In the House of Lords last week, the peer better known as novelist Ruth Rendell asked the government a question about the steps they are taking to promote social tourism. For those of you, like me, who aren’t sure what it is, the government in the shape of Lord Davies of Oldham provided a definition.
Social tourism, he said, is to ensure that that those in society who are less well-off get the opportunity to go on holiday.
So why is it that social tourism exists?
Lord Davies says that a break does boost morale and that there was evidence that people benefit from holidays. Apparently, the EU even allows nearly 100 of their highest paid officials to have the children taken on holidays at 50% of the cost! So we have it now on government say so that holidays are beneficial. Because it is beneficial, social tourism exists so that those who are underprivileged can have a break from the norm as well and the Family Holiday Association is one such charity, providing that opportunity.
For the rest of us though, even now that the government says it is important to take a break, not everyone does. It doesn’t have to be an overseas trip or a week in Skeggie. A break is something different from what you usually do and the fact that the holiday business stayed so strong last year is because most of us recognize we need a break. But a break means that and not just a different location to do work. So when Gordon Brown went to Kirkcaldy last year and undertook community work I’m not sure that was a break. He had constituents all around him who probably asked questions. For the rest of us a break is just that and given the busy motorways this week during half term, some people are realizing that change is beneficial.