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Informal Care, Leisure and Leisure Travel: A UK Perspective

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Previous research, focusing upon the travel behavior of care recipients, established that leisure travel has an important contribution to make to well-being. Personal health, social effectiveness, personal identity, and regaining independence were each highlighted as benefits of tourism participation. Such work focused specifically upon the circumstances of cancer patients, and highlighted a number of gaps in current understanding of the ill-health and holiday-taking relationship. Arising from the research, a further hidden population was identified: the caregiver. The significance, opportunities, and support available for holiday-taking for those in an informal caregiving role were suggested to suffer at least equal neglect. This article focuses upon the caregiving population, particularly from a UK perspective. Drawing from disparate pockets of health, social care, and tourism research, it attempts to explain the complicated meaning of informal care, and outlines the different schools of thought regarding the role of respite care in contemporary society. Presenting the health benefits, both physical and psychological, of leisure participation, the case for enabling participation for marginalized populations such as caregivers is developed. The complexity of enabling such participation is explored through specific reference to leisure travel. Contested terminology, complicated emotions, and a poorly supported consumer provide an insight into the holiday-taking challenges caregivers face. The article concludes by outlining a future research agenda that includes the need to increase choice for caregivers alongside combating the apathy of both the tourism industry and society towards this population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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