While millions of North Americans can afford to take one or even two vacations every year, there are equally as many, if not more, who cannot.
In such cases, social tourism fits in.
Europeans formulated and coined the term “social tourism‘ in the early 1930’s.The beginnings of “social tourism” in Belgium can be traced back to
1936, at which time the standard vacation of a worker was one week. Today in most European countries it is five.
In order to develop a program for social tourism, four elements are required:
Liberty of movement
Culture ( Curiosity)
These days, the time is available because in most developed countries the minimum vacation is two weeks (in North America) and can be as long as
five weeks in western industrialized European countries.
Money – most employees receive funds prior to their vacation, and have the means to take a well- earned rest. In some countries, in addition to being paid their their regular salary, employees receive additional pay titled vacation pay.
Liberty of movement in most industrialized western countries is a given.
Also European Union countries have adopted a policy of no passport and no visa for the citizens of member countries, and in many cases North Americans.
Curiosity is a rapidly increasing cultural asset, that has its roots in better education in both elementary and high schools.
An additional-factor may be the universal availability of TV access.Several national TV organizations feuture documentaries from interesting and exotic countries.A few years ago few would know enough about safaris in Tanzania, South Africa, or Kenya.
For a country-wide social tourism programme, first the government must adopt the idea.
Also, the entire population must be supportive of the idea, for ultimately the funds will have to come from taxes or increased retail prices or some other direct or indirect taxes.
Canada is high tax jurisdiction. Regardless,the benefits of social tourism outweigh the disadvantages in the economy, but politicians must convince the whole population of its benefits to the national economy.
Funds do not necessarily have to come through taxes though, because imaginative ways have been developed to raise money in many other social tourism oriented countries.
For example, in the former Yugoslav confederation on the Dalmatian coast, fishermen who had builta few guest rooms to host full paying guests during the summer season, realized that during winter months the investment failed to produce revenue.
They brought this to the attention of authorities that had advanced funds, at low interest rates. Both fishermen and authorities came up with the idea of soliciting families of limited financial means living in the eastern part of the country, and offered them a vacation during the winter at substantially reduced cost. This way, the fishermen would still receive some funds, and a “poor” family that would otherwise be unable to take a vacation, and could enjoy the opportunity to visit another part of the country. In return, authorities lowered the interest rates fractionally for the duration of the off-season. This way consumers, investors, and the national economy benefited.
In Switzerland large companies initiated, with the unanimous agreement of all employees, a vacation fund through monthly deductions, while the company contributed an equal amount to the fund. These funds were invested. The proceeds were distributed to employees; a scheme where both employees and the overall national tourism industry benefited.
Multiuse centers can be created either by unions or socially oriented companies. These centres cater to families during the winter season and individuals who like skiing or prefer less crowded and famous destinations for their vacation.
Farmers can greatly benefit from social tourism, too. City dwellers could stay with farmers at moderate cost in the summer against rendering some services, and during winter the farmer could visit the city and stay with the city folk. Also during less busy winter season, special rates can be offered to city dwellers to attract those who like cross-country skiing or long quiet country walks.
There are certainly many more alternatives which can be invented and implemented in an attempt to encourage and develop social tourism.
Farsighted companies could create multiuse vacation centers and offer them to their employees as a benefit package. At least one company in Canada is doing just that. Magna International understands how such benefits help create loyal and productive employees.
Not only does Magna encourage employees to partake, but also actively solicits better and more ideas to advance social tourism. Adopted suggestions are rewarded financially.
Employees appreciate such benefits more than cold hard cash.
Social tourism generates several benefits by utilizing existing facilities more efficiently, by increasing the GDP ( Gross Domestic Product), or by encouraging people to discover other parts or regions of Canada.
It will revive the drive of less fortunate people and encourage them to become more productive and which in turn is bound to incease the national wealth.
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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