CAUTHE 2020, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Aotearoa/New Zealand

In February Sarah made her annual trip to the other side of the world for CAUTHE, held this year at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In this post she fills us in on her best CAUTHE experience ever!

Tihei mauri ora, tihei mauri ora
Ngā iwi o te motu e
Tü ake, karangatia
Tü ake, manaakitia
Ngā iwi, kia ora rā
Ngā iwi, kia ora rā

I haven’t been able to stop singing the conference Māori welcome song since I’ve been back! It was beautifully performed on the first morning by the AUT staff, led by Valance Smith, and all delegates were encouraged to join in each day of the conference. That was only one of the highlights of the conference’s opening morning! Delegates were invited to take part in a musical activity (Boom Time) which was a lot of fun even if you are rhythmically-challenged 😃

Alison Phipps then provided the opening keynote. We are proud to call Alison a friend of our company as well as a series editor and author. Her keynote on inhospitable hospitality and the treatment of refugees was in equal parts stunning, disturbing, breathtaking, uncomfortable and moving. It generated a lot of discussion during the following days and was an amazing start to a brilliant conference.

Alison's keynote
Alison’s keynote

The first day finished with the welcome reception and another moving performance, this time from the AUT student choir who performed Māori songs and finished with a haka.

The rest of the conference didn’t disappoint, with impressive paper presentations and other great keynotes from John Barrett, the founder of Kapiti Island Tours, on valuing people and community over profit, and from Iis Tussyadiah on AI and smart technologies.

Workshop
Our book workshop!

On the second day I co-hosted a workshop on the role of the book with two more of our series editors and authors, Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie. It was a fun experience and I hope the attendees found it helpful!

Huge credit and many thanks go to the conference organisers, Tracy Harkison,  David Williamson, Glen Bailey (and many others!) for putting on the best CAUTHE I’ve attended!

Post-conference, I visited Wellington and Christchurch where I enjoyed the hospitality of Ian Yeoman and his wife (and dogs!) and Michael Hall and his family (thanks again for the chocolate!), and on my return to Auckland took a day trip to Tauranga.

Already looking forward to next year’s conference in Fremantle!

Sarah

Imagine if the Future Was the Same as the Past…

This month we published The Future Past of Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie. In this post the editors explain how the book explores the connection between the future and the past.

“Those who wish to look into the future are well advised to concern themselves first with the past, where all things originate” said Homer. We believe that the future is a replication of the past. If this is the case, it should be possible to analyse the past in a scientific manner to inform the future. Hence, one might ask, how does the past shape the future?

Are overtourism and sustainability old, new or constant issues in the evolution of tourism?

The biggest concerns about the future of tourism today is the exponential growth of tourism and its effect on communities and the environment, therefore we have invented the word ‘overtourism’. But these concerns are not new. As Thomas Cook began to capitalise on the idea of package holidays and mass tourism, a number of people began to complain about the negative effects of tourism. European towns and countryside were seemingly overrun with tourists, and ‘ruined by the increase in guesthouses, pensions and restaurants’. Tourists took a carefree approach to flowers, fish and fowl; they tended to do what they liked, unless restrained by keepers and land managers. In 1861, in what has been called an early instance of the ‘ecological blight that tourism so often brings in its wake’, Thomas Cook became embroiled in the alleged shooting of an eagle by one of his tourists on Iona.

The seaside in Scotland was a magnet for increasing numbers of visitors, of all social classes. But while there was the collecting of shells and fossils, the raiding of rock pools for crabs and sea life, the cheerful use of the sands, there was little worry about the impact on the beaches. There was, however, concern over the impact of mass tourism at the seaside, in terms of the behaviour of the day-tripper and the excursion­ist. There were tensions over mixed bathing, over the use or non-use of the Sunday, over dress and language. There was occasional damage to property, and more regularly to public order. But there seems to have been no concern in Victorian times over the use of the sea or the condition of the beaches, although access to the seaside itself could provoke objections from local landowners. Bigger numbers did lead to concerns over amenities at the seaside resorts: there were real questions of water supply, sewage and sanitation for the swollen summer populations. The overloading of systems could lead to outbreaks of epidemic disease, e.g. the typhoid epidemic in Bournemouth in 1936, which was due to contaminated ice-cream and milk. But resort enteritis, or beach tummy, was a small price to pay for the pleasure of a summer break from the harshness of the urban environment.

