Tourism equals pleasure, reward, sensory delights, indulgences and self-gratification. These qualities have fuelled a remarkably resilient global industry which Britons have embraced with a seemingly an unquenchable thirst. Yet tourism can also equal quality family time, learning, wellbeing, relaxation and recuperation, broadening horizons. A simple short break away from a monotonous and/or risky domestic life, can be intensely meaningful, even transformative. Given these polarised goals or outcomes of tourism, is there any benefit to be gained from considering the idea of fairness in a tourism context? Is it possible to envisage a role for tourism beyond the frivolity and escapism of the pleasure beach? Spoiler alert: the presentation doesn’t apply Freudian analysis, but does examine ideas of fairness and rights in the context of access to tourism participation which are relevant to notions of modern civilisation. The presentation links tourism and social and health policy to ask if there is a role that tourism can play in helping to achieve a fair and just society, and improve wellbeing. The presentation draws on research on social tourism to speculate on the potentials of tourism to help deliver greater equality in society. It also seeks to link to the practices of the UK tourism industry including peak holiday pricing and market failure to explore issues contributing to current inequality of access. Social tourism concerns the inclusion of otherwise disadvantaged people in tourism participation. It is a concept that is predicated on the assumption that everyone should have the ability to experience a regular break away from home, such as a simple domestic holiday, and that such experiences deliver important social and emotional benefits.
Scott McCabe is a Professor of Marketing and Tourism at the Nottingham University Business School, where he has worked for ten years. Scott’s research is focused mainly on the qualities of tourist experience, consumer behaviour and tourist decision-making, destination marketing and communications. More recently his work has engaged debates in pro-social and pro-environmental tourist consumption, as well as responsible and ethical consumer behaviour. Since 2006 he has been working on a programme of research on the motivations, experiences and outcomes of holiday experiences for severely disadvantaged UK consumers. Working with a range of small and large charities, his research in association with the Family Holiday Association has helped to promote the concept of ‘social tourism’ in the UK, influencing policy and practice, raising awareness of issues and establishing a link between holidays and subjective wellbeing outcomes. Scott has published three books, the latest is the edited collection ‘The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Marketing’ (2014), alongside many journal articles. He is Associate (Resource) Editor of the Annals of Tourism Research, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Business Research. He is also currently coediting with Professor Xavier Font a special issue of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism on Sustainability Issues in Tourism Marketing.
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