chapter  3
Leisure: Meaning and Impact on Travel Behavior
Pages 18

Leisure as a part of human existence today has acquired a significant meaning and impact as the human race tries to grapple with the growing complexities of balancing work, social, and personal or family lives. Leisure is advised to be integrated in work life as a means of enhancement of the quality of life. On the other hand, the workplace is invading private lives with such practices as flextime, working from home, and technology that enables individuals to be “at work” anywhere and anytime. Therefore, most working people undergo a constant tussle trying to resolve this conundrum, which usually translates into managing time, expenditure, relationships, personal desires, and social commitments. The pressure that the workplace and earning a livelihood exerts on average individuals and families today can be well gauged from the Wellner (2000) report that in the United States an average married couple labors for a staggering 717 hours (or 26 percent) more each year than a working couple did in 1969. This pressure on time, and the effort needed to be “at leisure,” must be considered in the context of the importance of leisure in our lives. Bright (2000) lists the benefits of leisure as constituting all aspects of human existence, including psychological (e.g., improved self-concept, reflection of personal values, peak experiences); psychophysiological (e.g., cardiovascular health, disease control, mental and physical restoration); sociological (e.g., community stability, family solidarity, cultural identity); economic (e.g., employment, income,

health care costs); and environmental (e.g., preservation, conservation). A study of the impact of the expectation of a holiday on an individual’s sense of well-being conducted by Gilbert and Junaida (2002) offers an investigation into what effect the expectation of a holiday has on the sense of well-being of would-be tourists. They report significant differences between the holiday-taking group and the nonholiday-taking group in terms of current effect, well-being, and in three specific life domains: family, economic situation, and health. It appears that those who are waiting to go on holiday are much happier with their life as a whole, experience less negative or unpleasant feelings, and thus enjoy an overall net positive effect or pleasant feelings. The holiday-taking groups were also happier with their family, economic situation, and health domains compared to the non-holidaytaking-group. Apart from the sociological and psychological interest in the concept, leisure has serious connotations for any economy, and could be seen within the following (corporate and economic) perspectives:

1. Demands for increased productivity from employees as a financial, human resource, and operations management objective.