Recreation and Leisure: Role, Facilities, Research Methods

  • Post last modified:8 July 2021
  • Reading time:13 mins read
  • Post category:Tourism

What is Tourism?

Tourism is concern with pleasure, holidays, travelling and moving, departing or arriving somewhere. These are the source of motivations that make people leave their “normal” place of work and residence for short term or long term temporary visit to “another” Places.

Tourism, as a typical social process, involves a temporary and time being stopping or taking a break from normal day to day routine to engage with new and different experiences that contrast with everyday life.

Almost all types of travel – the explorer, the pilgrim, for business, the medical travelers, the monk, the merchant, the student for education, the missionary, the hermit, the refugee, the conqueror, the cure seeker etc, can be considered as types of modern tourist.

Recreation and Leisure


Leisure is a free state of mind which is characterized by un-obligated time and willing optimism. It can involve extensive activity or no activity. The main ingredient is an attitude which fosters a peaceful and constructive co-existence with the factors in one’s environment.

Leisure is considered primarily as a state, sometimes referred to as a stage or state of being, an attitude of mind or a quality of experience. .. It is differentiated by the individual’s perceived freedom to act and differentiate from situations imposed or implemented by necessity.

It is considered to be pleasurable and enjoyable and, although it may appeal because of certain anticipated benefits, it is intrinsically motivated: it is an end in itself and valuable for its own sake.

Leisure consists of a number of occupations in which the individual may invlove of his own free will – either to rest, to amuse himself, to add to his knowledge or improve his skills disinterestedly or to increase his voluntary participation in the life of the community after discharging his professional, family and social responsibilities.

Leisure Components

Leisure, then … is experience with a variety of components that can be identified and analyzed. However, every leisure experience is also a new creation with the following elements:

  1. Leisure is decision, an act as well as a state of mind. Decision is not external to the phenomenon but integral to its nature.

  2. Leisure is recreation, a product of decision and action.

  3. Leisure is a phenomenon, not fixed but developing and created in its time and place.

  4. Leisure is situated, reconstructed in an ever-new context.

  5. Leisure is production in the sense that its meaning is always reproduced in its situation rather than appropriated from some external source.


Recreation includes of an activity or action or experience, usually chosen by own by the participant, either because of the immediate satisfaction to get from it, or because he does some personal, social, official or cultural values to be gain by it.

It is carried on in leisure or free time, and has no connection with work or business, such as study for purpose of promotion in a job. It is usually enjoyable change and when it is done on as part of organized or community services.

It is planned and framed to meet constructive and socially worthwhile goals of the individual participant or the group and society at large basis. It constitutes of activities or experiences carried on for leisure, usually chosen voluntarily by an individual participant – either because of satisfaction, achieving a goal, or pleasure or creative enrichment derived.

Because he has certain personal or social values to be achieved from them. It may, also be perceived as the process of participation, or as the emotional state of an participant derived from involvement.

Role of Leisure

Varied forms of play have been condemned and suppressed in some societies and have highly value and encourage in others.

Leisure as Time

Leisure is time free from obligations, work (paid and unpaid), and any responsibilities and tasks required for existing (sleeping, eating). Leisure time is residual time of an individual. Some people argue it is the constructive use of free time.

While many may view free time when no work is done, only a small span of time spent away from routine work is actually free from other obligations and responsibilities that are necessary for existing of an individual, such as sleeping and eating.

Leisure as Activity

Leisure can also be considered as activities that people are engage during their free time – activities that are of non work oriented or that do not involve life maintenance tasks such as housekeeping or sleeping i.e total free from any kind of activity.

Leisure as activity encompasses the activities that we engage in for reasons as varied as relaxation, competition, or growth and may include reading for pleasure, meditating, painting, and participating in sports.

This definition gives no heed to how a person feels while doing the activity; it simply states that certain activities qualify as leisure because they take place during time away from work and are not engaged in for existence.

However, as has been argued by many, it is extremely difficult to get with a list of activities that every person agrees represents leisure as to some activity that might be a leisure activity and in for others view it might not necessarily be a leisure activity. Therefore, with this definition the line between work and leisure is not clear in that what is leisure to some may be work to others and vice versa.

