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Major findings of social tourism research

Major findings of social tourism research
Now let’s move on to some major findings of social tourism research. In a major study that we did with the Family Holiday Association in a knowledge transfer partnership that run from 2010 to 2012, we studied questions of happiness factor of tourism, Subjective well-being and social tourism. So really this is concerned with how social tourism can affect general Subjective well-being. So, what is well-being? That was the first question that we had to ask ourselves. Questions of life satisfaction, the quality of our lives, The sense of contentment with our lives generally constitutes . what we consider to be Subjective well-being Subjective well-being is not a new concept either.
It’s an Aristotelian sense of living well or the good life or being contented with life or happy all together. So, we might consider that social tourists, don’t forget these people that have got severe types of disadvantage, families on low incomes, elderly people with disabilities and impairment, or people living with some other form of disabilities could maybe be considered to have lower levels of general Subjective well-being to ordinary members of society But we don’t really know that. So, we wanted to study Social well-being. So, we developed a subjective well-being scale. But we used established measures from the British Household Panel Survey, for example, and from the new economics foundation as well as some other sources.
So, we developed a scale that included some life domains. So, health, income, accommodation, family employment status, social life, the amount of leisure time that we have and the way that leisure time is spent. And then we also wanted to measure happiness. So here we use an established scale, a positive and negative affect scale. So that’s the time in the last week we were happy enjoyed life or the amount of time that we spent in the last week that was sad or depressed. And then we employed the Daisy and Ryan satisfaction with life scale. So, five items from that. In most ways, life is close to ideal, conditions of life are excellent. I have important things in my life.
If I could live my life over, I wouldn’t change a thing. And then we applied some other scales from the new economics foundation. These really looked at what we called eudaemonic well-being; psychological resources and social well-being or relationships. So, the way that relationships give us a sense of happiness as well. So, the social relationships scale included six items. How much time we spent with family, was enjoyable or stressful? How often do you meet socially with friends or colleagues? Do you have people in your life who care for you? And questions like that. And in terms of positive functioning, resilience and self-esteem, don’t forget, we mention that in relation to long term unemployed people.
In general,here we had four items, I feel positive about myself, at times I feel like I’m a failure, or I’m always optimistic about my future and so on. And you can see that there’s a balance of positive and negative items here. And then what did we do? We ask these questions. Do subjective well-being levels for social tourists change after a holiday? So, in other words, Does people feel happier and more optimistic about their future after they’ve had a holiday? And, Can the changes be attributed to the holiday? And do circumstances affecting social tourists affect their well-being? And what can we say about the well-being of social tourist compared to other populations? So, the general population, for example.
So, what did we find? We found that holidays do have an effect on self-reported well-being, Subjective well-being among social tourists, a really big effect in fact. Holidays impact on social and psychological aspects of well-being most, more than the general quality of life and satisfaction with life measures. And the link between Subjective well-being on holiday taking offers insights into the role that tourism can play on individual psychological states, and in the context of their social relationships. And it provides us with future opportunities to explore goals for tourism as well as well-being effects.
So, in other words, we can see that tourism can offer people a chance to reflect on their lives and to think about their lives in the context of, you know sort of other people’s lives and so on, which helps them sort of think beyond the immediate problems and challenges that they face with in their lives. On holidays should be included amongst the measures of subjective well being and do contribute to leisure related aspects of quality of life. Particularly, they provide some sort of balance and structured leisure time compared to sort of general bits of leisure time that we get after work and so on. And well-being scales are useful to compare amongst other vulnerable disadvantaged groups and to social norms.
So, we can look at social tourists and their general levels of wellbeing. And we can compare that with the general level of well-being of other people in society. And of course, It’s not my own research that has found these important benefits that can be derived from social tourism experiences. So, Neal Hazel for example, in 2005 suggests a range of benefits for both disadvantaged and socially included individuals and families from holiday taking. So, for example, relief from stressful or mundane situations on a break from routine, people who are living in really severely disadvantage situations rarely get an opportunity to get a break from those routine environments or situations.
And a holiday could really be beneficial in providing a well-deserved and well needed break. And of course, mental health and well-being benefits are really, really important. The work that I’ve done with all the charities in the UK shows that stress, anxiety, and other types of mental health conditions are the main issues affecting social or disadvantaged people. So, providing a holiday can really help with dealing with the anxiety, depression and other types of stress related mental health issues. And of course, holidays can encourage social interaction.
So, when we go on holiday, we are more likely to be in a better mood, We are more likely to be happy and we’re more likely to be able to meet and talk in a relaxed environment with other people. So social interaction is really important. And of course, a broadening of experience and widening of horizons. So social tourists and disadvantage people and more, generally have very few opportunities to experience different environments and different opportunities outside of their daily lives. So, the broadening of horizons is really an important benefit derived from social tourism experiences.
The development of independence, If you say to people, well you you’re going on holiday and you need to be able to look after yourself while you’re on holiday. It can help people feel that they’ve got a greater sense of independence and they don’t need to rely on other people or the state to help them so much. And that can help them feel more confident and optimistic about themselves and their lives going forward. And of course, a really, really important benefit is the strengthening of family relationships. When we’re on holiday together as a family, we spend quality time together. And that’s a really, really important benefit that helps repair and mend relationships within the family.
So, these are some of the really, really important ways in which social tourism can help and provide benefits to these disadvantage people.

In this video, you learn about a study on social tourism conducted by Scott McCabe and his team, and get many meaningful and interesting findings.

Social tourism have great impact on social and psychological aspects of well-being, more than the general quality of life and satisfaction with life. Are you interested in social tourism? Do you think social tourism has negative impact on society? If so, which research method do you think is more suitable for this research topic, qualitative or quantitative method?

Please feel free to leave a comment in the discussion area.

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Research Methods in Tourism Studies

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