Heike A. Schänzel
This paper explores the relationship between social dimensions in tourism and
families. Social tourism has received increasing attention as a new form of tourism for disadvantaged families to increase their social capital. However, benefits to social relations such as strengthening social connectedness have been identified for some time within the larger family tourism market. This paper extends the understanding on‘social issues’ for families who travel, with important implications for human relationships and social life. This study is based on families in New Zealand. Parents were first surveyed through five primary schools (n = 110) and then given the option to be interviewed using a whole-family methodology for which 10 families volunteered (20 parents and 20 children). This study provides a generational perspective on the social dimensions on holiday in that parents are more deliberate about social identity formation whereas children seek fun and sociality. The findings further show that most families use travelling as an opportunity to strengthen social connections with friends and extended family. Family holidays serve the purpose of (re) connecting people through tourism that can be seen as a social practice that involves networking, social capital formation and social obligations. The contribution of family tourism then deserves more attention for its integral role in society.
Key words: Family tourism, social tourism, children, parents, social connectedness, social identities