Social tourism, senior citizens, and education

Adriana Esther Estrada-González*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 World Leisure Organization. Social tourism has been an active field in tourism literature for the last 50 years. Since its foundation, the International Social Tourism Organization has been the leading actor to conduct research in this area. The Manila Declaration (WTO, 1980) defines social tourism as “to make tourist leisure accessible to the majority, including youth, families and elderly people, by providing an exceptional economic opportunity”. The Family Holiday Association (UK) understands social tourism as “the inclusion of groups in society who are economically weak or otherwise disadvantaged in tourism participation”. Research has been conducted to understand the participation of senior citizens in social tourism. The methodology used in this study was a theoretical literature review on leisure and social tourism, as well as qualitative data was collected using the individual interview technique and the focus group technique. The survey proposed a number of indicators available to measure implications in leisure and tourism participation. One of the indicators is education. The research took place in Monterrey, México. The focus group method was used with six selected groups of senior citizens, two of them belonging to private enterprises, two groups from social associations or NGO’s, and two groups were related to the public / government sector. The interviews were applied to the travel coordinators of each group selected. It was found, that social tourists perceived they were acquiring knowledge and cultural development when participating in tourism activities. Findings reflect the position taken by senior citizens when travelling with cohorts was different from the perspective of travelling with another age group. The educational contribution of their trips was one of the most important features identified during the discussions within the focus group. On the other hand, the interviewees did not emphasize the promotion or design of educational activities during the tours organized by them. They expressed the perception that senior citizens’ approach to travel was merely for socialization and relaxation. Further research will discover the great opportunity available when studying groups of elderly people or senior citizens participating in leisure and tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Leisure Journal
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 World Leisure Organization.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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