Changing Society

Tourism has become democratised as a result of changes in society i.e. the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution was the catalyst for new forms of transport such as the steam train which enabled new tourists from the middle and working classes to travel further afield, marking the beginnings of mass tourism. Further technological developments in aviation, have meant tourists can travel further e.g. the Kangaroo route. This advancement in technologies was a game changer as the cost of aviation in real terms fell, making aviation not a form of luxury but a commodified product. As mass tourism created demand, so was born a new industry of infrastructure and supply, whether it was travel agents, airlines, hotels, destination planning or legislative frameworks. However, some things don’t change: the purpose of travel and why we go on holiday. Tourism is about adventure, connecting with family, mindfulness, relaxation, hedonism, enjoyment and culture. The motivation and behaviours stay the same. It’s just as the past moves into the future, the number of tourists has grown exponentially.

The Future

Right at the heart of The Future Past of Tourism is the concept that the future is just a re-occurrence of the past. What we have set out to do is identify the key turning points in tourism evolution in order to predict the future. In futures research, change is the constant from the past to the future. One of the roles of futures research is to model the development of society, looking for signs, social movements, technological advancement and signs of change at the point of evolution. This is what we have done. So, if you want to know what the future holds, read this book.

 

For more information about this book, please see our website

If you found this interesting, you might also like Histories, Meanings and Representations of the Modern Hotel by Kevin J. James.

Trips of the Past and Trips of the Future

This month we will be publishing The Future Past of Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie, which looks at how the history of tourism will shape its future. Inspired by this, in this post the CVP team reflect on their favourite past trips and dream future ones…

Laura

I still remember the first holiday I ever went on, to stay in a holiday cottage in West Wales with my cousins when I was nine. I had a new suitcase especially for the occasion, which I filled with all sorts of things from my bedroom at home…none useful for a holiday! The holiday itself was very simple: days spent on the beach or playing in the garden, and I’m sure it wasn’t as sunny as I remember but in my mind it was a perfect week. My cousins and I still talk about some of the in-jokes and sayings from the holiday and it’s those shared memories which make it my favourite past holiday.

Laura and her cousin attempting some sunbathing

There are a zillion places I’d love to visit, some close to home and some further afield. Inching its way up my list is the North Coast 500, Scotland’s 516 mile long tour of its northernmost roads. The appeal is the stunning scenery, isolation and Scottish hospitality. I’m yet to decide if I want to drive or cycle it, but either way, I’ll need to be prepared for all weathers!

Tommi

My favourite travel has always involved trains and ferries. Childhood journeys to Finland for Christmas always involved a train ride first across the UK, then a ferry to Hamburg, Esbjerg or Gothenburg, and either an overnight sleeper train to Stockholm followed by the Viking Line to Turku or Helsinki, or the Finnjet direct from Travemünde. The excitement of travelling over several days to get to “Mummola” in the winter with the dark scenery passing mysteriously by the train window. Stopping off in Copenhagen to see the Tivoli, or spending a night in Lübeck and visiting the German Christmas markets, before the final ferry ride across the Baltic. Would the sea be frozen? Would we spot any seals on the ice? Having a proper sauna in the bowels of the exciting Finnjet ferry with a swimming pool that had a swell in it as the ship rocked on the waves…all the while knowing that as we got closer to Grandma the sweets started tasting nicer…. First we got Skipper liquorice pipes on the ferries to Europe, then Marabou chocolate if we went via Sweden or Haribo in Germany, and finally as we hit the Finnish boats – Fazer! And proper liquorice! As our ferry sailed into Helsinki we would be met by an uncle waving to us from the terminal building and they would drive us the last leg to where “mummi” and “vaari” were waiting, having filled the garden with ice lanterns and we would catch the scent of “pulla” and “makaroonilaatikko” drifting out of the door…it’s no wonder I’ve grown up to love travelling!

