The Concept of Well Being

Well-being is a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well. Good living conditions (e.g., housing, employment) are fundamental to well-being. Tracking these conditions is important for public policy. However, many indicators that measure living conditions fail to measure what people think and feel about their lives, such as the quality of their relationships, their positive emotions and resilience, the realization of their potential, or their overall satisfaction with life—i.e., their “well-being.”Well-being generally includes global judgments of life satisfaction and feelings ranging from depression to joy.

Why is well-being useful for public health?

  • Well-being integrates mental health (mind) and physical health (body) resulting in more holistic approaches to disease prevention and health promotion.
  • Well-being is a valid population outcome measure beyond morbidity, mortality, and economic status that tells us how people perceive their life is going from their own perspective.
  • Well-being is an outcome that is meaningful to the public.
  • Advances in psychology, neuroscience, and measurement theory suggest that well-being can be measured with some degree of accuracy.
  • Results from cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental studies find that well-being is associated with
    • Self-perceived health.
    • Longevity.
    • Healthy behaviors.
    • Mental and physical illness.
    • Social connectedness.
    • Productivity.
    • Factors in the physical and social environment.
  • Well-being can provide a common metric that can help policy makers shape and compare the effects of different policies (e.g., loss of greenspace might impact well-being more so than commercial development of an area).
  • Measuring, tracking and promoting well-being can be useful for multiple stakeholders involved in disease prevention and health promotion.

Well-being is associated with numerous health-, job-, family-, and economically-related benefits. For example, higher levels of well-being are associated with decreased risk of disease, illness, and injury; better immune functioning; speedier recovery; and increased longevity. Individuals with high levels of well-being are more productive at work and are more likely to contribute to their communities.

Previous research lends support to the view that the negative affect component of well-being is strongly associated with neuroticism and that positive affect component has a similar association with extraversion. This research also supports the view that positive emotions—central components of well-being—are not merely the opposite of negative emotions, but are independent dimensions of mental health that can, and should be fostered.Although a substantial proportion of the variance in well-being can be attributed to heritable factors, environmental factors play an equally if not more important role.

 How does well-being relate to health promotion?

Health is more than the absence of disease; it is a resource that allows people to realize their aspirations, satisfy their needs and to cope with the environment in order to live a long, productive, and fruitful life. In this sense, health enables social, economic and personal development fundamental to well-being. Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health.Environmental and social resources for health can include: peace, economic security, a stable ecosystem, and safe housing.30 Individual resources for health can include: physical activity, healthful diet, social ties, resiliency, positive emotions, and autonomy. Health promotion activities aimed at strengthening such individual, environmental and social resources may ultimately improve well-being.

How is well-being defined?

There is no consensus around a single definition of well-being, but there is general agreement that at minimum, well-being includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g., contentment, happiness), the absence of negative emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfillment and positive functioning. In simple terms, well-being can be described as judging life positively and feeling good. For public health purposes, physical well-being (e.g., feeling very healthy and full of energy) is also viewed as critical to overall well-being. Researchers from different disciplines have examined different aspects of well-being that include the following:

  • Physical well-being.
  • Economic well-being.
  • Social well-being.
  • Development and activity.
  • Emotional well-being.
  • Psychological well-being.
  • Life satisfaction.
  • Domain specific satisfaction.
  • Engaging activities and work.

  How is well-being measured?

Because well-being is subjective, it is typically measured with self-reports. The use of self-reported measures is fundamentally different from using objective measures (e.g., household income, unemployment levels, neighborhood crime) often used to assess well-being. The use of both objective and subjective measures, when available, are desirable for public policy purposes.

There are many well-being instruments available that measure self-reported well-being in different ways, depending on whether one measures well-being as a clinical outcome, a population health outcome, for cost-effectiveness studies, or for other purposes. For example, well-being measures can be psychometrically-based or utility-based. Psychometrically-based measures are based on the relationship between, and strength among, multiple items that are intended to measure one or more domains of well-being. Utility-based measures are based on an individual or group’s preference for a particular state, and are typically anchored between 0 (death) to 1 (optimum health). Some studies support use of single items (e.g., global life satisfaction) to measure well-being parsimoniously. Peer reports, observational methods, physiological methods, experience sampling methods, ecological momentary assessment, and other methods are used by psychologists to measure different aspects of well-being.




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Politics and the trending social media.

Younis Sideeq Wani

Politics and the trending social media.

