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Opportunities and challenges for social tourism

Opportunities and challenges for social tourism
Now I’d like to go on and talk about some of the opportunities and challenges for social tourism. Don’t forget that tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, and growing at a really, really fast rate, much faster than other sectors in the global economy. So tourism for example, is creating a lot of wealth and a lot of opportunities for important leisure, leisure experiences for many people around the world. But of course, that creates problems as well as some opportunities for everybody. Not everybody can participate in all different societies. First of all, there’s the issue of rights, the rights to tourism.
So as we mentioned earlier, these are predicated on the universal declaration of human rights from 1948 and two particular rights that are contained within that universal declaration. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. Okay. While this provides people with an opportunity to take time off work, it doesn’t necessarily get converted into a social system of support to allow those people who don’t have enough money, even if they’re working or not to be able to enjoy a holiday. And the second one, everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own and return to his own country.
So the first thing to notice here in relation to social tourism is that the vast majority of social tourism activities are domestic tourism, so, don’t really involve international tourism. When we think about the global growth of tourism, the majority of tourism undertaken globally is domestic tourism rather than international tourism. But for social tourists, a short holiday away from home for four days, five days a week is enough to help them overcome some of the challenges and issues that they have and to give them a well-deserved break from the problems that they face in everyday life. But unless there’s some system of support to enable these people to take a holiday, then their rights are not being fully met.
So we can think about rights as being social rights as well as fundamental rights. Of course, as countries develop, what it means is that basic rights, basic needs, need to be attended to. So clean water, food, education, housing, these are much more important issues that a country faces to be able to modernize and develop its population. But as countries develop, and all of these basic needs are met, then it’s natural that everybody wants to enjoy leisure and holidays with their discretionary disposable income, but the rights are not being met. And so what that means is that we’ve got global inequality in wealth distribution as being widening, not getting smaller.
So as countries develop, and as they modernize and become wealthier, the wealth inequality tends to be uneven. So that means that there’s a creation of social exclusion. And that gap between the rich and the poor becomes wider, not smaller. So what´s social exclusion? the process in which individuals are blocked from or denied full access to various rights, opportunities, and resources that are available to everybody else in society. We can think about holidays as being one of those important resources, a normative resource that is available to most members of society, but not everybody in society. And there’s an important moral perspective here as well, about distributive justice.
So liberty and equality principles and equality of opportunities for everybody in society to access those rights and resources that are available to the majority of those people in society. And social tourism can be one way in which countries or regions can develop an inclusive agenda, if you like, or can contribute to social inclusion policies. We think about those important benefits of tourism, health, recovery of individual functioning systems to their prestress levels. So a holiday can help the recovery of individual functioning. A holiday can also contribute to stress relief, as I mentioned earlier. And leisure is an important buffer against stress to maintain good health.
Of course, if people are healthy and happy, that means that they have less need to go to the doctor and to have prescriptions or to go to the hospital or maybe go unemployed and they can contribute better to society. A good reason for including tourism in a social policy agenda and then there´s self-development so, tourism can help with personal growth and the desire to learn and interact with other communities and cultures. And that, of course, is an important benefit as well, and helps people broaden their horizons. And then there’s strengthening the family relationships through quality time together.
Well, that can help people feel happy and help them to achieve some of their longer life goals and improve psychological resources and social well-being. Additionally, social tourism can lead to a more sustainable tourism. Tourism needs to be sustainable into the future as it grows and develops, but often tourism is contributed in peak seasons. So social tourism often happens in the low season or the shoulder season. So it can help spread demand across the season. And it can generate activity and growth across Europe.
So that means that if we spread demand across the seasons more evenly, we get better quality jobs and longer lasting employment in tourism opportunities and tourism contributes about ten percent to global GDP and about nine percent of all employment. So that really means that social tourism can help create more and better jobs in the tourism sector. Not only does it help create jobs, but it helps spread the wealth and economic benefits more evenly and effectively, and can contribute to tax income and tax revenue to different countries. And of course, then there’s a social benefit of social tourism. So I can increase a sense of citizenship here in the European context.
The Calypso program, that the European Union developed in 2009-2010 was really predicated on the idea that social tourism can strengthen the whole tourism system, can make it more sustainable and contribute to European citizenship. So in conclusion then, there are three ways in which social tourism can benefit. First of all, there’s benefits to the individual that we talked about here. So that’s well-being benefits, health benefits, educational benefits for children. Because when children have had a holiday, they can learn more they´re more relaxed and they can achieve more when they go back to school. So whole range of ways in which investment in social tourism can contribute to individual benefits. But then of course, there are those benefits to society as well.
Society wins. If we encourage social tourism then we have a more inclusive society. If everybody can participate in social tourism opportunities, then we increase a sense of citizenship and distributive justice and can help active aging as well. So it can help people as society develops and grows, it can be more inclusive and fair and equal. And then of course, there´s a policy gain as well. And this means that down here we’ve got sustainability and productivity. So if we have social tourism, then we have a more sustainable tourism system within our region or country. And that means that we’ve got longer lasting seasons, more employment, greater tax revenue.
And of course, there’s other policy measures as well if people are happier, healthier, working more, then that means that they’re paying more taxes We’re not having to support them in terms of social welfare So for older people, for example, if they’re happier and more active and healthier and feel less isolated, then that means that the society has to pay less in social care and health care and in helping them to be socially integrated. So in a range of different ways, social tourism can have social policy benefits as well. So we’d like to think social tourism as having triple win, for individual, for society as a whole and also for policy

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

In reality, the development of social tourism faces both opportunities and challenges. From your perspective, can you talk about the biggest challenge facing social tourism?

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Research Methods in Tourism Studies

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