When I was a child we would often travel overland partly due to cost of flying a family of four to Finland in the early 1980s and partly due to the feeling that by flying over everything we were missing out on so much. My Dad always looked forward to the adventure and the endless planning to find a “new” route…although I have tended to travel more by air in the last few years, I definitely feel like I have missed out on a lot, so I hope to get back to a more exciting, and relaxing, way of getting around.

In the immediate future we are planning to travel by train to Anterselva in Italy for New Year, with an overnight stop in Munich and a ride over the Brenner pass before spending a week cross country skiing, and catching the overnight train from Milan to Paris and back to the UK.

One day I would dearly love to travel all the way to Japan by train. Japan is a country that I have always loved spending time in, and if I can travel overland I feel like I will better understand where it is, and hopefully arrive for once without any hint of jetlag! I would hope to travel via the Trans-Siberian either to Beijing or Vladivostok, and then take a ferry with a few days in South Korea on the way…I personally hope that the future of my own travel will come full circle to my past travels, and that more and more of my journeys will once again be taken by train and ferry.

Flo

I’ve been lucky enough to go on some amazing trips over the years, but maybe the one that stands out the most is a trip I took to Ghana in 2015. I went with my friend to visit her family in Accra, Kumasi and Abetifi. I loved everything about it – the people, the language, the colours, the tropical heat, the food, the landscape… We stayed with my friend’s parents on the compound of the school they run, so we were always surrounded by kids, which was fun (and very noisy). We spent our days visiting family friends, markets, local villages, museums, the cultural centre, a cocoa farm, a Kente cloth workshop, a lake and a waterfall, and our evenings at the local ‘spot’ which was a tiny neighbourhood kiosk/bar with really loud speakers. A highlight of the trip was a very long drive (with one, and later two babies on our laps) to stay with my friend’s grandmother up in the mountains. She was still working the land in her 80s!

There are so many places I’d love to go in the future, but I think Sri Lanka’s probably top of my list. Apart from how beautiful and diverse it looks, my grandparents, who were in the army and navy, met there during the war at a dance in Kandy, and so I’ve got a bit of a sentimental reason to visit too! It might be a little while yet though, as I’ve decided to have a ‘no-fly year’ in 2020, so I’ll be keeping any travel to countries I can get to by train.

Sarah

In 2015 my sister and I went to the US to embark on as many different kinds of tourisms as we could – sport, literary, film, tv and music! We started in Boston where we saw the Red Sox play and spent a bookish day in Concord, then to New York where we took in a Giants game, an Islanders game and a Red Bulls game! We bussed next to Washington, DC. After much sightseeing there we flew down to Orlando to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – and also managed some relaxing by the pool. Our last stop was Nashville, where we visited the Opry and Ryman before spending our last night watching Foo Fighters at Bridgestone. It was a pretty tiring holiday but every day was very exciting! 🙂

It would be amazing to have a whole year off and pack it with as many sporting events as possible. January and February in Australia to watch the Big Bash (and be warm!) then back to the UK touring round the country for the rest of the football season and cricket season, maybe taking in an England cricket tour at some point to the West Indies 🙂

 

For more information about The Future Past of Tourism please see our website.

The Future of Tourism and Airbnb: Is This Where We Wanted to Go?

We recently published The Future of Airbnb and the ‘Sharing Economy’ by Jeroen A. Oskam. In this post the author explains the motivation behind the book.