Leisure as State of Mind

Unlike the definitions of leisure as time or activity or action, the definition of leisure as state of mind is much more subjective in that it considers the individual’s perception of an activity. Concepts such as being freedom, intrinsic motivation, being competence, and positive affect are crucial to determining whether an experience is leisure or not leisure.

Being freedom refers to an individual’s ability to select the activity or experience in that the individual is free from other work, responsibilities or obligations as well as has the freedom do the activity without control from others. Perceived freedom also involves the absence of external constraints to participation.

Major Leisure Facilities

The appropriate location for a leisure facility depends on its scale and intensity of use. Leisure developments which need a substantial building and where there is frequent activity involving large numbers of people need to be centrally located to be accessible by a range of transport modes.

Such developments include sports centres, cinemas, theatres, swimming pools and large hotels.Encouraging major leisure facilities to locate in town centres by adopting a sequential approach to considering development proposals is supported by PPG6 and accords with Structure Plan Policy 43.

This Plan makes provision for major leisure facilities through the following approach:

  1. Encouraging new leisure developments in the Town Centre Inset Area through redevelopment schemes or the conversion of existing buildings.

  2. Identifying sites specifically for leisure uses in the Town Centre Inset Area.

  3. Resisting proposals in edge of centre and out of centre locations unless it can be demonstrated that there is a need for the proposal and that there are no suitable sites in the Town Centre Inset Area.

  4. Specifically identifying Leisure Park for leisure uses.

  5. Resisting the loss of existing leisure facilities.

Protection of existing leisure facilities is justified for the following reasons:

  1. Losses of leisure facilities may result in deficiencies which may be difficult to address.

  2. Leisure facilities are often sited in the most appropriate location to meet the needs of their users and alternative locations for replacing facilities is unsuitable

Research Methods on Leisure

  1. Descriptive Research
  2. Explanatory Research
  3. Evaluative Research

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research is very common in the leisure and tourism area, for three reasons: the relative newness of the field, the changing nature of the phenomenabeing studied, and the frequent separation between research and action.

Since leisure and tourism are relatively new fields of study there is a need to map the territory. Much of the research therefore seeks to discover, describe or map patterns of behaviour in areas or activities which have not previously been studied in the field or for which information needs to be updated on a regular basis. It might therefore be described as descriptive.

In some texts this form of research is termed exploratory, which is also appropriate, but because the other categories of research, explanatory and evaluative, can also at times be exploratory, the term descriptive is used here. Explanation of what is discovered, described or mapped is often left until later or to other researchers.

Explanatory Research

Explanatory research moves beyond description to seek to explain the patterns and trends observed, for example:

  1. A particular type of activity or destination falling in popularity and an exa-planation is called for.

  2. Particular tourism developments gain approval against the wishes of the local community: why or how does this happen?

  3. The arts are patronised by some social groups and not others: what is the explanation for this?

The aim is to be able to say, for example, that there has been an increase in A because of a correspondingfall in B. It is one thing to discover that A has increased while B has decreased;but to establish that the rise in A has been caused by the fall in B is often a much more demanding task.

To establish causality, or the likelihood of causality, requires the researcher to be rigorous in the collection, analysis and interpreta-tion of data. It also generally requires some sort of theoretical framework to relate the phenomenon under study to wider social, economic and political processes. Once causes are, at least partially, understood the knowledge can be used to predict.

Evaluative Research

Evaluative research arises from the need to make judgements on the success or effectiveness of policies or programmes – for example whether a particular leisure facility or programme is meeting required performance standards or whether a particular tourism promotion campaign has been cost-effective.

In the private sector the level of profit is the main criterion used for such evaluations, although additional ratios may also be used. In the public sector, where facilities or services are not usually intended to make a cash profit, research is required to assess community benefits and even, in some cases such as parks, to assemble data as elementary as levels of use.

Evaluative research is highly developed in some areas of public policy, for example education, but is less well developed in the field of leisure and tourism.

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