Why knowing about different cultures is good for business

  • 27 November 2014 | Kolosa Vuso

We’ve covered the benefits of being welcoming to visitors to South Africa, and can all agree that service with a smile goes a long way.

But what can also improve your business significantly is learning about the different cultures of our visitors.

Our tourist toolkit offers information on tourists from different countries, to help you greet them in their own language, and to ensure they have a pleasant stay in our country.

A tourist visiting from China, for example, would appreciate being greeted formally with, 'Nǐn hǎo' (neen howw).

According to an article by Gobinder Gill, a diversity training expert and the best-selling author of Achieving Prosperity through Diversity, understanding different cultures and etiquettes is important because “the business world is becoming extremely intertwined as people from different cultures and nations begin to work together”.

He encourages people to learn more about others’ cultures so as to avoid stereotypes and embrace variety.

Your business or establishment would benefit from learning as much as possible about visitors’ cultures and mannerisms, and their expectations.

Cultural differences can also affect communications in a positive or negative manner, hence the need to learn more.

Speaking loudly because of language barriers, for example, could paint you in a negative light because of a lack of understanding of your client’s background and culture.

Make sure to take notes from our tourist toolkit. Also, don’t forget the basics, such as a friendly smile and attitude.