For ages, tourists have been fascinated with “Other” cultures making it a primary reason for international travel. Several destinations around the world are blessed with cultural pluralism and proudly boast of being “multicultural”. These destinations comprise multiethnic migrant communities living in their respective “ethnic enclave” settings in a foreign land. Enclaves enrich the tourism product by pleasantly punctuating the cultural homogeneity of a destination and inviting attention towards other diverse exotic attractions. This study is an attempt to identify the distinct impressions of the ethnic enclave attractions of “Chinatown” and “Little India” in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore city, in order to determine the imprints of “otherness” left behind in the minds of tourists during their visits to these enclaves. The findings reveal that while authentic ethnic cuisine retains a dominant appeal of the “exotic other”, additional elements of cultural exoticism from these enclave settings are fast fading into oblivion. Rather than being identified as a showcase of a unique culture, the otherness of these ethnic enclave attractions is becoming more apparent in terms of their recognition merely as precincts for “inexpensive shopping”.
Keywords: “Other”, ethnic enclaves, cultural pluralism, Chinatown, Little India, tourism