“A Passport for the Beach”. Mixed Method Research on Moderation of Tourist Hosting and Media Exposure on Refugee Hosting Attitude Formation in Mytilene

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This paper tries to contribute to the range of theories on how local communities form attitudes towards hosting refugees, as well as provide an innovative link with the areas of tourism hosting and media studies. An overview of existing theories about refugee impacts, perceptions and beliefs is provided and illustrated through a symbolic interactionist approach on the case of Mytilene, a city on the island of Lesvos. The conclusions are drawn from a mixed-method research design in which both surveys and participatory observation were combined. Results show that perceived impacts of refugees on society and perceived duration of hosting refugees affect attitudes towards hosting refugees. Also, the belief about equal treatment between refugees and Greek citizens is indicatory for resulting attitudes. Furthermore, it appeared from the quantitative analysis that attitudes towards hosting tourists and exposure to media do not influence the variables that lead to different attitudes towards hosting refugees. Even though the observations found that tourists can challenge societal capacity and security, there was no proof for the idea that tourism hosting moderates attitude formation towards refugees. The impact of media exposure on attitude formation seemed non-existent, which might have to do with the variety in media discourse.
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