Leisure and Recreation are Vital to Tourism Industry

Leisure has been defined as as free time. Leisure is as well an experience.

Free time is time spent away from business, work, job hunting, domestic chores and education. It also excludes time spent on necessary activities such as eating and sleeping. From a research perspective, this approach has the advantages of being quantifiable and comparable over time and place. Leisure as experience usually emphasizes dimensions of perceived freedom and choice. It is done for “its own sake”, for the quality of experience and involvement.

In dictionaries it is a noun and bears following meanings

1.freedom from the demands of work or duty:
She looked forward to retirement and a life of leisure.
2.time free from the demands of work or duty, when one can rest, enjoy hobbies or sports, etc.:
Most evenings he had the leisure in which to follow his interests.
3.unhurried ease: a work written with leisure and grace.

Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time.The “need to do something for recreation” is an essential element of human biology and psychology.Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be “fun”.

Recreation covers broadly any pursuit taken up during leisure time other than those to which people have a high commitment (overtime, second job, home study and various maintenance jobs around the house). Tribe (2005) adds that recreational pursuits include home-based activities such as reading and watching television, and those outside the home including sports.

The term recreation appears to have been used in English first in the late 14th century, first in the sense of “refreshment or curing of a sick person”, and derived turn from Latin (re: “again”, creare: “to create, bring forth, beget.)

In dictionaries it is categorized as noun and have these meanings

1.refreshment by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like.
2.a pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment.

Both Leisure and Recreation are often prerequisites for tourism.

Boundaries between recreation and tourism are blur, as both activities often share
the same environments and facilities and compete for space and finance :
• Steps taken to improve the environment and to conserve and restore the national
heritage benefit both recreation and tourism;
• High quality provision for local recreation (ice rinks, yacht moorings, golf
courses) will often enhance tourism interest in the area and generate demands for
accommodation and other services. Tourism products may also be created by
improvements in cultural resources (museums, concerts halls, theatres);
• Exotic leisure developments such as theme parks or ski resorts invariably need
to attract tourists as well as day users. Hotels and resort facilities may partly rely
on revenues generated by local users (functions, club membership, restaurant
usage etc.).
It is really hard to draw a line where recreation ends and tourism starts. When not talking about statistics then it is also not so important. It is important to understand that both try to save environment and use it as sustainable as possible. Also both have to main target groups – locals and tourists. Both groups can use and benefit from facilities developed in the area.

Tourism, recreation and leisure are overlapping concepts and there are difficulties defining the terms. But there are certain criteria for all of them. Leisure includes discretionary time, recreation is an activity on leisure time and tourism is temporary visiting.

Relationship between Leisure,Recreation and Tourism(Hall and Page 2007)

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The Tourism Product: A Bundle Satisfying Needs and Wants

A product is anything that can be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need.A tourism product is the bundle of the physical and psychological satisfaction it provides to tourists during their travelling to the destination. The tourist product focuses on facilities and services designed to meet the needs and wants of the visitor. It is considered a composite product, as the total of a country’s tourist attractions, transport, and accommodation and of entertainment which results in customer satisfaction. Each of the components of a tourist product are provided by individual providers of services like hotel companies, airlines, travel agencies, etc. Some of the components are listed here.

We often, while purchasing a tourism product purchase an experience.

Attractions

Of the three essential components of a tourist product, attractions are vital. Unless there is an attraction, pull, the tourist will not be motivated to go to a particular place. Attractions are defining element in a product determining the choice made by individual traveler to visit any particular destination than another. The attractions could be cultural, like sites and areas of archaeological interest, historical buildings and monuments, flora and fauna, beach resorts, mountains, national parks or events like fairs, exhibitions, arts and music festivals, games to name a few. Though often influenced by fashion the attractions of tourism are, to a very large extent, geographical in character. Location and accessibility are vitally important.

Physical space may be considered  a component for tourists who seeks the Wilderness and Solitude. Scenery or landscape is a compound of landforms; water and the vegetation and has an aesthetic and recreative value. Climatic conditions, particularly  the amount of the sunshine, temperature and precipitation (snow and rain), are of particular significance in a tourist product.

