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Thursday 14 August 2014

Do you have difficulty choosing a holiday?

Our senior tourism lecturer Lisa Power explains why finding a suitable holiday that meets ones needs might be more difficult than you were expecting.

It’s at this time of year that we are inundated with advertisements for holidays on the tv, in magazines and via pop ups on our browsers. We listen to our friends and colleagues talking about their holiday plans and we hear a voice in our head that shouts, ‘I need a holiday too!’.

I wonder though: what do we really mean when we say this?  What are we really looking for from a holiday? Escape? Relaxation? Romance? Adventure? Novelty? Companionship? Solitude? The answer is seemingly much more complicated than it may appear on the surface.

Motivation is a crucial part of tourist behaviour and has been intensely studied by tourism academics interested in finding out what makes the tourist choose one destination or activity over another. The types of holidays available to us links to our motives for travel:

Are we looking for rest and relaxation from a beach holiday or activity and action in the sun?

Do we want someone else to do all the organising for us so we don’t have to worry about sorting travel arrangements around a foreign destination, or do we long for the open road, local transport and no fixed itinerary, not really concerned about where we end up?

Do we want to experience indigenous cultures and cuisine and mix with local people, or do we prefer to stay around a hotel complex, eat familiar food and socialise with fellow holidaymakers from home?

The holiday industry responds to these different desires by providing a range of holiday products to suit our diverse needs. The same destination is therefore advertised both as a ‘romantic get-away’ and as an ‘explorer’s discovery’ in order to appeal to us all.

Our different motivations suggest that in fact we can very easily have opposite views on what we mean when we say ‘I need a holiday’. After all, one person’s idea of holiday heaven is another person’s idea of holiday hell!

So, what are you looking for in a holiday?!