Stress management – a benefit of tourism

Last week I had an informal discussion about tourism with Mr.

Stress management – a benefit of tourism

Last week I had an informal discussion about tourism with Mr. Dinesh Samarasinghe, a lecturer attached to the University of Moratuwa who is currently reading for his PhD at the Faculty of Graduate studies, University of Colombo.

His doctoral research area is ‘Green Marketing related to Tourism’. There are many areas which we have to discuss further. Interestingly according to Tourism Industry figures about 50% US tourists would like to visit many destinations have come across after browsing the Internet extensively.

On the other hand “Sigiriya” which is considered as a number one tourist attraction does not have a well-organized web site to attract as well as retain tourists. But I think now Sri Lanka tourism has got a leader who can understand the sense and pulse of the people across different boundaries with numbers and statistics.

What is tourism? People travel across boundaries for leisure and business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines ‘tourists’ as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”. In this classification you have both local and foreign tourists.

According to World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in 2011 was USD1, 972.8bn (2.8% of GDP). It is predicted that this figure would rise by 2.8% to USD2,028.2bn in 2012.This primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). Travel and Tourism generated 98,031,500 jobs directly in 2011 (3.3% of total employment) and it is predicted that this figure would grow by 2.3% in 2012 to 100,292,000 (3.4% of total employment).

As discussed earlier, people generally travel for leisure and business. But at present, people travel for different purposes, for example, Medical Tourism (MT) which is one such emerging market. MT is patient movement from highly developed nations to other areas of the world for medical care, usually to find treatment at a lower cost.

Many surgery procedures performed in MT destinations cost a fraction of the price they do in the First World. For example, a liver transplant that costs $300,000 USD in the USA costs about $91,000 USD in Taiwan.

The main purpose of this article is it to discuss “Tourism and Stress Management”. People travel for leisure or business to different destinations. Yet, the world they see, the atmosphere they feel can always be considered as factors important for stress management. People are concerned about their health. Stress represents that situation which exerts a mental or physical pressure on a person. Stress can cause changes and disturbances in the human body. In this context, practitioners and scholars argued and tried to relate stress management into health tourism. According to Benner, King and Milner (2004) any pleasure-oriented tourism which involves an element of stress relief could be considered to be a form of health tourism.

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In this milieu, the discourses and facilities like “Herbal” “Spa” are really important. Smith and Puczkó (2009) argued that, in historical terms, health and wellness practices have been much embedded in regional and local traditions and cultures, with available natural resources also determining the forms of wellness that were developed. Sri Lanka has traditional Ayurvedic medicinal practices for a long time. According to the research done in Portugal by using 824 as sample by their SPA Goers reveal that the main motive of the respondents who are visiting a SPA is connected to relieving stress and/or relaxation (Gustavo,2008). Sri Lanka is always famous as the best destination to travel. The beauty of the country is all about the variety which has been admired by many people. Following remarks of Fa-Hsien on Sri Lanka, illustrate these facts well.

“The people of various countries heard how pleasant the land was, and flocked to it in numbers till it became a great nation. The climate is temperate and attractive, without any difference of summer and winter. The vegetation is always luxuriant. Cultivation proceeds whenever men think fit: there are no fixed seasons for it.”

Fa-Hsien: A Record of the Buddhistic Kingdoms (394-414 CE)

Sri Lanka is well-known for tourism and hospitality. Traveling can be considered reduce the stress. According to Charlotte Gerber, Travel can help you relieve stress in the following ways:

• Fresh air and sunshine are good for our health. Fresh air increases oxygen in our blood and in turn, gives us more energy. Sunshine is a mood elevator and can help people ward off depression.

• Play and relaxation are perfect ways to decrease tension. Whether you spend your time, mountain climbing, riding roller coasters or just sitting on the beach, doing the things you enjoy most, will relieve stress.

• Freedom. When you’re on vacation, throw any schedules away. Sleep in, stay up late, do things when you want to. The whole point of a vacation is to get away from a daily schedule. Put those cell phones and lap tops away if you want to experience total freedom from your everyday life.

It is clear that traveling always help to the reduce stress; Sri Lanka is the ideal place for a holiday and travelling. Even though experts claim many reasons for people traveling abroad as tourists, we have to understand the inner psychology of the tourists. In order to achieve competitive advantage of tourism, the country should understand and analyze different options and tradeoffs. Sri Lanka is expecting more than two million tourists within the next two years. There should be a strategic plan which needs to be carefully reviewed by experts by having the sense of tourism market with interest.

This report was published by the World Institute For Asian Studies by Dr Nalin Abeysekera.

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