Needs for Improving Non-Verbal Communication Skills of Thai Homestay Staff in the New Normal Tourism Context, Chiang Mai

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Supornphan Konchiab
Krongkan Kappina
Witchayaporn Charoennaiwongphao

Abstract

This research investigated the needs to improve the non-verbal communication (NVC) skills of homestay staff for accommodating international tourists in the new normal tourism context. The mixed-methods design comprised two phases. In Phase 1, the preliminary study was conducted by observation and semi-structured interviews to gain insights into the needs for developing English communication skills. Eight homestay providers and staff in Mae Na, Chiangdao District were the focus. In Phase 2, the needs survey for improving NVC was conducted with 15 homestay staff in Chiang Mai, using a five-point rating scale questionnaire regarding the significance of NVC, frequency of using NVC, and communication problems in homestay. The results showed that NVC was essential for expressing their feelings and enhancing their interaction with international tourists. The most common NVC included gestures, eye contact, and hand symbols. Besides, the most challenging communicative tasks in homestay were asking for cooperation in keeping distance in English, talking about shuttle service in English, and introducing proper hygiene in English. Implications for improving their NVC skills included raising awareness and understanding of NVC used in different countries; practicing NVC along with English vocabulary and expressions, Thai transcriptions, and translation; as well as learning from visualizations to gain understandings of NVC.

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