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Push And Pull Factor In Tourism Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 3196 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Modern tourism has become one of the strongest and most remarkable phenomena of the time. To discover its true nature, one must attempt to understand how the various components are connected to each other, and what are the causes and effects, the conjectures and the realities. One must first grasp the workings of the mechanism before he can determine the means of controlling, changing, and improving it. But the connections are discernible if one limits himself to a narrow, sector-based view (Krippendorf, 1987).

The greatest reason for travel can be summed up in one work, “Escape”, escape from the dull, daily routine; escape from the familiar, the common place, the ordinary; escape from the job, the boss, the customer, the commuting, the house the lawn, the leaky faucets.

The benefits of tourism can be wide ranging, extending to benefits to the economy, social life for people living in destinations as well as personal benefits to tourist (UNWTO 1999; Bureau International du Tourisme Sociale (BITS) 2006). These tourism benefits have been found to include: rest and recuperation from work; provision of new experiences lading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication; promotion of peace and understanding; personal and social development; visiting friends and relatives; religious pilgrimage and health (Dann, 1977).

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Push / Pull Factor

Although a universally agree-upon conceptualization of the tourist motivation construct is still lacking (Fodness, 1994), the push/pull model is accepted by many researchers (Dann, 1977; 1981; Crompton, 1979; Zhang and Lam, 1999; Jang and Cai, 2002; Hsu and Lam, 2003). Push factors are defined as internal motives or forces that cause tourists to seek activities to reduce their needs, while pull factors are destination generated forces and the knowledge that tourists hold about a destination (Gnoth, 1997). Most push factors are instrinsic motivators, such as the desire for escape, rest and relaxation, prestige, health and fitness, adventure and social interaction. Pull factors emerge due to the attractiveness of a destination, including beaches, recreation facilities and cultural attractions (Uysal and Jurowski, 1994). Traditionally, push factors are considered important in initiating travel desire, while pull factors are considered more decisive in explaining destination choice (Crompton, 1979, Bello and Etzel, 1985).

Crompton (1979) identifies two clusters of motives among pleasure vacationers, namely socio-psychological motives and cultural motives. Nine motives were generated based on an analysis of 39 unstructured interviews. the seven socio-psychological motives are; escape from a perceived mundane environment, exploration and evaluation of self, relaxation, prestige, regression, enhancement of kinship relationships and facilitation of social interaction; those classified as cultural motives are novelty and education. Although not explicit, Crompton hopes to link these motives to push and pull factors by arguing that push factors for a vacation are socio-psychological motives, while pull factors are cultural motives.

Similarly, Dann (1977) builds his theory based on two conceptualizations: anomie and eo-enhancement. By taking a sociological approach to tourist motivation, Dann identifies anomie and ego-enhancement as two important travel motives. He further argues that both motives are ‘push’ factors. Anomie represents the desire to transcend the feeling of isolation obtained in everyday life, where the tourist simply wishes to ‘get away from it all’. On the other hand, ego-enhancement derives from the level of personal needs. Just as in the need for social interaction people wish to be recognized. The need to have one’s ego enhanced or boosted is analogous to the desire for a ‘bodily tune-up’.

Dann (1977) distinguishes the characteristics of anomic tourists and ego-enhancement tourists. The anomic tourists are typically young, married, male, above-average socio-economic status, from small towns and rural areas, and repeat visitors. Ego-enhancement tourists represent the opposite end of spectrum. This group is more likely female, first-time visitors, from lower socio-economic strata and older than anomic tourists.

Dann favours ‘push’ factors, and argues that an examination of ‘push’ factors is logically, and often temporally, an antecedent to ‘pull’ factors. Moreover, he argues that the question of ‘what makes tourists travel’ can only relate to the ‘push’ factors, as this question is devoid of destination or value content requirements of ‘pull’ factors. While Dann admits that both the anomie and ego-enhancement concepts stem from ‘push’ factors, he does not regard the relationship between these two concepts as dichotomous. Instead, he constructs his theoretical framework as a continuum, with anomie and ego-enhancement as the polar coordinates.

The pull factors are active sports environment, unique natural environment, safety, sunshine, inexpensiveness, cultural activities, entertainment, sightseeing, local culture, different culture and cuisine and uniqueness of small towns/villages/mountains.

From the above descriptions of anomie and ego-enhancement, it should be clear that not only does travel represent the fulfilment of certain basic needs in the potential tourists, but that in so doing it offers him an alternative world to that in which he daily lives. It can be argued, for instance, that in the monotony of suburbia, the faceless city or the public village, life only becomes tolerable with the thought that there are chances of periodic escape from such an existence, and that travel provides the ideal outlets.