Animal life and biodiversity of a destination may be a major attraction like bird watching or sports such as fishing and hunting. A variety of cultural features as ways of life, folklore, artistic expressions, etc. provide valuable attractions to many.

Accessibility

Tourist attractions will be of little importance if their locations are inaccessible by the normal means of transport. To get to his destination, a tourist needs some mode of transportation. This mode may be a car, a coach, an aeroplane, a ship or a train which enables him to reach his destination. If tourist destinations are places where no transport can reach or where there are inadequate transport facilities, they are of little value. The destination, which is located near the tourist generating markets and is on a network of transport, receive the maximum number of tourists. The distance factor also plays a significant role in determining a visitor’s choice of a destination. Longer distances cost much more on travel as compared to short distances. An example can be tof India. About two and a half million tourist a for a country of the size of India may look rather unimpressive. If we look at certain factors like the country’s distance from the wealthy tourist markets of the world namely  United States, Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia, one may conclude that the long distance is one of the factors responsible for low arrivals. It costs a visitor from these countries, quite a substantial amount, to visit India for a holiday.Europe and North America are main generating and receiving areas for international tourism, accounting for as much as 70% and 20% respectively, of international tourist arrivals. Easy accessibility is an essential factor for the  development of tourism growth.

Accommodation

The accommodation and other  ancillary services necessarily complement the tourist attractions. Accommodation plays a central role and is very basic to tourist destinations. World Tourism Organization,in its definition of a tourist has stated that he must spend at least one night in the destination visited, to qualify as a tourist. This condition presupposes availability of some accommodation. The demand for accommodation away from one’s home is met by a variety of ways. The accommodation sector is quite varied and has undergone considerable change since the last half century. There has been a decline in the use of boarding houses and small private hotels. Large hotels are increasing their share of holiday trade, especially in big metropolitan areas and popular destinations. In  Europ, big hotels are maintaining holiday resorts. In recent years, some changes have been reflected in the type of accommodation. There has been an increasing demand for more unconventional and informal types of accommodation. The latest trends in accommodation are holiday and heritage villages. In recent years there has been an increase in the pull of such accommodations. Second home ownership has also increased recently.Homestay are  also fast becoming  a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling.

Accommodation may sometimes in itself be a major tourist attraction. In fact, a large number of tourists visit a particular destination or town simply because there is an excellent luxury hotel or resort which provides excellent services and facilities. Some countries as Switzerland, Holland, France, Austria, and Belgium have earned a reputation for providing excellent accommodation with good cuisines. Many hotel establishments in various countries, especially the resort hotels, have earned a reputation for their excellent cuisine, services and facilities.

Amenities

Amenities are a necessary aid to the tourist centre. For a sea-side resort, facilities like swimming, boating, yachting, surf-riding, and other services like dancing, recreation and other amusements are essential for every tourist centre. Amenities can be of two types; natural, like beaches, sea-bathing, possibilities of fishing, opportunities for climbing, trekking, viewing and human-made, various entertainment and facilities which cater to the particular needs of the tourists. Excellent sandy beaches, sheltered from the sunshine with palm and coconut trees and offering good bathing conditions make great tourist attractions. Other natural amenities such as waters for the purpose of sailing, or the opportunities for fishing and hunting are also vital.

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The environmental costs of Trump’s wall

Shonil Bhagwat

Shonil Bhagwat, The Open University

It looks like Donald Trump’s “great, great wall” is actually going to happen. Its likely impact on human society has been well-noted, but in the longer-term a barrier across an entire continent will also have severe ecological consequences.

The US-Mexico border is around 1,900 miles (3,100 km) long and some of it has already been fenced off. According to Trump the proposed wall will cover approximately 1,000 miles and “natural obstacles” such as rivers or mountains will take care of the rest.

Aside from the debates over whether or not the wall will do much to stop drug trafficking or illegal immigration, how much it will cost the US taxpayer, or whether Mexico will pay for it, a 1,000-mile wall has significant environmental costs. For a start, all that concrete will generate millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions. And then you have…

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What We Study in Urban Geography: Meaning and Scope

Geography is the study of the physical and human/social environments of the Earth, while urban inquiry focuses on the people and processes of cities and towns — which now account, for the first time in human history, for a majority of the world’s population.  Urban geography, then, is concerned with the relations among people, and between people and their environments, in cities and towns across the world.

