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How holidays help the socially excluded

Dr Scott McCabe’s research has led to new insights about the benefits of holidays for disadvantaged people. This has informed the development of policy and practice, and has raised awareness of issues concerning the inclusion of disadvantaged people in leisure travel.

The issue

The benefits of holiday participation for socially excluded people are not well understood, and there is a lack of focus on disadvantaged groups in UK policies on social tourism.

The research

Working in partnership with the Family Holiday Association (FHA), Scott McCabe investigated the reasons why disadvantaged people need a holiday, how families benefit from financial support for a holiday, the effects of a holiday on wellbeing, and links between holidays and educational outcomes for children.

He found that holidays improve happiness and optimism, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase quality family time leading to positive memories for children and families.

The impact

The results from the research helped to inform the report “Giving Britain a Break” by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Tourism. The research findings have also enabled the FHA to develop pilot initiatives with local authorities to determine the economic impacts of social tourism, and to form new partnerships with tourism and travel organisations such as Visit England, HF Holidays and Kuoni.

Phil Evans, Head of Strategy at Visit England, notes that the research “…has assisted with filling a knowledge gap in various aspects of this important and largely untapped aspect of the visitor economy…. [it] has enabled case studies to be built up which Visit England has used to inform policy development to support domestic tourism growth in resorts”.


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