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The expert's opinion

The expert's opinion

Sociologist Dr Viard answers our holiday-related questions.    

What do you think is behind the trend for 'different' holidays?
There's a greater focus on leisure time in our society: we have more time to take holidays, and the holiday industry is constantly innovating, as it always has done: we now go on holiday to ski, camp and trek. The different types of holiday that are becoming popular show that we're seeking more authentic holidays, more extreme activities and more links with the natural world.  

Why the need to be different?
People go away to get away from their day-to-day routine and do different things. Those who go on original holidays tend to go quite often and they're also likely to go again. The globe-trotting type tends to go away on average 5-10 times a year for 3-7 days. That adds to over 350 holidays in a lifetime! It also means we're always looking for something new. Our holidays give us identity and social standing in relation to others, which is why it's so important to do exciting things on holiday.  

Are people still looking to go that bit further?
We're experiencing a new relationship with time and space. We can now cover long distances in short times, which reduces our idea of distance drastically. A billion people worldwide cross a border each year (and that doesn't include those who would travel if they had the means to). But whether you go far from home or not, the important thing is to feel you're doing something different. Whether that means going camping in the Cotswolds or trekking in Mauritania is down to the individual. Each to their own idea of heaven!


Sarah Horrocks
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