This article examines the definitions and implementations of the concept of ‘social tourism’ that are in use in Europe today. Examples show that the concept has been implemented in many different ways to suit national contexts and that the justifications and goals of social tourism can differ greatly. The question arises how one can define the boundaries of this versatile and complex concept. This article proposes a model to clarify the interrelationships between the different interpretations: it highlights where common ground exists, but also where contradictions are apparent. The model consists of four main categories: the participation model, the inclusion model, the adaptation model and the stimulation model. The model draws on the historical development of social tourism and the ethical foundations for provision, and it is supported by a range of examples of European practice. Through this sub-categorisation of the concept, it is argued that a ‘scientification’ of the concept of social tourism can take place, so that the term does not lose its academic and political value. This article concludes by proposing a definition for social tourism that can effectively set the concept apart from other forms of tourism with attached social benefits.
Minnaert, L., Maitland, R., & Miller, G. (2011). What is social tourism?. Current Issues in Tourism, 14(5), 403-415. https://doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2011.568051