Last year I was invited by the world’s first “crystal ball gazer” in tourism, Ian Yeoman, and his co-editor Una McMahon-Beattie to write a book in their new series on The Future of Tourism. I had been studying Airbnb for a few years with the futures view Ian had introduced me to. And although it is always good to see that one’s analyses and argumentations have made sense, in the case of Airbnb (and other urban vacation rentals) this has become a very bitter “told you so”.

At Hotelschool The Hague, a small but internationally top ranking single-discipline university, the research team acts as an antenna for new insights and developments, but it also seeks to inform alumni and professionals about new trends and innovations. We seek to jump on emerging new trends before they get big, and in 2015 we invited a mixed group of researchers and practitioners to discuss something cool: the Airbnb trend, its appeal to travellers, and its future evolution. This seems not too long ago, but remember the context: urban tourism was still hardly controversial, a millennial generation was said to have adopted an anti-consumerist attitude to possessions and Amsterdam had declared itself a “sharing city”.

However, in the course of this first research the social climate started changing. The development of Airbnb in New York had already got out of hand, as had been demonstrated by the data and analyses of Murray Cox; our data showed that also in Amsterdam, rather than a utopian movement, we saw the beginning of a similar commercial development. When we published our numbers, which showed an explosive growth during that year, we were immediately accused of being secret agents of a hotel lobby that wanted to destroy the sharing movement. We made predictions about the future development or Airbnb that almost seemed bizarre back then but that nevertheless have become reality.

Closely linked to these developments was the growth of city tourism during that same period. All of a sudden, city residents all over Europe started hating tourists (from September to May, that is, when we are not travelling ourselves). City authorities started looking for a brake to at least slow down growth; but there was none. Airbnb and the platforms cannot be blamed for this growth. But they are responsible for making the situation unmanageable for cities.

In this book, I have tried to summarize the information we have so far, combining an analysis of the numbers with insights on the nature of ‘Sharing’, such as the concept of ‘cult marketing’, which for me has become crucial to understand the phenomenon, and which also directly explains so many of the misinterpretations and the deceitful claims that surround it. I have looked at the users or ‘guests’, at the Airbnb operators or ‘hosts’, at the impact on hotels and on cities. The book gives new scenarios for the development of Airbnb and other urban vacation rentals towards 2025. Let’s just hope that this time we are not heading towards a new “I told you so”.

Finally, I have tried to give an interpretation of this trend — along with that of Uber, task platforms etcetera— as a societal development. Can we find a reason why all this apparent idealism turns out to be something completely different? What drives these changes and what is their future outlook? Has the ‘sharing’ movement been taken over by greedy impostors, or has its current manifestation always been a part of their way of thinking?

I am also eager to see the rest of the books in The Future of Tourism series. Without any doubt they will help spur debate on what we can expect from tourism, and maybe on wider societal trends. Fortunately, I understand that some other authors are more optimistic than I am.

Jeroen Oskam

 

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Reinventing the Local in Tourism edited by Antonio Paolo Russo and Greg Richards.

Our 500th Blog Post!

This is the 500th post on our blog since it first began in 2011! We started the blog seven years ago, not long after our website was updated. In this post we reflect on the blog and share some special highlights and interesting facts with you.

Our very first blog post…

…was written by our Editorial Director, Anna, who wrote about the Mobility Language Literacy conference she attended in Cape Town in January of that year. Since then, we’ve published hundreds of blog posts: interviews with authors and staff alike, guest posts written by everyone from our sales rep to Tommi’s mum, blog series such as an A-Z of Publishing and Publishing FAQs, conference reports, authors introducing their new books, visits to suppliers, our thoughts on issues in the industry, such as Brexit and the pricing of ebooks…and much more!

The majority of people who read our blog are in the US and the UK, but we have readers all over the world, in 146 different countries!

A map showing where in the world our readers are. Only the countries in white haven’t had someone read the blog while there.

Some of our most popular blog posts of all time

One of my personal favourites – a post written by Tommi’s mum, Marjukka, in celebration of International Mother Language Day about what her mother language, Finnish, means to her.

