‘Tourism for All’ ‘involves the extension of the benefits of holidays to economically marginal groups, such as the unemployed, single-parent families, pensioners and the handicapped’ (Hall, 2005, p. 152). The importance of tourism in contributing to economic and social well-being has long been recognised by many European Union Member States.
The European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) have acknowledged not only the social value of tourism for all in terms of personal development, well-being and social cohesion, but also its potential economic value in terms of revenue generation, job creation and regional development.
This paper focuses on Ireland, where in contrast to many
Conceptualising ‘tourism for all’ and ‘holidaying’
Hall defines social tourism as ‘the relationships and phenomena in the field of tourism resulting from participation in travel by economically weak or otherwise disadvantaged elements in society’ (Hall, 2005, p. 141). Meanwhile, the EESC refers to measures
‘designed to make travel accessible to the highest number of people, particularly the most underprivileged sectors of the population’ (European Economic and Social Committee
[EESC], 2006, p. 3). While definitions that interrogate the concept tourism for all (or ‘social tourism’ as it is commonly referred to in those countries with the strongest traditions of the practice) vary, the underlying philosophy is that tourism and holidaying should be accessible to all, without discrimination and should be practiced in a manner that is linked to sustainable development (Jolin, 2004).
Holidaying has become a widespread social