Sarah Pyke: A systems theory approach to the health effects of vacationing in England and growing visitor economy

Researcher: Sarah Pyke

My name is Sarah Pyke and I am a proud Canadian. I hold a Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French all from Cape Breton University located in Sydney, Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island – also known as the #1 island destination in North America!  Academics, community involvement and extra-curricular activities have always been a huge part of my life and obtaining a PhD has always been a personal goal of mine. I feel very lucky to be studying at Bournemouth University and I am looking forward to a great experience over the next three years!

Although the benefits of going on vacation have been documented in academic literature including contribution to self-development, improved mental health, reduced stress levels, increased physical activity, improved sleep and work productivity, no studies have yet measured the significance of these benefits.

This researcher will look to make linkages between tourism development and public policy in order to create healthier, more sustainable communities. The aim of this research is hence to critically evaluate the relationship between well-being and vacationing in order to influence policy and practice.

The methodology will consist of a systems theory approach whereby the researcher will examine input, throughput and output. A mixed methodology will be used whereby interviews with key stakeholders will take place in the first stage and a survey will be developed in the second stage with input from the interviews. The survey will then be distributed to tourists before and after their holiday experience.

My research will be useful to those who work in tourism strategy and development by assessing the impact of  holidays on tourists’ state of well-being. As a result, travel can be promoted as a healthy lifestyle experience due to the positive benefits realized by both tourists and residents.

The outcome of this study will also be of interest to those involved in public policy as a means to better understand the relationship between travel and improved well-being.