In which we spoke to Colin about the then-newly-published 5th edition of Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

A post by editor Aya Matsuda on the inspiration behind her 2017 book.

A post in which series editor Ian Yeoman introduces the background to the new series and discusses the future of travel.

A pair of complementary posts from 2011 and 2013 respectively in which Tommi explains how the money from our books is spent and why we price our ebooks as we do.

Highlights of 2017

2017 has been a bit of a milestone for us, with lots to celebrate, and naturally we have written all about each highlight on our blog. Firstly, in February we published our 1000th book, Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (6th Edition). On top of this, we also hit 35 years since the company began. To mark it, we published Celebrating 1000 books in 35 years of Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters, a great post written by Tommi, in which he reflects on the last 35 years and discusses how the company and wider world of publishing has changed over time.

Anna and Sarah celebrating 15 glorious years at CVP/MM

In addition to this, Sarah and Anna, who joined the company within months of each other back in 2002, celebrated their 15 year anniversary working at CVP/MM. Of course, the occasion called for a blog post, and we published an interview with both Sarah and Anna looking back on their first days, biggest achievements and favourite memories.

Our blog was originally created as a place to share news, but it has become so much more than that. We hope that it gives readers an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and allows them to get to know us and the company a bit better. We look forward to the next 500 posts!

Flo

 

New series: The Future of Tourism

We are pleased to announce our new book series The Future of Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie. In this post, Ian introduces the background to the new series and discusses the future of travel.

Series flyer - click to enlarge
Series flyer – click to enlarge

I was really excited when Channel View suggested a new book series about the Future of Tourism, as I have lived and breathed the future for the last 20 years, championing the cause, creating a new field and unravelling complexity. All other fields of tourism research are fundamentally about the past or the present whereas the future hasn’t occurred yet. The future is the only place you can travel to and the only place you can prepare for. To me, it’s the only field of tourism that has relevance.

It all began…

I started my career in tourism futures as the Scenario Planner at VisitScotland back in 2002 when 9/11 and Foot and Mouth Disease were having an impact on Scottish tourism. They were complex issues which needed unravelling. We did this, along with developing a robust economic forecasting system, scenarios about the future of Scottish tourism and an environmental scanning process. Taking these elements, we were able to build a system that made sense of the future, thus enabling leaders of Scottish tourism to understand the future, test their ideas and make informed decisions. I am now based in New Zealand and even more passionate about the future of tourism through building, partnering and giving opportunity to others to publish their thoughts on the future through this new series.

What is the future?

For economists and meteorologists it is relatively easy to understand and predict the weather with accuracy for the coming weeks or the economic outlook for the next 12 months as these events have a degree of certainty. However, predicting a longer term perspective is fraught with difficulties, whether it is the challenge of an automated world, changing food patterns, the breakup of the European Union, augmented reality or emerging markets. The further you look into the future, the more uncertainty prevails. Around the world people are living longer and expecting to do more in their lifetime. If you are born today in a Western country, you have a one in four chance of living until you are one hundred years old.

The future will have wars, terrorism, famine and disaster just like the past, but tourism will prevail. The future of tourism will be fed by equally unprecedented natural resource competition and environmental impacts, however it is Thomas Malthus who wrote in an essay on the Principles of Populations published in 1798 that sooner or later population growth will be checked by famine and disease. Was he wrong? While exponential growth can be expected to lead to increased scarcity of resources, human creativity can ameliorate increased scarcity. Basically, humankind is good at adaptation and overcoming many of the challenges it is presented with.

It is rare to find a national or regional tourism plan, book or academic article about the future of tourism that doesn’t reference the UN World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) forecasts – thus they have become the main arbiter of the future. This is an industry which in 1950 represented 23 million international arrivals and was forecasted to reach 1.8 billion in 2030. But the future of tourism has to be more than an economic forecast as extrapolated forecasts can often be misleading, ambiguous and debateable.

What will change?

