia does not want western tourists to come along and offend local people. They want economic development from tourism, but they are not prepared to compromise their principles to have it,” Dr Scott said.“The more wealthy the country, the more they are able to determine what sort of tourism they want.“Look at the different Muslim countries and you will see people developing tourism differently.”Tourists also needed to understand that Muslim countries were unlikely to be suitable places to go for activities such as sunbathing in skimpy outfits, he continued.“Why do you go on holidays? These are places you go to learn more about the country. You should wear reasonable clothing. It is probably more appropriate for the climate anyway.“If a holiday is about freedom for young people to do whatever they want and they might wear short dresses, perhaps they should think about that before they go. There are other places you can go for that.”Dr Scott is currently researching with colleagues from Minia University in Egypt on visitor experiences at the Pyramids of Giza.