Social tourism as part of unemployment policies?

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


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

Roundtable on social tourism – April 2016

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.


Download the Social Tourism Round Table Report

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

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High praise for charity’s research partnership

Scott McCabe
Scott McCabe, Associate Professor in Tourism Management/Marketing

The Family Holiday Association has been closely involved with a number of universities over the past decade including Nottingham, Sheffield, Westminster and Surrey. While we might know intuitively the benefits of a break away from home, by looking at the impact more closely from both quantative and qualative perspectives can only add to the credibility of the charity’s arguments in favour of extending the reach of social tourism. Continue reading

Christmas wishes

Over 11,000 children and adults were helped by the Family Holiday Association to get a break away from home this year.  Most had never been away as a family.

This coming year we aim to help even more families because we know how much good a simple break can deliver, especially for those families for whom a break is well beyond their means.  The post-Christmas period is the traditional time for thinking about and booking our summer holidays, but there are too many children, literally millions of children, for whom a holiday will be an unfulfilled Christmas wish. Continue reading

Getting a break can help with getting a job!

Konstantinos Kakoudakis and John McDonald
Konstantinos Kakoudakis visited me on Tuesday this week and shared some of his research findings

Update – Tuesday 17 February 2015

Read Kakoudakis’s newly arrived summarised research report here

Original post – 26 November 2014

Konstantinos Kakoudakis is a PhD student at Nottingham University who dropped into the charity’s office to meet with me and our Programme Manager John Kinnear earlier this week.  Konstantinos (or Kostas as he is better know) was a regular visitor to the charity last year while he worked on the research for his thesis.  He was looking at how our work impacted on families, particularly where at least one member of the family was unemployed. Continue reading