Social tourism as part of unemployment policies?

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Kostas and John McDonald, Director, Family Holiday Association

Konstantinos Kakoudakis’s academic paper Social tourism and self-efficacy has just been published by respected journal Annals of Tourism Research.

Working with Prof Scott McCabe at Nottingham University, Kostas undertook research with families we support where parent/s were long term unemployed. His research showed that our breaks created the conditions for people that helped them look for work (or other related activities) once they got back home. Just published in a respected tourism journal it helps to build the case for the tangible benefits of a break. Have also attached a report that he produced summarising his research nicely.

The research shows that breaks give parents the space to think about things away from their day to day environments and the act of preparing, managing and going on the break gives them the belief (self-efficacy) that they are able to achieve things in other areas of their lives.

Our charity is always happy to encourage and facilitate research into the benefits of social tourism. We do our best to maintain a database of all English-language research into this area here on the Holidays Matters website.

Research Highlights

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Social tourism in the UK – a short history

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Social tourism, as a term, is not well known in the UK and is even less understood. 

But actually helping people access a break is a long-established practice here; indeed, a recent on-line social tourism survey carried out by the University of Nottingham and the University of Exeter of the not-for-profit sector in England and Wales alone showed that upwards of 600 registered charities provided, as part of the help they offer to people, support with breaks and day trips.

“To give children a holiday in the country does not at once fit them to become either useful workers and desirable members of the community or healthy parents of a new generation, but it affords an admirable stimulus to all manifestations of their physical and moral progress.” The Lancet[1] June 1907

From the Industrial Revolution and well into the first part of last century, the more benevolent factory owners organised holidays for their employees and, even today, some employer and trade union schemes still exist. However, there is no equivalent to be found here in the UK to compare to the social tourism facilities and structures common in mainland Europe. Continue reading

Social tourism is gaining traction in Scotland

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Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs meets with families and business partners involved in the VisitScotland ‘ScotSpirit’ breaks initiative at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Over the past seven years the Family Holiday Association has been actively engaging with organisations in Scotland to promote the benefits of social tourism. There have been roundtable discussions in Edinburgh and Glasgow, debates in the Scottish Parliament, discussions with politicians from the main political parties and joint projects with charities across the country.

Now seventy families facing some of the toughest challenges life can bring will be able to enjoy a day out thanks to a new partnership between VisitScotland, the Family Holiday Association and Scotland’s tourism industry.

The pilot programme was launched at the Glasgow Science Centre by the Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop who recognised the need for everyone to be able to have a holiday particularly people living in difficult circumstances .  I was particularly delighted to be able to meet and thank  Stewart Lorimer, Hilton Worldwide’s General Manager and Jannine Russell from Scotrail for their companies’ generous support and Lee Anthony of One Parent Families Scotland one of the partner organisations.

After an appeal by VisitScotland to visitor attractions, transport companies and other public bodies, over 300 people from disadvantaged backgrounds —including 200 children — will receive a much-needed break this October. Families from the West of Scotland will be among the first in Scotland to take part in the initiative. Continue reading

Social tourism could stimulate the rural economy

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A copy of the charity’s submission can be downloaded here.

The Family Holiday Association has submitted evidence to the UK parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee for their newly launched inquiry into the role of tourism in supporting rural growth in England.

The charity highlighted the recent Department for Work and Pensions’ Households below average income report that asked people with a low household income to indicate the most important activities their circumstances meant that they were forgoing. The top activity by a considerable margin was “a week’s holiday for themselves and their children”. The survey found that 35% of parents wanted to do this and yet could not afford to do so. In addition, the report found that 900,000 pensioners aged 65 and over were in material deprivation in 2014/15 and that 37% of all pensioners wanted to take week’s holiday a year but cannot afford to do so. Again, taking a week’s holiday was top of the list of activities that pensioners in low income households most wanted to do.

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Roundtable on social tourism – April 2016

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Members of the social tourism round table – April 2016

 

The Family Holiday Association is just one of a wealth of organisations in Britain working in the field of social tourism, improving access to breaks for those who cannot normally afford them, for a multitude of reasons.

But uniquely, over the years the Family Holiday Association has acted as a champion of social tourism, supporting research, working with partners and trying to explain both the social and economic value of social tourism.

The charity supported the All Party Parliamentary Group’s Social Tourism report, Giving Britain a Break, that was put together back in 2011 under the auspices of the Chairman, Paul Maynard MP.

We believe it is time to do a further push on social tourism. This was the purpose of the April round table during which we heard from a number of different groups who since 2011 have come on board and done some amazing work.  You can read the report from the meeting in Westminster here.

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Download the Social Tourism Round Table Report

Some of the key issues and actions that were raised are detailed below.

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The number of children denied even a simple break has increased by a horrendous 25% to 5 million since 2005.

World Travel Market 2015, ExCeL, London – Holidays Matter Conference. John McDonald, Director Family Holiday Association
World Travel Market 2015, ExCeL, London – Holidays Matter Conference. John McDonald, Director Family Holiday Association

The Holidays Matter network held its annual conference at World Travel Market on Thursday 5 November 2015. My opening remarks cited some recent and eye-opening analysis of Office for National Statistics data by Professor David Gordon.

I would like to welcome you to the 4th annual Holidays Matter Conference here in the centre of one of the world’s largest travel trade exhibitions. An appropriate venue for an organisation that sees the travel industry at the very core of its work.

The Holiday Matters network currently consists of some 20 member organisations. Cumulatively these 20 organisations supported 150,000 people access a break last year with an estimated value of £5m. Although the Family Holiday Association has provided the initial support, we see the network and this conference as independent of the charity. It is a means of bringing like-minded organisations together to allow us share, to learn and to explore new avenues of working. That is the purpose of today. Continue reading

Reminiscences and recollections. Forty years on…

Celebration cakeSarah Robson’s house in a leafy north London street was yesterday’s venue for a gathering of current and past committee members of the charity’s North London Friends.  Sarah, the chair of our North London Friends committee, was keen to mark both the charity’s 40th anniversary and the committee’s significant contribution to its work over those four decades.

The charity was conceived in Hampstead Garden Suburb by Pat and Joan Laurance and their first fundraising efforts had depended on the work of local friends and neighbours. After the charity grew to become a national organisation supporting families throughout the UK, the Friends committee carried on raising money locally from street fairs and local raffles. Continue reading

Visit Kent partnership helps both families and local attractions

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Watch this short video from Visit Kent to see how our partnership has benefited both local Kent families and attractions. 

I particularly like the comment from Therese Helsop of Canterbury Cathedral who says that by encouraging local people to visit turns Kent residents into ambassadors for local attractions.

This second year of the partnership saw nearly 1,000 local children and parents enjoying a day out that they otherwise would not have been able to afford.

I think this type of partnership has the potential to be replicated across the country. 

Glasgow City Council joins the Holidays Matter network.

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On the first day of Glasgow schools’ summer break one of the country’s largest local authorities joined the Holidays Matter network.

Speaking at the City Chambers on Thursday 25 June Cllr. Stephen Curran said “As Executive Member for Education and Young People I am committing the Council to signing up to support the Holidays Matter network. Given that our schools broke up for the summer holiday period on Wednesday afternoon, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to celebrate the network’s role and some of the Council’s own offer in the city for families.”

LordProvostGlasgow’s Lord Provost Councillor Sadie Docherty spoke of how she was shocked at just how many children were missing out on what the City had to offer. When she became Lord Provost in 2012 she had set herself the task of visiting every one of the city’s 150 schools; and when talking with pupils, many from quite deprived areas in the city, many children told her they had never visited any of the city’s most iconic venues and museums. Continue reading