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Does it Really Work? The Power of Social Exclusion

Does it Really Work? The Power of Social Exclusion
Author: Faye Coulson
3 Commentries
Access to tourism covers a variety of issues which mainly stems through financial constraints limiting their access to tourism. UK policies have started to recognise this issue and the impact it can have on community development; therefore adopting the concept of social tourism.

Key Words
Social Exclusion, Social Class, UK Policy, Community Development

Every tourist is different. From destination choice, through to the activities we take part in whilst on holiday. Influences within society determine the choices we make and limiting are access to services such as tourism. Social exclusion is a term frequently used in today's society that forms a boundary limiting peoples' access to tourism.

Social exclusion has been an issue for some time but has never been given a suitable name or definition. Definitions found state that social exclusion is a process of which people are disadvantaged or detached from communities based on for example social class. Approximately 891 million people are socially excluded and are denied opportunities in society.

Tourism is one of the most influential forces that shapes are world. The way that we interpret tourism is different from person to person and we accept them by accepting entities or by groups that we feel familiar with. This gives us certain roles in society which determines the kind of person we are; also known as stereotypes. This shapes our behaviour and how we see other people, giving us the need to be concerned about others life experiences as it helps us understand each other.
It is argued that class determines our ability to take part in tourism. Travel has known to have become easier for everyone but still quality etc. is still determined by how much money we earn.
Social exclusion is now a main issue in UK policy. There is mixed awareness of the issue and limited availability to social tourism. This highlights the need for the development in social tourism in order to develop and sustain social inclusion.

Tourism has become increasingly significant in today's economically advanced societies. The inability to go on holiday results in lack of opportunities in mainstream society. This can lead to segregation and lead to low self esteem and/ or breakdown in social relationships in the community. Research has found that the most frequent barrier to participation is financial constraints. There is an assumption that these barriers act as a constraint to access to tourism. However, it may be that the individual that appears 'excluded' may not have an interest in tourism and therefore have an interest in another activity. Due to our new busy lifestyles, we find it increasingly harder to find time to go on holiday. Here this suggests that it is not the lower and working classes that are excluded. The lack of spare time can be witnessed across all classes of societies and can be seen as a potential 'barrier' to participation in tourism.

Segmentation can have a variety of groups from socio-demographic aspects through to behaviour. It has been proven difficult to segment tourists as there is no correct way of doing so. Social exclusion can also segment people purely on the basis of lack of motivation and neglect of responsibility, social isolation and rejection of the 'under-class'.

The World Tourism Organisation has stated that tourism should be a universal right. Governmental policies are now in place to help tackle social exclusion and have given a rise to opportunities in public expenditure and access to tourism.
Social tourism is a contemporary solution to help combat social exclusion. Mainly supported by charitable organisations such as the Family Holiday Association and the Family Fund. However, it has been suggested that a holiday does not solve the issue of social exclusion and doesn't eliminate whether the individual can afford to go or take time off from work commitments.
Charitable organisations have been shown to give aid to families with low incomes. These are by providing holidays each year or providing grants which have been known to help approximately 37,000 families within the UK alone. Social tourism isn't very economically beneficial in the short term; but it does help disadvantaged people in ways such as personal development and stimulating the motivation for change.

To conclude, social exclusion policies need to be put in to practice. Social exclusion covers all aspects of society which justifies the need for further research in terms of social class. Existing policies that provide access to tourism are very much focussed towards families with low income which needs to be addressed in order to sustain community development.
To evaluate the power of social exclusion, there needs to be a clear definition as to what social exclusion actually means. Research suggests that we are all socially excluded from society and that research needs to decentralise itself from the deprived areas of society and determine who is actually socially excluded. The 'power' of social exclusion is a problem within itself which need to be addressed. With this, it can be determined who is excluded and who isn't. The power does not seem to be apparent in today's society suggesting is tourism really for all?

DFID (2005) Reducing Poverty by tackling Social Exclusion, DFID Policy Paper
Minnaert, L (2007) Social Tourism: a potential to reduce social exclusion? The effects of visitor-related social tourism for low income groups on personal and family development. In UTSG Conference, Harrogate, 3rd-5th January 2007 [online] available at: http://www.utsg.net/publication.php?Year=2007&abstract=Lynn Minnaert2007#Lynn Minnaert2007 [date accessed: 19/04/2010]
Holden, A (2005) Tourism and the Social Sciences, Routledge, London
A difference between those that choose not to travel and those that simply cannot afford to?
Author: Katja-Mirjami Tuominen
It is a well thought-out piece about the barriers to travel and tourism. What I find especially interesting is that you brought up the issue of non-interest in tourism and busy life styles as barriers to travel; most would associate non-participation in travel with financial or physical barriers alone.

You said tourism gives us roles in society and determines who we are; those with low incomes or other barriers to taking part in tourism should not be excluded from being able to explore the world around them and learn more about themselves. It is a different issue if it is by choice but no-one should be excluded from the community and the social relationships within it against their will. It has been shown that tourism can contribute to personal growth, and no matter what barriers you face regarding travel we should all be able to enjoy the right to tourism.

