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Social Tourism and its Ethical Foundations

Minnaert, Lynn; Maitland, Robert; Miller, Graham

Authors

Lynn Minnaert

Robert Maitland

Graham Miller



Abstract

Although social tourism has been seen in a number of countries as having potential to counter social exclusion, formulating a definition for the term is difficult. "Social tourism" is used to describe a variety of initiatives for a variety of different social groups. These range from holidays for children from low-income backgrounds, through improving accessibility in hotels, to offering ecological holidays. This article discusses the definitions of "social tourism," distinguishing host-related and visitor-related forms, and aims to clarify its potential value in combating social exclusion. It does so by examining the ethical values underlying the way social tourism is defined and suggesting a theoretical framework for the effects of social tourism. Some ethical views of society place an a priori moral duty on the stronger strata to support the weaker. Others do not judge the support of the weaker strata as an a priori dominant ethical principle, and judge the welfare of the state by the opportunity of all its strata. Ethical positions that see stronger strata as having a moral duty to support the weaker are more likely to be supportive toward both host-related and visitor-related social tourism. Those that do not will probably support host-related social tourism, but will support visitor-related social tourism, if publicly funded, only if it can demonstrate benefits for the whole of society. In Western liberal democracies where this is a prevailing view, visitor-related social tourism might justify public expenditure as a potential tool to combat social exclusion. It can be seen as a merit good if it improves excluded peoples' handicapping characteristics, through, for example, beneficial effects in health, self-esteem, and improvement of family relationships. However, there is little research to test its effectiveness in achieving these outcomes. Further research is required to evaluate whether social tourism can have a significant role in combating social exclusion, and thus justify support from public expenditure.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2006
Deposit Date Aug 14, 2022
Journal Tourism Culture & Communication
Print ISSN 1098-304X
Publisher Cognizant Communication Corporation
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 7-17
DOI https://doi.org/10.3727/109830406778493533
Keywords Ethics, social exclusion, social tourism
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2896741

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