#social media

The dawn of #social media has not only changed the way of connecting and communicating with different people of different geography but also the political scenario. It has revolutionised the whole political beat. The political communication on the social media is vibrantly increasing with every passing day. It is changing the nature of communication because it is a tool that is being used to mobilize users in new ways. It has also surpassed and flicked over the mainstream media by becoming an online news agency. Moreover news on the social media is taking the lead over the print and the electronic media. Social media is itself a trending network.
Social media has become an interactive medium between masses and the political profiles. Users are able to connect directly to politicians and campaign managers and engage in political activities in new ways. Even…

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Main Determinants of Tourism Demand

Variation in tourism demand and  inflows is induced by many factors – ranging from economic and political to social, natural and technological. Some of them are discussed here briefly.


Income in the country of tourists’ origin plays an essential role when it comes to travelling. It is one of the most frequently used variable in tourism studies .Even during the last decade, income has continued to be chosen by many researchers as a significant determinant of tourism demand. In contrast to this unity, they each expressed income in a slightly different way.

International tourism requires money. One has to commit a significant expenditure on transport in order to get to the desired destination and of course pay for a place to stay. However not everybody finds interest in exploring foreign countries. When speaking of recreational travel it`s not necessary to spend money on it. That’s why it would make sense to use discretionary income (i.e. the amount of income that remains after we pay for all necessary expenditures) as a determinant of tourism demand.


Price comes a close second to income when choosing possible significant determinants of tourism demand. Also known as tourism or relative prices, they are difficult to measure precisely because of the wide range of products that tourists are likely to pay for while travelling. Additionally, tourism prices consist of two main components – transportation costs and the cost of living at the destination (Martin and Witt, 1987). The amount of money spent on local travel counts as a part of the cost of living at the destination.

Exchange Rates

Exchange rate is a vital determinant and influences the demand to a great level.  While making decision on their travel destination, tourists are much more aware of the changes in exchange rates than of changes in relative prices. Tourists are in habit of travelling abroad annually and mainly during summer.  Everything they spend abroad is from their annual budget. Both relative exchange rates and relative prices of travel services influence the amount of their spending and are therefore taken into account when deciding whether to take a trip abroad or choose the budget-friendly option and explore their homeland. Due to the fact that exchange rates are published daily (in newspapers, evening news etc.), the tourists have a much more precise knowledge of the values of exchange rates than they have of the prices in their planned destination while making the decision. The information on price changes is generally not known in advance, so the tourists’ only indicator of the destination’s price level is what they remember it to be at the last time they visited that particular destination.

Exchange rates vary a lot over time and are therefore constantly affecting the number of tourists visiting a certain country. The fluctuation in exchange rates can affect the tourists’ decisions in several different ways. The change can be either favourable or unfavourable. Gerakis (1966) identified the impacts caused by a change in exchange rates in favour of the tourists and described that it makes them spend more on things that they would purchase anyway, buy additional goods and moreover such a change attracts new tourists and cross-border shoppers. Reverse effects resulting from an unfavourable change in exchange rates were depicted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (1975), which identified that people tend to travel less abroad, change their final destination, spend less on destination’s goods and services and/or stay for a shorter period of time. Furthermore, they postpone their trip, use a different type of transport and those who travel for business begin to spend less. Similarly, as in cases of income and prices, many empirical studies have employed various definitions of exchange rate variable.

As recognized by Crouch (1993, p. 48), there are three types of exchange rate definitions used in tourism demand literature:

. a) Units of the origin country’s currency per unit of the destination currency.

. b) Units of the origin country’s currency per weighted unit of currencies in foreign destinations.

. c) Weighted units of alternative destinations’ currencies per unit of destination currency.

The use of each definition depends on whether the researcher is interested in identifying the effect of exchange rates on tourism flows between pairs of countries or tourism departures to a larger number of either alternative or all countries. Mainly definitions a) and b) can be found across the tourism demand studies.

The interpretation of changes in relations given by these two definitions is as follows. If the ratio a) increases, it is due to the origin country’s currency devaluation with respect to the destination’s currency. It means that the destination’s goods and services become more expensive for tourists resulting in a decline of tourism demand. Crouch (1993) adds that a change in this ratio can also occur if at time of devaluation of the origin’s currency with respect to other currencies there is a smaller reduction in the value of the destination’s currency. He further explains that the reason behind this kind of change in ratio a) could have a positive effect on tourism demand. The same reasoning can be applied to the case of multiple destinations in b).

Other Economic and Non-economic Variables

Trade Openness

Including the trade openness variable, also known as the volume of trade, in tourism demand analysis could be particularly useful when a destination’s economy is greatly driven by international business. In such destinations, tourist arrivals for business purposes make up a fair share of total arrivals. According to Abbas and Ibrahim (2011) Egypt can be viewed as a country that satisfies the previous assumption. They recognized that the volume of trade has had a significant and positive effect on the international tourism flows to Egypt during the period 1990-2008. Trade openness was measured as the sum of export and import volume between Egypt and the country of tourism’s origin divided by the sum of Egypt’s GDP and GDP of countries of tourism’s origin.