However, the barrier to taking part in travel and tourism is considerably high for the lower classes and especially those with low incomes; still you make a good point regarding other barriers to travel. Although not disagreeing with you I would say affordability is in a way the barrier most difficult to overcome. Those with disability face problems with physical trouble getting to and around the destination and practical issues such as having to make sure a wheelchair is not a problem for the flight they want to book, and those with busy life styles simply have not got the time for travel. However, those with busy life styles have chosen this way of life and may not feel deprived as such, and for those disabled it is more an issue of planning and organisation of matters; whereas those that cannot afford to take an annual holiday have not got much choice. Often these people also have families; travelling with a family is not by any means cheap without any financial assistance.

I agree about the importance of tourism in the society today; it could be considered a consumer activity and a discretional household expenditure by sceptics but the benefits from tourism are too obvious to ignore. Not being able to participate means missing out on a lot; imagine your child going through life not being able to take part in a holiday no matter what the barrier; they will feel excluded from something extremely important in the modern society, for both their physical and mental wellbeing.

I think that as the right to leisure, rest and paid holidays has been accepted widely, so will the right to tourism and travel; tourism is too important in the contemporary society to be ignored. Especially when you consider that it does not take a lot in terms of money and time to get the benefits from travel.

The UK is falling behind when it comes to social tourism and maybe you agree with me; however, the examples from France and other parts of continental Europe are encouraging and something the UK government should seriously consider. We are getting there, but the right to tourism for all will need to be established in the social agendas to truly give the opportunity for travel to all.
the power of social exclusion in tourism
Author: Sara White
This was a particularly interesting read as the focus was social class; the same as the study I completed. The evidence shows that there was independent reading throughout the study; although there could have been some more referencing throughout the paper; however it is understandable that this is very difficult in an eight hundred word summary.

The paper fits very well into the strand, pride and prejudice; social class and social inclusion does indeed play a large role in the industry and ones ability to travel. The point made about struggling to find a good definition of social inclusion. Having studied social inclusion previously, there is a lack of research on the area. There are many references that focus on social exclusion. In particular there is a vast range of references about social exclusion when studying the sports and physical education books, as exclusion is a huge problem in this area too.

Where you speak of different social class it would have been nice to see explanations of how social class has changed over the years. For example during the early 1900's it was the lower middle and upper classes; whereas today there is a a,b,c1,c2 system which places people into different social categories. This is shown by Page and Connell (2009). The table shows the different economic groups:
A: Professional/ senior managerial
B: Middle managers/ executives
C1: Junior managers/ non manual
C2: Skilled manual
D: Semi skilled/ unskilled
E: Unemployed/ state dependants
I found that the lower down the table one is placed it is more likely that the person may experience social exclusion and not be able to afford certain holidays.

Overall the paper was strong and held some interesting arguments. The conclusion was both clear and concise. However, it would have been nice to see a few more points to be backed up by academic references; however understandably this is particularly difficult in a summary where words are restricted. Like I mentioned earlier, there are a couple of things that could have been included such as the different type of social class and some mentioning of social exclusion examples would make it a bit clearer for the reader.

Overall a good read and a lot of information was gathered from the summary.


Page, S., and Connell, J. (2009). Tourism a modern synthesis. 3rd Ed. London: Cengage Learning.

Social Exclusion is fair
Author: Susan Jesse
This is a well written piece of academic work with a great discussion that gets the reader gripped from the start. The discussion is well linked with own discussion with social classes.
Social class is an interesting subject to research as there in a lot research available on both side for the higher classes and the lower classes. Tourism can be seen can discriminating the lower classes as some destinations and transportation are seen as exclusive and this why they are expensive and only afford to the higher classes.
Research from my own research suggests that in time tourism will become available for all classes this is because of the development in technology and companies realising a gap in the market in regards in lower social classes. This had made tourism more accessible for lower classes however although good for lower classes this has also made destinations less exclusive making them certain destinations less attractive and desirable for higher class (Faulkner et al 2001).
Social exclusion is fair as allows people of higher classes to mix between themselves and by making tourism more available to lower classes allows them to experiences tourism they previously could not afford it now excludes the higher classes from experiences so it could be said that by making tourism available for all classes they are in fact excluding the higher social classes (Page and Connell 2006).
Research shows that the reason tourism companies are expensive is because they want to attract a certain class for example five star hotel charge the amount they do to attract high class people whereas a low budget hotel charges less to give lower classes the chance to visit certain destinations. However the experience and quality between a five star hotel and a low budget hotel are very different as the tourists also pay for service and quality for example the more a tourists pays the closer they maybe to the beach or how many swimming pools the hotel has (Cooper et al 2008).
As tourism is becoming more available for lower classes companies have to keep the newest and latest fashions and trends exclusive to the higher classes but in time these destination will soon be available to the lower classes.
If tourism was available to all classes at the same time could cause problems when people are own holiday as the different classes have different behavioural habits (Swarbrooke and Horner 2007).
In conclusion social exclusion is part on tourism and the higher classes will always experience the form of transport and the new destinations before the lower classes. But in time the transport and destinations will be available for lower classes. Higher social classes like the fact that the places they visit are exclusive and by making tourism available to all could cause problems when people are on holiday.
Cooper, C. Fletcher, J. Fyall, A. Gilbert, D. And Wanhill, S. (2008) Tourism: principles and practises 4th ed: Milan, prentice Hall
Faulkner, B. Moscardo, G. And Laws, E. (2001) Tourism in the 21st century: lessons from experience: London, Continuum.
Page, S. And Connell, J. (2006) Tourism; a modern synthesis 2nd ed: London, Thomson
Swarbrook, J. Horner, S. (2007) Consumer behaviour in tourism. 2nd ed. Butterworth: Heinemann.