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The Group Package Tour and Sociability: Contesting Meanings

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This article explores midlife single women's positive and negative perceptions of and experiences with the sociability offered on group package tours. Qualitative data were gathered from 32 women through two sets of focus group interviews and “solicited” diaries. The women focused on the joy of bonding with the other tourists in the group. This feeling gave them a sense of social inclusion in tourism spaces that were often constructed solely for families and people traveling with significant others. For some of the women, group membership was thus an agreeable substitute when lacking travel companionship. However, the somewhat enforced sociability with strangers imbued in group package tours also clashed with the midlife single women's need for independence and freedom of choice. This ambivalence suggested that group tour membership also was challenging for the women. In order to attract and accommodate to the needs of midlife single women tour operators should thus be aware of the complexity of this subject position.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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