Is tourism really an escape from everyday life? Everyday leisure activities vs leisure travel activities of expats and emirati nationals living in the UAE

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International Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research

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© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand the linkage between everyday life activities with its various aspects of leisure and the leisure-related activities undertaken when traveling as a tourist. This comparison is based on information from individuals who take on both the roles of the everyday person and the traveling tourist. Moreover, as the study is based in the UAE, a multi-cultural country, leisure activities between local residents and expatriates living in UAE are contrasted as part of the investigation. Design/methodology/approach: A newly modified International Social Survey Program about Leisure Time questionnaire was used in this study to define a comprehensive list of leisure activities. This was distributed to a sample of local residents and expats living in the UAE in 2015. Pearson χ2 was used to understand the association between everyday leisure activities and travel leisure activities. Findings: The results show statistically significant differences in everyday leisure activities between expats and Emirati nationals living in UAE. Moreover, a moderate (V = 0.21; p = 0.25) strength of associations between everyday activities and travel leisure activities was found in the overall sample of all UAE residents. Research limitations/implications: A non-probability sampling method was used to collect the data, and no general conclusions about the segments or the total population of residents can be made at this point. However, the sample size is sufficient to examine the proposed model and understand the differences between the two resident segments (Emirati nationals vs expats) and to compare the differences in behavior between everyday leisure and tourism-related leisure activities. Practical implications: These findings are recommended for consideration by tourism authorities, holiday destination managers and trip organizers when targeting UAE residents, both Emirati nationals and expats. Social implications: As a relation between everyday activities and travel activities was confirmed, the typical tourism motivation assumption that people are traveling to escape the everyday should be reconsidered. In addition, a managerial conclusion is that Emirati nationals and expats should be considered as two distinct groups when devising, preparing and marketing the leisure activities for the market in the UAE. Originality/value: The problem of separating tourism travel from everyday life, as the common perspective of the time, was to treat tourism simply as a temporary escape from everyday life. This research enters this same area and attempts to fill the academic gap and address this issue which, to our knowledge, no specific studies have investigated or exposed the relationship between common everyday leisure activities and special travel leisure activities.




Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.





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Social and Behavioral Sciences | Tourism and Travel


Emirates, Everyday life, Expats, Leisure, Tourism

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Indexed in Scopus


Open Access