Impact of Sociology and Psychology Factors on Leisure/Tourism Activity Essay

Dyer, Gursoy, Sharma & Carter (2007, p. 409) argued that tourism is prominent in Australia’s economic restructuring, particularly in regional and coastal areas. There are many aspects such as history, attitudes and culture to contemplate when defining the meaning of leisure, though it is essential the participation of recreational activities free from any other obligations or responsibilities (Lynch & Veal 2006, p. 25). The issues statement provided for discussion through this essay is: Australian governments, industry bodies and organizations work to promote leisure participation through a range of event, sport, tourism or hospitality experiences. All individuals have the opportunity to participate in these leisure experiences and can benefit from them if they make the effort”. This essay embodies psychological and sociological concepts to evaluate tourism experience. Following the essay, it will analyse two areas separately. It is divided into three parts in sociological aspect which are time, socio-economic and gender. In psychology aspect, it will emphasise on motivation and satisfaction.

Through the conveyance of our study and research, the perspective held throughout this essay will agree with the statement that “All individuals have the opportunity to participate in these leisure experiences and can benefit from them if they make the effort”. Sociology Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups, and societies, sometimes defined as the study of social interactions (Osborne & Van Loon 1998, p. 3). That means all social activity is not only just individuals’, but also connects with members of groups and institution.

For tourism, tourists are usually stratified by geography, age, sex and socio-economic status (Dann 1977, p. 185). While this essay will discuss the aspect of time, socio-economic and gender. Time is one of the key elements in a tourist’s decision-making and people must adapt themselves to the amount of time the tourist has available at destination (Martinez-Garcia & Josep 2008, p. 1064). Leisure time is an important factor affecting tourism activities and a tourist will consider how much leisure time to save for the future, because leisure time has its price (Gu 1995, p. 39). Gu (1995, p. 239) argued that “leisure time given up today can be transformed into additional discretionary income and saved for tomorrow, because non-regular working opportunities such as overtime work, second job and summer teaching always exist, and individual has the flexibility of allocating his or her leisure time between today and tomorrow”. Stockhausen (1998, p. 1676) argued that people may be deprived of leisure as there are no time left after work and family obligations. If people have too much work or housework then they will not go to participate in tourism.

Martinez-Garcia & Josep (2008, p. 1067) argued the amount of time available is limited and must be distributed, among other things, between the time dedicated to travel and the time spent for work. That means how much time people can spend for tourism depend how much time they left after work. The socio-economic also impact of tourism on destinations (Martinez-Garcia & Josep 2008, p. 1064). Tourism consumption not only requires amount of time but also requires a significant amount of money (Gu 1995, p. 242).

There are some negative socio-economic impact tourism, such as high spending tourists are likely to negatively affect people’s way of living; it is likely to change our precious traditional culture; it is likely to result in unpleasantly overcrowded beaches, hiking trails, parks and other outdoor places in people’s community; it is likely to put more pressure on local services such as police and fire protection, utilities and roads; the price of goods and services are likely to increase because of tourism and construction of hotels and other tourist facilities are likely to destroy the natural environment (Dyer, Gursoy, Sharma & Carter 2006, p. 414).

The role of gender, and the inequalities correlated with this ideology, is most apparent in how a particular culture perceives the role of tourism as a leisure activity (Dunning 1999, p. 222). The women’s recreation is constrained by patriarchy-the pervasive power of men in society. It is so easy to force women have no time to engage in recreation. Women always consider a range of social or environmental factors before participate in the leisure activities such as safety, their behaviour and level of control (Lynch & Veal 2006, p. 377). Tourism is one of recreation activities, so before join in it, they will consider where they will go, who they go with, there is safe for them and so on. Also, women always play the role as wife and mother, and then they should do the housework and look after children even if they got a job.

In general, women lack of access to appropriate space for leisure, they usually have less leisure time than men, especially for those in paid employment, and then women have less chance to participate in tourism activities. On the other hand, men have more time and more chance to go to travel than women. Overall, gender influences individuals to participate in tourism activity. Psychology This section discusses psychological factors of tourism activities. In terms of psychology, tourism is indication of tourists’ ideas and opinions about going on trips, about where to go and what to do, and about how to relate to other tourists, locals, service personnel. (Leiper, cited in Richardson & Fluker 2008, p. 6).