In 2050, we still foresee romantic holidays in Paris or hiking the Yellow Mountains of China. What might be different is that Brain Computer Interfaces will have the ability to read customers’ minds, thus anticipating all their dreams and desires, or exoskeleton suits will give us all the power of Iron Man as adventure tourism is redrawn. Pokémon has taken the world by storm, but it is the convergence of the technology trends of GPS systems, augmented reality and ubiquitous computing that have made the game real and accessible to the masses, combined with the consumer trends of smart boredom and gaming cultures, that have changed how we play.

The future is both an understanding of the past and a quantum leap of imagination. Whether you believe in Star Trek, or Sunderland being the epicentre of tourism, the future is the only place you can travel to. Think of the future as your next holiday: we will help you pack your suitcase, plan the journey, guide you to attractions of interest to ensure you have a great time. Our new series, The Future of Tourism, will involve everything from science fiction to the rational – all because we adopt a multidisciplinary perspective that provides the answers to the questions you want to know.

For more information about the new series please see our website. Proposals should be sent to Sarah Williams, Commissioning Editor.

Why Men Cook But Don’t Washup! The Changing Demographics and Profiles of the Male Foodie

Earlier this month we published The Future of Food Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman, Una McMahon-Beattie, Kevin Fields, Julia N. Albrecht and Kevin Meethan. The book examines the changing trends of food tourism and in this post Ian explores the concept of the male foodie.

9781845415372Food is now a hot topic, constantly on our television screens and part of popular culture. Consumers today want to know about the food they are eating and are genuinely interested in cooking food. Indeed food tourism is now classed as a mainstream experience. This interest in food means men do a greater share of cooking at home than at any point in time for which records exist; furthermore, it seems likely that this represents a greater contribution to what has become an essential part of our lives in modern history. Younger men, both singletons and those living with their partner, are playing a greater role in the kitchen far more than their fathers did. What is even more surprising is that they enjoy this greater involvement. In fact it is viewed as both a passion and a leisure activity by this new generation of men in the kitchen. In the new book, The Future of Food Tourism, Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie explore how men are claiming the kitchen in a particular way and the implications for food tourism.

Food is the new rock ‘n’ roll by which men express their masculine identity. It is Jamie Oliver in the TV series Naked Chef who cooks with passion, fun and as a lifestyle activity rather than a domestic chore. Jamie Oliver is a man who negotiates the tension between ‘new man’ and ‘new lad’ with references to football, music, booze and babes but avoids any reference to seriousness as ‘you gotta laugh’. Then there is Heston Blumenthal’s aspirational wizardry that aligns the preparation of food with history, folklore, nostalgia and science or Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s production conscious, thinking man’s real food or Gordon Ramsay’s macho man stance, where he turns cooking into a heroic task equal to the labours of Hercules. These celebrity chefs play an important role in society today, by both mediating how consumers understand food and the role of cooking within society.

By 2030, will the British man be swapping football for culinary skills as chefs such as Gordon Ramsay become the new male icon? Why is this? Upwardly mobile men, aged between 25 and 44 are becoming passionate about food and the rewards it brings such as pleasure, praise and love. No longer will conversations in the bar be about the Premier League or Manchester United but tips and recipes about the best food and wine. Across the world societies are changing. By 2040, there will be 10% more men in China than women so men will have to work harder to impress those ladies – all in the hope of love. Today, we are observing a micro trend of men taking cookery courses, learning to appreciate wine, taking charge in the kitchen and food becoming ‘the’ new hobby.

This upwardly mobile singleton has had his overseas experience – travelled to Europe, Vietnam and Patagonia and beyond – and tasted a variety of foods, whether it is an authentic curry in India or steak from Argentina. These travels and experiences ensure they acquire cultural capital about food which means once they return to Britain they will shop in local ethnic supermarkets for authentic ingredients or search out the finest cheeses in specialist food shops. Mass affluence in society has meant men have been able to try out new experiences, broaden their horizons and raise their expectations. Affluence has changed the way in which society eats and the way that they cook. Today, cupboards in our kitchens are laden with important delicacies from far afield.

