Scottish Government supports social tourism

170707FionaHyslop2Click picture to view video clip

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop congratulated the ScotSpirit partnership work of VisitScotland and the Family Holiday Association during her keynote speech to the Tourism Society’s Symposium in Edinburgh last month.

ScotSpirit was VisitScotland’s £-multi-million international marketing programme that also contained an innovative social tourism programme that supported struggling Scottish families access hundreds of short breaks and day trips donated by over 30 tourism industry partners.

Click here to view clip of Fiona Hyslop’s speech.

The programme is being repeated this year with increased numbers of partners and aims to help even more families.

The Scottish Government has recently asked civil servants to draw up a report for ministers on the potential of social tourism to impact on both well-being and the domestic tourism economy.

Evidence will not only be gathered from the experience of other European social tourism programmes it will also seek input from recent academic work on the multiple benefits of people accessing breaks away from home.

Fiona Hyslop’s full speech can be viewed here.

Also see

Scottish Parliament debates social tourism

Social Tourism is gaining traction in Scotland

 

Wales talks about social tourism

Social Tourism Roundtable, 5 April 2017 at School of Management, Swansea University

Group photo2 - delegates Round Table - 5.4.17 (002)

 

April saw the first roundtable discussion on social tourism in Wales, Professor Nigel Morgan, Chair in Visitor Economy Management at Swansea University, brought together a wide range of interested organisations to discuss the benefits and issues around social tourism.

The group included Mari Stevens, Marketing Director, Visit Wales and Wales’ deputy chief medical officer Dr Chris Jones.  David Stephens from the Welsh Government and Lee McRonald of Visit Scotland together with John Kinnear, the Family Holiday Association programme manager, gave a presentations.  Pdf copies are available below –

Social Tourism – The situation in Wales

Social tourism and VisitScotland

Discussion Points covered during the meeting included
Continue reading

Scottish Parliament debates social tourism

The work of the Family Holiday Association was given top billing during a recent debate in the Scottish Parliament. 

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Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs introducing the Inclusive Tourism debate – Tuesday 14 March 2017

Following VisitScotland’s successful ScotSpirit campaign last year and the social tourism pilot in Glasgow last October, the Scottish Government scheduled the following motion for debate that began –

“That the Parliament recognises the vital role that tourism plays in Scotland’s prosperity, not only in its direct economic impact, but in the many ways that it can help to tackle the inequalities that exist in society; notes the recent collaboration by VisitScotland, the Family Holiday Association, Historic Environment Scotland and the many industry partners to provide ScotSpirit Breaks for families in difficult circumstances, which has shown the positive impact that the industry can have on improving the lives and life-chances of people who are not able to step outside their everyday routine…” My emphasis.

The following video is only a small portion of the debate that lasted over two and a half hours and garnered cross-party support.

The full debate can be seen here and the transcript can be downloaded here – Official Report 14 March 2017. Continue reading

Such a lot has happened in the past 15 months

Searching through Google can throw up some interesting results; well, in this instance, for me anyway.

As part of constructing a brief for our work in Scotland I happened across a YouTube clip of me speaking at our charity’s 2015 Holidays Matter conference at the Excel Centre in London.  It’s footage I had not seen before.

The conference was held during that year’s World Travel Market and a WTM cameraman appeared and asked what we were doing.  I recall having the microphone thrust into my hand and being asked to talk about the event.

Looking at the video – which is only 15 months old – reminds me of how far we have come in such a short period of time, particularly in our relationship with VisitScotland.

Because shortly after the conference we were invited to partner VisitScotland in their huge ScotSpirit campaign and we also went on to successfully complete the Glasgow pilot programme.

And only last week John Kinnear, our Programme Manager, and I travelled to Glasgow to participate in a VisitScotland roundtable; the aim of which was to discuss how best to take social tourism forward north of the border.  The most significant outcome of the meeting was an agreement to see the essence of the ScotSpirit campaign repeated in 2017 but on a much expanded scale.

At a meeting immediately following the roundtable, Fiona Hyslop the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs announced that on Tuesday 14 March there is to be a debate in the Scottish Parliament on “inclusive tourism” and that social tourism and our work with VisitScotland was to feature heavily in the debate. Exciting times.

Look out for news of the March debate and its outcome.

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

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.

Continue reading

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

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