Population Size and Population Segment

It seems reasonable to include this variable among the determinants of tourism

demand. We can assume that the larger the population of countries of tourism’s origin, the more tourists will these countries generate.

The idea of investigating the influence of different population segments on tourism demand rather than focusing on the effects of total population arose quite recently. Different age groups’ consumption patterns vary a lot. Over the past decade the proportion of older people in developed countries has been steadily rising at the expense of the proportion of younger people (Alvarado and Creedy, 1998). This trend is known as population aging. It can be measured by the share of citizens who are above the retirement age. Their share has been recently rising because life expectancy has been increasing. Since the baby boom after the Second World War fertility rates have dropped significantly and the fact that the babies born then are now near or have already entered retirement certainly adds to the recent population aging trend as well. Retirement represents an important milestone and marks a start of a new and exciting chapter of life. Generally, retirees have more time and money to spend on travelling, which can considerably boost the demand for tourism. Moscardo (2006) calls this type of senior travel a `’third-age tourism” and adds that there is a rising number of companies that specialize in providing tourism services particularly for seniors.


In order to increase awareness of a particular country as attractive tourism destination tourist organizations around the world spend a lot of money on various promotion activities. Different nationalities and cultures are likely to respond differently to marketing and different destinations vary in their ability to use marketing effectively, thus it is rather difficult to model the impact of destination promotion correctly.

Country Attractiveness

Tastes vary from person to person. Moreover, they change and develop over our Life. Age is just one among other various socio-economic factors that influence travellers’ tastes. Sex, marital status and level of education also result in different tastes across population. They can further change as a consequence of rising living standards, advertising or innovation (Song et al., 2009). Due to the fact that there are so many influencing factors, it is very difficult to measure a variable to indicate tastes.

Another way to capture destination preference or popularity of a particular destination over time is by inclusion of a time trend.

Repeated Visits

People generally don’t like taking risks, it could be said that they are risk averse. Although this term is mostly used in relation to behavior of investors, it aptly describes the reluctance to take risks by tourists, too. If they enjoyed the stay in a certain destination it is highly likely that they will return to the same place next time as well. Traveling to a different country they are not familiar with would represent a certain level of uncertainty (Song et al., 2009).

Furthermore, they tell their friends and family about the lovely time they had and what they liked about the destination in particular. After that the information spreads more and more. This is known as so called Word-of-Mouth (WOM) effect. Recent evolution of technology, more specifically in digital social

networking, has encouraged the development of a digital version of WOM (eWOM). Increasing number of travellers look on online tourism review sites for details on accommodation at a particular destination in order to plan their travel (Sigala et al., 2001). Additionally, results of a survey conducted as a part of the Pew Internet and American Life Project (2006) confirm that the most searched topics on the internet are tourism related.

Some of the most popular travel websites include TripAdvisor and TravelPod. TripAdvisor calls itself the world’s largest travel site. It is a place where travellers share insights about accommodation, attractions or restaurants at a destination. It currently contains more than 100 million reviews. TravelPod allows its users to create a blog containing photos and stories about their travel experiences.

Both WOM and eWOM can be viewed as a form of marketing. They have same e_ects as promotional activities of national tourist organizations and attract more tourists to a destination. In addition, they are almost always free of charge (Sigala et al., 2001). Numerous studies have been conducted in order to decide which of these forms of marketing is more effective. Kardon (2007) concludes that tourists are more inuenced by WOM than advertising or pro motion by marketing departments.

The chance of repeated visits, i.e. habit persistence of tourists, is often proxied by the value of dependent variable lagged by one time period. If this variable is included in a model of tourism demand it is expected to have a positive sign. The lagged value accounts not only for habit persistence but also for possible supply constraints in the destinations. Among these constraints are, for example, insufficient hotel and passenger transportation capacity or shortages of staff. (Dwyer et al. 2006).


Specific time of the year, like a season or a period of school holidays, can have a significant effect on tourism demand.  Typically, if using monthly data, twelve seasonal dummy variables are included in the model and similarly four seasonal dummy variables are incorporated regarding the quarterly data (Shareef et al., 2008).

An outbreak of a disease, organization of Olympic Games, terrorist attacks, oil crises, wars, all of these are just some among many examples of one-off events, which can be captured by inclusion of a dummy variable (Song et al., 2009). Salleh et al. (2007) described and assessed the impacts of SARS (which stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) on international tourist arrivals to Malaysia. They investigated the effect of this infectious disease by including a dummy variable for the SARS outbreak in 2003 and estimated it had a negative effect on tourism ows from all of the seven Asian origin countries that were included in their analysis.