Men like being in the kitchen, as today’s modern kitchen is full of gadgets whether it is an ice cream maker, sous-vide machine or a chef’s oven range. A modern kitchen also means less washing up as the built in dishwasher takes care of that! Contemporary society and culture is also witnessing other changes such as a significant increase in the number of women entering the workforce which can result in creating new pressures in the home. In these circumstances it might be expected that men would do their fair share of household duties, whether it is childcare, cleaning or shopping. However, men have chosen to make their greatest contribution by involving themselves in the most creative area of housework – the kitchen. The male does not see this as a chore, but rather a hobby and a leisure experience. The kitchen for the male has become the ‘new battleground of the sexes’ – somewhere to be better and to outdo their partner. It is also a place to escape, away from the drudgery of everyday life and the pressure of work. To men, the kitchen is the equivalent of a spa treatment or somewhere to create a masterpiece. Thus, the man foodie has arrived.

Dr Ian Yeoman, Futurist, Victoria University of Wellington and the European Tourism Futures Institute.

2050 - Tomorrow's TourismFor more information about the book please see our website. You might also be interested in Ian Yeoman’s previous book 2050 – Tomorrow’s Tourism.

Tourism and Families

This week we are publishing Family Tourism edited by Heike Schänzel, Ian Yeoman and Elisa Backer. Here, Heike summarises some of the main themes of the book and discusses the importance of the family holiday.

Families with dependent children represent a significant proportion of the population and an important current and future market for tourism providers. Children and families form the closest and most important emotional bond in humans and it is this relationship that drives demand in tourism. It is estimated that families account for about 30% of the leisure travel market around the world.

Family travel (defined as that undertaken by adults, including grandparents, with children) is predicted to grow at a faster rate than all other forms of leisure travel, mainly because it represents a way to reunite the family and for family members to spend time with each other, away from the demands of work and school. Families seem to put a high priority on taking holidays. For many families an annual holiday is now seen as essential rather than a luxury.

Family canoeing holiday

Increasing importance is placed on families spending time together because of the perception in society that parents are too busy and have less time to relax, play and communicate with their children. This is despite most family time studies suggesting that parents are now more involved in their children’s lives than previous generations.

Family holidays are perceived as opportunities for ‘quality family time’ that allow bonding to ensure the happiness and togetherness of the family, away from the distractions of everyday life. In fact, holidays are often the only time the whole family spends together for an extended period and seemingly offer a balance to family life at home.

The reasons that families go on holiday then differs from those of general holidaying individuals. Family holidays are less about an escape or break ‘from’ home routines and more about spending time ‘with’ the family (including extended family) doing novel activities and creating positive memories. For children it is also imperative that family holidays involve social fun. Family holidays serve the purpose of (re)connecting people through tourism and can be seen as a social practice that involves networking, family capital formation and social obligation. However, holidays can also give rise to intra-family conflicts and added stresses that require much better understanding to ensure the holiday experience is a positive one for all family members.

Family on the beach

There are several demographic trends that are slowly changing the structures in society leading to more complex and diverse family models. The resulting changes include increasing longevity leading to stronger multigenerational ties; trends to smaller families leading to stronger social networks outside the immediate family; and increasing blurring between various forms of partnerships.

Tourism providers may increasingly see networks of loosely connected and geographically dispersed family members from different marriages, partnerships and generations emerging, who use holidays as ways to reconnect and add meaning to their lives. Fewer children in society mean they become more important and the focus across the generations. Grandtravel (travel with grandchildren) and other re-connection breaks that offer the chance to create lasting memories will increasingly become fundamental to family life in the future. Family travel and visiting friends or relatives (VFR) travel are then more resilient than other forms of tourism, as people will always travel to reconnect. It is thus high time that family tourism receives the attention it deserves in the academic literature.