We want to banish for ever the words
  “I’ve never been on holiday”

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Holidays Matter is a movement committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from breaks away from home.

We know that time spent engaging in leisure and tourism activities is important for the health, well-being and prosperity of individuals and communities – and that this too has implications for wider society.

‘Social tourism’ is the name given to the branch of the tourism industry that seeks to help vulnerable or disadvantaged groups who normally wouldn’t be able to benefit from tourism opportunities. We define it is providing equitable access to breaks away from home, for people who would otherwise be excluded. And Holidays Matter has social tourism at its heart.

The objectives of Holidays Matter are to:

  • help more people benefit from breaks
  • build a network of businesses, voluntary sector groups, and tourism bodies with an interest in increasing provision of holidays and breaks for those who don’t currently take part
  • become a central resource for the latest research and information on social tourism
  • influence policy at a local and national level to recognise the importance of holidays and breaks
  • learn from the best models in mainland Europe and implement this learning in the UK
  • bring together organisations under the Holidays Matter mark to present a coherent message using consistent terminology

Put simply, our aim is to help as many people as possible to benefit from social tourism. Today in Britain one third of the population cannot find the money for an annual holiday and still more miss out because the challenges of daily life are too great.  We simply cannot afford to have a third of the UK population excluded from the many benefits a simple break or day trip can provide.

We’ve created this video, summarising our key aims and objectives and the need for change.

Holidays matter because people matter

Researchers from the Universities of Surrey and Westminster published findings1 that social tourism led to increase in self-esteem, expansion of social networks, skills development and improvements in mental health. They also reported that holidays facilitated closer family ties, greater participation in education and paid work, and more proactive and positive attitudes towards forms of social intervention such as marriage counselling and encouragement to attend school.

Studies carried out by Nottingham University Business School for the Family Holiday Association showed a statistically significant increase in life satisfaction after a break away from home.2  Other research has linked holidays with better sleep, lower stress and even maintaining a healthy blood pressure.3

A UK parliamentary research paper4 noted that social tourism initiatives undertaken by some European states have boosted their respective economies considerably. The paper pointed out that Spain’s government invests €125 million each year via its Institute for Elderly and Social Services (IMSERSO) yet receives €1.50 in associated extra tax revenue and cost savings for every €1 spent. It also highlighted the success of initiatives in France, where a scheme involving the distribution of €1.3 billion-worth of holiday vouchers is estimated to have generated €5 billion for the wider economy; and Belgium, where the Tourist Board runs a successful Holiday Participation Centre that provides maintenance and construction grants to accommodation providers who agree to offer reduced rates to low-income and disadvantaged groups.

In response to this overwhelming proof of the benefits of breaks away from home, for the individual and for our communities, the aim of Holidays Matter is to ensure equitable access to these opportunities for everyone in society – especially those who would normally be excluded.

1Minnaert, Maitland & Miller, 2009.
22 Nottingham University Business School, 2012.
3Kuoni/Nuffield Health, 2013.
4All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Tourism, ‘Giving Britain a Break: Inquiry into the social and economic benefits of social tourism’, 2011