Tourist Motivation

Human society, once so sedentary, has begun to move. Today a hurried mobility has obsessed most of the inhabitants of the industrialized nations. One seizes every opportunity to free oneself. To escape the boredom of everyday life as often as possible: short jaunts during the week or week-end, long trips during vacations. Nobody wants anything more fervently for their old age than a secondary residence. Above all, one does not want to stay home but to get away at any price (Krippendorf, 1987).

The subject of tourist motivation involves questions about why people travel. However, identifying clearly the relationships between an individual’s motivations and selection of a destination is a difficult task. Krippendorf (1987), for instance, identified a number of tourist motivations, including:

Recuperation and regeneration;

Compensation and social integration;



Broadening the mind;

Freedom and self-determination;



Collectively, these motivations reflect that ‘the traveller is a mixture of many characteristics that cannot be simply assigned into this category or that one’ (Krippendorf, 1987: 28). He furthers states that, man spends part of his leisure time in mobile leisure activities, that is in travel, which opens a window to the world of the ordinary. This departure or escape is typified and conditioned by specific influences, motivations, and expectations. The purposes of travel constitute the polar opposite of daily life: they represent the non-ordinary. In this context, it is especially interesting to examine the behaviour and experiences of travellers, the circumstances and environment of the people visited (the hosts), and the encounters between travellers and other travellers, especially between travellers and hosts.

The system of work – habitat – leisure – travel is enclosed in a large framework and influenced by the force which governs it. One can distinguish four major domains of these forces, which are connected to each other by numerous interactions: society with its value system (sociocultural subsystem); the economy and its structure (economic subsystem); the environment and its resources (ecological subsystem); the government and its policies (political subsystem) (Rotach, Mauch, and Gueller 1982: 35ff).

Krippendorf believes that the main motive for tourism is to escape from something that we feel is wrong in our daily lives. In today’s highly technological world we feel trapped in routines and commitments over which we have no control, says Krippendorf.

Nowadays, the need to travel is above all created by society and marked by the ordinary. People leave because they no longer feel at ease where they are, where they work, and where they live. They feel an urgent need to rid themselves temporarily of the burdens imposed by the everyday work, home and leisure scenes, in order to be in a fit state, to pick the burden up again. Their work is more and more mechanized, bureaucratized, and determined without regard to their wishes. Deep inside, they feel the monotony of the ordinary, the cold rationality of factories, offices, apartment buildings, and the highway infrastructure, the impoverishment of human contact, the repression of feelings, the degradation of nature, and the loss of nature (Krippendorf, 1987).

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Kripendorf highlights, besides the motivation, the society has simultaneously furnished to its members the means of carrying out this escape: money, in the form of higher income; and time, thanks to more and more limited work schedules. But most important of all, industry has developed the true prime mover of mobile society. The car and, to a lesser extent, the airplane have ushered in the mobile leisure revolution and have brought it to today’s state in scarcely two decades and at an amazing speed.

The society makes available the recreation industry, which plays in a sense the role of friend and advisor. This industry has taken over free time. It provides not only various kinds of gratification, but also creates, if necessary, the corresponding wishes and desires (Traitler 1971: 28). Many works to a large extent, in order to be able to take vacations, and he needs vacations to be able to go back to work (Krippendorf, 1987).

The work ethic has allowed many achievements: especially the much hoped for material well-being, the elimination (or nearly so) of poverty, and the reduced work week. But next to this undeniable progress, the ethic has also brought major problems which weigh more and more heavily in the scales and which are felt by a growing number of people: the loss of meaning in one’s job (as a consequence of mass production and of the extreme division of labour), an ever diminishing satisfaction with work and with life (Yankelovich, 1978; Noelle-Neumann 1983), the rigid and immutable organization of time, the phenomena of stress and boredom and the growing “medicalization” of lives (Isopublic 1982; Opaschowski, 1983), and most especially, the increase in unemployment (Kenward, 1983).

Social Tourism

The benefits of participation have prompted many governments to promote access to leisure travel as positive social and economic activities. However, government provisions to ensure equality of access to tourism are not universal ranging from tacit support to direct investment in the provision of services in the form of social tourism (European Commission 2001). In Europe active support for social tourism can be traced back to the Christian movement in France and Switzerland, the early youth movements in Germany and workers educational collectives. However, there are political, cultural and moral dimensions to the debates based on different perspectives on the ideological and fundamental role of the state in the provision of holiday services that has resulted in diverse provision of holiday services that has resulted in diverse provision of access to tourism opportunities.

In the UK for example, the European model has not been followed and there is concern about an ‘over-work’ culture (Bunting 2004). Similarly, the US has witnessed both long-term erosion in leisure time and a propensity for shorter holidays (Schor, 1991) whilst in Japan, holiday time has traditionally been even more scaring (Richards 1999). Therefore cultural attitudes towards holidaymaking could affect political support for social tourism as a policy tool.

