Key Words; Single-mothers, Qualitative-data, Female Travelers, Gender, Tourism, Access, Independence, Equality
It was once said that holidays represent an essential break. Therefore it is common to forget that approximately 40% of the UK population do not take regular holidays from home. (Sneddon, C. 2011) This conference paper delves deep into an educated discussion in regards to single mother parenting families and the access, barriers and participation in tourism. Stimulating the debate as to whether or not travel companies are adapting their products successfully to assist the increasing single parent family household demographics. Whilst decreasing social inclusion in the UK population. This paper focuses predominantly on single mother parenting families, as they represent 91% of lone families within the UK. (Knipe, E. 2014)
When referring to the qualitative research conducted in the conference paper, it investigates how single mothers participate in tourism and the barriers they may face if, or when, they participate in inbound or outbound travel. The use of online questionnaires and academic sources provided a holistic perspective on the papers answer. Revealing over the years single parenting has become a growing trend within the United Kingdomâ€™s demographics. In 2014 there were 2 million lone parents with dependent children, this has considerably increased from the 1.9 million in 2004. (Knipe, E. 2014) However within the vast figure of 2 million, it is specified that single mothers account for 91% and single fathers only a small 9%. Significantly representing a vast 25% of household families being lone single parent families. (Knipe, E. 2014)
Therefore to accommodate these demographic figures, travel companies have had to create strategies to ensure support and opportunity for single mothers whom may wish to participate in leisure and tourism breaks. Credit must be provided the companies whom have recognised the gap in the market, companies such as Low cost holidays, Single parents on holiday, Single parents with kids, Haven and among many others have supplied new products to cater to this change in social tourism demographics by providing opportunities for single parent families. By offering strategies such as; â€˜ready madeâ€™ holiday packages within and outbound of the UK, this holiday package include many significant factors to cater for assessed single parent needs. (Netmums, 2016) It offers; affordable prices, adult company from individuals in the same situation, specific accommodation suitable for their needs and much more. This is all offered to ensure the barriers of which some single mothers face when travelling abroad are decreased or better yet eliminated. (Netmums, 2016) Affordability being a huge factor as many children can be deprived to the access of week long holidays each year, DWP theory explains this deeply within the paper.
An online questionnaire including two single parenting mothers, one whom has participated in family breaks and the other who has never participated in family breaks; supplied a mass amount of suitable facts and opinions. Enlightening their views on what travel companies are doing in order to help this target market; whether their strategies are effective and if they would invest in these packages within the future. Results displayed that due to the insufficient use of marketing, participants either didnâ€™t know about these â€˜ready madeâ€™ packages or knew little information. They believe the packages would be effective and help decrease barriers of participation in single parent travelling however suggest that if they are delivered more appropriately to their target market it would increase the interest and clientele. Participants stated much concern on certain factors, one being when travelling you tend to endure judgemental individuals. Who may not understand their situation however these packages may provide them with the freedom to celebrate that they are with like-minded individuals. Overall the strategies put in place received a satisfying thumbs up however to increase the interest there are many issues that need to be resolved, such as booking communication and promotion.
Concluding the conference paper to show significant light on how the barriers of participation are being reconciled, whilst highlighting the need for further on going research is evident. To result in guaranteeing all barriers are eliminated and single parent families travel opportunities could increase. Many recommendations made include interviewing more single parents to postulate general single parent family desires and what they expect from holiday packages to affect their travel in a positive way. Providing companies with information to create successful packages. As some individuals might say, everyone has the right to rest and leisure.
Most important referenced resources;
Knipe, E. (2014). Families and Households: 2014. Available: http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/families/bulletins/familiesandhouseholds/2015-01-28. Last accessed 18th Apr 2016
Netmums. (2016). Single parent holidays: planning your trip. Available: http://www.netmums.com/lifestyle/holidays/holidays-with-children/single-parent-holidays. Last accessed 19th Apr 2016.
Sneddon, C (2011). Lifestyles and Social Participation. London: Office for National Statistics. 3-35.