Another one-off event that has been often added in a form of dummy variable to the demand models is a year of terrorist attack. Tourism industry, unfortunately, attracts the attention of international terrorist groups, because it provides them with a wide variety of ways how to gain attention of global media. Military bases, government institutions, transportation networks and crowded places can all become targets.

Terrorist events are responsible for an abrupt change in tourists’ decision making and negatively impact upon global tourism demand. Tourists fear for their safety, and moreover, they are discouraged from travelling by heightened security checks resulting in delays in transport systems. However, the apprehension towards travelling doesn’t last long. The impact of a terrorist event on tourism is apparent particularly in the short run and has only a limited effect in the long-run (Middleton et al., 2001). During the last decade, the impact of September 11, 2001 attacks on the volume of tourism has been frequently analysed. It had an extraordinary profound effect on tourism demand across countries all over the world. The aftermath of 9/11 wasn’t sensed only in the United States but also worldwide because of its unprecedented scale that shocked the whole world.



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Dal Lake is Vital to Kashmir Tourism

lake-dal-shikava-boatDal is a lake in Srinagar (Dal Lake is a misnomer as Dal in Kashmiri means lake), the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The urban lake, which is the second largest in the state, is vital  to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named the “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir”or “Srinagar’s Jewel”.The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting.

The shore line of the lake, is about 15.5 kilometres , is encompassed by a boulevard lined with Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Baghbuilt during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C (12 °F), freezing the lake.

The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres  and is part of a natural urban  wetland which covers 21.1 square kilometres , including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known as “Rad” in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August. The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin (although Nagin is also considered as an independent lake). Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively.

The  measures  are being taken to fully address the serious eutrophication problems experienced by the lake.

Reckoned to be the heartbeat of Srinagar, Dal Lake is the finest manifestation of the power and beauty of nature. Fringed by majestic mountains and the Mughal Gardens, Dal Lake has steadfastly maintained its position as a favourite tourist place to visit in Srinagar. The canopied Shikaras sailing on the sparkling water offers a picture perfect moment. On the other hand the houseboats on the lake render luxurious accommodation option. Along with nature lovers, Dal Lake also proffers great options to adventure seekers. Water sports including water skiing, golfing and hot air balloon riding have lately become quite popular in Dal Lake. The pride of Jammu & Kashmir tourism, Dal Lake invigorates visitors with its exceptional beauty all year round.

Dal Lake House Boats

lake-dal-house-boats-640x427The first houseboats appeared during the days of British colonial rule when the beauty of this part of the country lured many of the British but the Maharaja of Kashmir strictly controlled the building of houses. The British overcame such restrictions by simply taking to the water. Each of the early houseboats were built in  particularly British style leading to them being described as “each a little piece of England”. Today’s houseboats continue to offer accommodation and style seemingly from an earlier age. Many visitors choose to stay at one of these unique floating homes but there are also good quality hotels and restaurants on the lakefront.

Spending time on the water is a priority for most people and one of the favourite modes of transport is the shikara boat which has been described as the gondola of Kashmir. The owners of houseboats invariably provide shikaras for the use of their guests and others are available for hire at reasonable, although usually negotiable, rates.

What to See at Dal Lake

There are many interesting places to visit such as the ancient temple of Shankaracharya or the masses of lotus flowers which bloom in July and August. The lake also has many floating gardens often moored in close proximity to the houseboats. These gardens are created from sections of matted vegetation which are simply cut free and manoeuvred into position. Perhaps unsurprisingly, water loving crops such as melons, cucumbers and tomatoes seem to grow particularly well in these conditions.


Floating Shops


There is always a great deal of activity on the lake and it even hosts a floating market where vendors sell their produce, directly from their boats. In some areas , swimming is popular as is canoeing and other forms of boating. During the winter months, there may even be the opportunity for skiing.

Best Time to Visit Dal Lake

The most popular time to visit Dal Lake is between June and August when the weather is probably at its most pleasant. Average summer temperatures range from 12 to 30 degrees Celsius making this a pleasant escape from the scorching summer temperatures found in much of India. Most people seem to agree with the old Maharaja on his choice of summer retreat. Winter however has its own attractions and this is when the spectacular scenery can be experienced at its magnificent best. Winter temperatures average around 1 to 11 degrees Celsius but during a harsh winter, temperatures can drop as low as minus 11 degrees and at such temperatures, the surface of the lake can freeze. Needless to say, venturing onto the frozen surface can be extremely dangerous and should not be attempted without taking specialist advice from local experts.

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