Social tourism can be described as “the relationships and phenomena in the field of tourism resulting from participation in travel by economically weak or otherwise disadvantaged elements of society” (Hunzinger, “Social tourism, its nature and problems,” quoted in ETB and TUC 1976, 5). It involves the provision of vacations for people who can afford them only with the aid of a third party. Although the aim of social tourism is Unitarian in philosophy-to extend the benefits of vacations to a broader segment of society-it is expressed in a variety of forms.

Trade unions in industrialized nations have long sought and won paid vacation time for their members, and by example, have won similar rights for most industrial and service workers. In Europe and Japan some companies help, pay for a substantial portion of vacation costs. Most workers in West Germany receive Urlaubsgeld (holiday money), a bonus that cna equal 45 per cent of their regular vacation pay. In France, the state-owned Renault Company contributes to the operation of thirty family vacation villages for its workers (Time 1981).

Social agencies such as the YMCA, Boy scouts, and church groups support many summer camps which offer subsidized vacations to the young, poor or handicapped. In the United States there is evidence of “social tourism” with a twist, according to Lundberg (1976, 170). He notes that social tourism is designed to subsidize vacations or facilities for the working class, but points out that recent resort development in certain state parks is really social tourism for the middle class. These resort park projects offer country club quality and settings at a subsidized price, and have proved to be very popular attractions.

In recent years there has been a re-emergence of research on issues related to social justice and welfare issues in tourism (Higgins-Desboilles 2006; Hall and Brown 1996, 2006) including the concpt of social tourism. Haulot (1982) defines social tourism as a ‘the totality of relations and phenomena deriving from the participation of those social group with modest incomes-participation which is made possible or facilitated by measures of a well-defined social character’ (40). Although there are diverse interpretations of what constitutes social tourism and how it can be implemented, Minnaert, Maitland and Miller (2007) differentiate between visitor-and host-related forms of social tourism.

The literature linking social tourism to social welfare issues from a social policy perspective is limited (Minnaert, Maitland and Miller 2009). Social tourism in the UK is largely dependent on the charities sector, although there are a few studies on the structure and organization of support (Local Government Association 2001). The social policy literature has given limited consideration to the issue of tourisms role in current debates despite a one-wee holiday being included in the indicators of exclusion for some time (Hazel 2005) and tourism being increasingly perceived as a social ‘right’ (Richards 1998). The UK has not adopted the European model of policy provision on social tourism such as the World Tourism Organization (1980).

In the UK the largest factor for non-participation in a holiday was affordability (Corlyon and La Placa, 2006). In 2006-07 there were 2.9 million children living in income poverty in the UK, a figure which rose by 100,000 for the second year running (Department for work and Pensions 2008; see also Palmer, Carr and Kenway 2005). The main social groups who are most at risk from social exclusion from tourism include those who are: disabled; ill; older; at fear of persecution or other risk factors; suffering from poverty; lack time due to work or caring commitments, ethnic minority groups. Further, it is not clear how non-participation in tourism may impact upon the costs of health and social care provision (ODPM 2005).

According to McCabe, holiday space does not contain referents to family problems, and it is free of negative associations, stress and barriers to novel experiences. The holiday offers people a chance to live differently, individually and as a family, allowing a change in routines, to try new activities and experiences, for children to experience freedom, and to live at a different pace of life. Furthermore, holidays provided opportunities for positive and active behaviours in relation to sport and exercise, positive recreation as opposed to passive leisure forms, and issues which has been highlighted by Roberts in relation to leisure consumption and social exclusion (2004).

Further McCabe states, that, analysis of the application forms indicates that people are very often aware of the problems and issues which they face in their lives which can often lead to a sense of guilt. Given the opportunity of time and space away from the home environment, people have the chance to actively solve their own issues without the intervention from others. They have a chance to build or heal relationships and recover from past difficulties and an opportunity to reassess issue and face the future in a positive way.


Travel motivation studies attempt to answer the question ‘why people travel’ or ‘why people visit a particular destination’ because the underlying assumption is that motivation is one of the driving forces of behaviour. Understanding specific tourist motivations and/or the nature of travel motivation can help destination managers and marketers do a better job of product/service planning, marketing communication and visitor attraction and retention.

Travel motivation is a psychological construct which holds a multidimensional underlying structure. People travel to various places to meet different needs. Individuals travel motivations are influenced by their culture, background and previous experience. Of the motivational forces, pull factors are destination attributes, which are under a great deal of control of the destinations.

All the three authors talk about the push / pull factor of tourism but in different concept, Dann focuses on anomie and ego-enhancement, whereas Krippendorf talks about working class people needing to take holiday, with McCabe it is about social tourism for the people who are excluded from the society and cannot afford holiday. Each author explains the same in different ways and logic.


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