Nowadays, there are various choices of tourism experience which people can choose and enjoy, fulfilling their satisfaction. To explain the facts related to psychological perspective such as why people look for tour and why tourists revisit the same destination, this section discusses tourists’ motivation and needs, and cognition next. Tourists’ motivations play an important role in understanding their behaviour. According to Iso-Ahola (cited in Ryan 2003, p. 84), motivation happens when people want to satisfy their needs and achieve psychological rewards with travel. As tourists’ needs are assorted, they can meet their satisfaction in different experiences. So, their preferences of tourism choices are also different.

In general, People need to escape and seek, for instance, they want to escape from routine such as home or work environment and want to experience new place (McCabe 2000). In addition, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be applied to tourists’ needs for tourism; physical needs at base (rest, relaxation and exercise), safety/security needs (friendship groups and youth subcultures), love/affiliation needs (family leisure activities related to sexual partnering and team sports), social and self-esteem needs (exercise of skills in sport and cultural activities) and self-actualisation at the highest level (engaged in for their own sake) (Lynch & Veal 2006). For example, some individuals travel to relax and rest in order to escape their daily life; however, others travel to gain enjoyment from tourism experiences.

In short, travellers can have different goals to achieve if they tour same place. There are two factors that influence tourists’ motivations; push and pull factors (Richardson & Fluker 2008). While push factors refer to socio-psychological motives, pull factors are not from tourists themselves but the destination itself (safety, attraction, climate etc. ) (Goossens 2000). McGehee et al. (cited in Meng & Uysal 2008, p. 448) stated that male and female tourists are influenced by push and pull factors in different degrees. In Australia, women tend to be affected by society, status and opportunities for family bonding, while men regard sports and adventure as more significant when they choose their trip.

According to Burnett-Wolle and Godbey (2007), there are differences and similarities of tourism motivation between young and old people; older adults are not likely to be affected by acquiring career related experience and understanding others. However, both young and old people tend to be motivated by enhancing self-esteem, reducing negative affect, exercising values, and making friends. All individuals have their own characteristics so they feel differently when they visit same destination based on their tastes. There is a satisfaction process which can be affected by expectation and disconfirmation. According to Bosque and Martin (2008, p. 53), satisfaction is defined as ‘an individual’s cognitive-affective state derived from a tourist experience’. Previous destination image, past experience and fellow tourists can affect tourists’ expectation. According to Maddux (cited in Larsen 2007, p. 9), an expectation can be defined as ‘the individual’s ability to anticipate, to form beliefs about and to predict future events and states’. In pre-purchase stage, people develop their expectation based on not only the image of destination (made by previous experience) but also fellow tourists’ opinions (Neal & Gursoy 2008). A positive image of the place will have an optimistic effect on the individual’s beliefs of a future experience.

Tourists are likely to rely on their beliefs or expectations. As tours are intangible, evaluations are too difficult. In post-purchase stage, travellers tend to compare the actual performance with their expectation. If the actual performance exceeds tourists’ expectation, it is possible for them to have positive disconfirmation. Conversely, they are likely to have negative disconfirmation when their actual performance does not meet their expectation (Neal & Gursoy 2008). The satisfaction is affected by disconfirmation, emotion and comparing costs with rewards. Positive disconfirmation makes tourist satisfied with their travel. And emotion can affect their satisfaction independently.

The emotional states will determine tourists’ response in satisfaction process because individuals’ enjoyment is based on their own experiences (Bosque & Martin 2008). Furthermore, Oliver and Swan (cited in Neal & Gursoy 2008, p. 54) argued that tourist’ satisfaction is formed by comparing costs (price, time and efforts) with rewards (benefits from tour). If they feel their benefits exceed costs they spend, they are likely to evaluate their experiences positively. Consequently, the higher level of tourist satisfaction causes the stronger loyalty to the destination. They are willing to revisit that places and recommend to other tourists by word-of-mouth (Bosque & Martin 2008; Chi & Qu 2008).

In conclusion, our society has been aware of leisure importance recently. Especially, governments and organisations are trying to help all individuals to participate in tourism activities. A number of people enjoy their tourism because they are affected by psychology and sociology factors. When people travel, they need to spend amount of time and money. People should manage their time between work and leisure, and they can afford to go on a tour as well. In addition, gender inequality of opportunities in tourism exists even though the awareness has been improved. Because women are likely to consider social factors and perform domestic responsibility.

While tourists can be motivated by external factors, internal factors also affect decision-making of tourism activities. Tourists meet their needs through tourism experiences. And all individuals have different needs and motivation, so the types of tourism they pursue are diverse. Generally, tourists are satisfied with their tourism experiences based on their cognition processes, which are affected by their previous experiences and expectation. Governments and organisations need to not only motivate tourists to take part in tourism but also support all individuals to enjoy their tourism activities in society when they are willing to participate in tourism.