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The purpose of the essay is to critically evaluate how the interpretation of work and leisure on a global scale has affected leisure and tourism trends in Europe.

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Introduction

The purpose of the essay is to critically evaluate how the interpretation of work and leisure on a global scale has affected leisure and tourism trends in Europe. In order to complete the remit it is necessary to discuss work patterns around the world and draw comparisons upon each paid annual holidays. Doing so would enable one to examine the implications for leisure and tourism trends in Europe. In order to understand how work affects leisure there is a need for the relationship to be examined separately in each of these various aspects. The ancient Greeks regarded the most desirable and the only "good life" as one of leisure. Work, in the sense of supplying the basic necessities of life, was a "...degrading activity which was to be allocated to the lowest groups within the social order, and to slaves." Watson (1987). Where once not to work had "been an indicator of prestige and a good life it is now associated with failure, a poor life and even disgrace". Godbey (1999). In today's modern society the concept of work ethic "...values the importance of work, to the identity and sense of worth of an individual". The growth of industrial capitalism the spreading of work becomes the essential requirement of personal and social advancement, of prestige, virtue and self-fulfilment. Karl Marx believed employment was not about the money, but the solution to an individual's happiness and fulfilment. For Marx men and women constructed their being through productive activities that we create through work. Believing it transforms the worker into a conscience, goal-directed, skilful person. Csikszentmihalyi (1992) suggested if one is stimulated and satisfied by their work they can achieve flow. Csikszentmihalyi (1992) defined flow as a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in an activity. The work culture differs from many parts of the world. Hasegawa (2002) identifies that the Japanese approach human resource management differently from that used by their western counterparts. ...read more.

Middle

European countries such as Germany and France are taking longer annual holidays whilst working less average annual hours. Biehl (2003) states Germany is one of the lowest average working countries of 1,444 hours in 2002, making them the world champions of leisure time. The Germans receive six weeks off each year plus 11 to 13 single-day paid holidays and work fewer hours than any other industrialised nation. Biehl (2003) proclaims the Germans see vacation as a social right, declaring for them, it is simply a sign that they know how to enjoy life. However the economy in Germany has stagnated in the past three years, with unemployment approaching 5 million. Indicating that although countries governments encourage people to take vacation time off, overwork is trying to build a strong economy. This is certainly the case for the work ethic in Japan as "the shaky economy and deeply entrenched social pressures are keeping Japan's workaholic work force glued to the office." www.archives.cnn.com The UK Trade and Investment (2004) argue although Japan has a well-earned reputation for hard-work and long hours, there are increasingly more opportunities for the individual to take time out and to relax. Stating in recent years, although more people are taking part in recreational activities, as a whole Japan is spending less than it did only a few years ago on this area. This conveys the move away from expensive one-off activities, such as foreign travel, towards more readily accessible and cheaper forms of relaxations. www.tradepartners.gov.uk/recreation/japan Although vacation time in America is very little, a mintel report suggests over one-fourth of employed travellers (28%) use all of their vacation time travelling to points at least 100 miles from their home. However only half of all U.S. travel is in two or three day microscopic bits. Weekend travel is more popular than ever, half of all U.S. adults (nearly 103 million) taking at least one weekend trip per year. ...read more.

Conclusion

The number of spa establishments has grown 20% annually over the past eight years. A 2002 Spa Industry Study, conducted by the ISPA, the spa industry has positioned itself to be a major player in the tourism sector. In the past two years, the spa industry has kept pace with, and even surpassed, other major top leisure activities in terms of revenues. http://reports.mintel.com It has been established that the work ethic has changed over the decades, in today's modern society the concept of work "...values the importance of work, to the identity and sense of worth of an individual". However the importance of work around the globe differ dramatically. The amount one works is related closely to the leisure one receives. Research suggests that Europe (excluding the UK) is amongst the least industrialised nations to be working in comparison to Japan or the USA. Again although working hours may differ one may presume paid holidays would be averaging at the same. However this is very far from reality since France enjoy twenty-three days more than the USA, though France works two hundred and seventy days less than America. Therefore it remains explicable that leisure time around the world varies. Although a minority are not taking their full-entitled holidays, many employees are. Tourism trends are emerging, indicating many are enjoying several short breaks alongside a main holiday, which descends nicely around work Yet signs of improved technology also indicate that some workers have not completely left the office since many remain wired via telephone, email or Internet. Those that are able to escape require a de-stressing holiday or activity, requiring a therapeutic holiday rather than just the norm. Governments around the world are trying to promote flexible working patterns to employers and employees, by helping both parties to distinguish the benefits. Factors needed for better operation include: accurate assessment of work volume and working hours; enhancement of measures to maintain health and welfare; clearly defined scope and objectives of work; implementation of proper performance evaluation; and self-management by workers. (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare 2004). ...read more.

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