Such a simple definition is indeed helpful, but it’s only a first step.  Consider both terms in the phrase “urban geography.”  The “urban” is often a debated category:  for some, the term includes a wide range of comparatively dense settlements, from big cities all the way to small towns and even low-density suburbs out on the edges of cities; for others, the word is only useful if it refers to the most dense parts of the biggest cities with millions of people.  There is also some disagreement, moreover, on what is distinctively and fundamentally urban about the important social, economic, and political changes of our era:  yes, we see a lot of fascinating things happening in cities, but does the city change any of the processes underway in society?  Despite these disagreements — and perhaps because of them — the “urban” is at the heart of the most urgent questions being asked in many fields today.  One of the most prominent urban geographers sums up the history this way:

“The study of urban places is central to many social sciences, including geography, because of their importance not only in the distribution of population within countries but also in the organization of economic production, distribution and exchange, in the structuring of social reproduction and cultural life, and in the exercise of political power.  Sub-fields of the different social science disciplines were established in the decades after the Second World War to study these separate components, such as urban anthropology, economics, geography, politics, and sociology; later attempts were made to integrate these under the umbrella title of urban studies.”  (Johnston 2000, p. 870).

The second part — geography — brings us into interesting territory.  Many people don’t really understand what geography is, other than the elementary-school memorization of countries, capitals, and commodities.   Don’t we already know where everything is?  But even once we get past those widespread popular misconceptions, it can still be rather difficult to categorize geographers.  “Like other aspects of human geography,” Paul Knox and Linda McCarthy write, “urban geography is concerned with ‘local variability within a general context.’  This means that it is concerned with an understanding of both the distinctiveness of individual places (in this case, towns and cities) and the regularities within and between cities in terms of the spatial relationships between people and their environment.”   (Knox and McCarthy 2005, p. 2, citing Johnston 1984, p. 444).  Environment means both the physical-natural and human-social worlds, reflecting the shared heritage of human and physical geography.  In turn, the human-physical duality in the field hints at the sense of ambiguity that you probably detect when you talk with geographers:  they’re pretty hard to pigeonhole, not only because some of them study physical phenomena (climate, rivers, mountains, forests) while others focus on human processes (social, economic, political).  But they also seem to go about their work in very different ways, using different tools, languages, and styles of communication.  As a result, geographers might very well be best described as undisciplined members of an elusive discipline.  If you’re a bit unsettled by all this ambiguity, you’re in good company.  The eminent historian of geography David Livingstone describes efforts to summarize the field this way:

“Because the term ‘geography’ means, and has meant, different things to different people in different times and places, there is no agreed-upon consensus on what constitutes the project of writing the history of this enterprise.  Moreover, while the story of geography as an independent scholarly discipline is inescapably bound up with the history of the professionalization of academic knowledge since around the middle of the nineteenth century, it is clear that the history of geography as a discourse not only operates without such constraints but also reaches beyond the historical and institutional confines of the modern-day discipline.  Of course geography as discourse and discipline are interrelated in intimate ways — one might even say that the purpose of a discipline is precisely to ‘discipline’ discourse.”  (Livingston 2000, p. 304).

In this paper, our main goal is “to make sense of the ways that towns and cities have changed and are changing, with particular reference to the differences both between urban places and within them.”  (Knox and McCarthy 2005, p. 2).  We tackle four distinct, and yet inter-related, sets of questions.

First, how do cities and other kinds of human settlements vary across time and space?  How has the evolution of cities reflected prevailing historical conditions?  What are the crucial differences between cities within particular regions or countries, and between different countries?  How do certain cities reflect the distinctive circumstances of their geographical context?

Second, what regularities unite seemingly different cities?  What are the similarities in patterns, processes, and relationships within different cities, and in networks between cities?

Third, how do social relations shape the form of the city?  How are particular activities, land uses, and social groups distributed within and among cities?

Fourth, how does the form of the city shape social relations?  How do spatial constraints and locational considerations, for example, influence the way that people decide where to live and where to work?  How do the geographies of cities created in previous generations influence the decisions of today’s corporations, investors, and governments as they gradually create new urban geographies?

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