Postprint of: Moyle, BD, Croy, WG & Weiler, BV 2010, 'Tourism interaction on islands: the community and visitor social exchange', International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 96-107.
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the cultural interaction between communities and visitors to islands using social exchange theory to enhance the understanding of the island experience. Design/methodology/approach - The method consisted of 30 in-depth interviews with community and tourism stakeholders, and formed part of a multi-phase study that used social exchange theory as the lens to illuminate a range of perspectives of island interaction. This paper presents a comparative case study of Bruny Island in Tasmania, and Magnetic Island in Queensland, Australia. Findings - Findings revealed that local community members have a wide range of motivations for entering into social exchanges with visitors, ranging from solely economic, to a genuine desire to provide quality experiences. Additionally, findings showed the nature of island cultural interaction could vary immensely, from welcoming and meaningful exchanges through to superficial and even hostile contact. Research limitations/implications - As this research is on two islands in Australia, within a particular timeframe, the results may not be representative of island communities generally. Nonetheless, the results are indicative of locals' perceptions of their interactions with visitors. Practical implications - The findings have a range of practical implications for the management of local and visitor interaction on islands. A key implication for island communities is the importance of developing programs that educate and inform locals about the potential benefits of interaction. Additionally, this research illustrates how islands can use cultural interaction to differentiate their tourism product and market island experiences. Originality/value - The paper's contribution is its use of social exchange theory at a micro-level to illuminate a range of local community members' perspectives of their tourism exchanges, in order to enhance understanding of the complex process of interaction between locals and visitors to islands.