Wellbeing and Quality of Life

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2007) describes well-being as “what is non-instrumentally or ultimately good for a person” and how well a person’s life is going for that person. It may be difficult to define what is good for a person, as there are short-term and long-term considerations. For example, a hedonist may engage in constant short-term pleasurable experiences but which will damage him/her physically or psychologically in the long-term. There is a need to make a distinction between what is good for a person and what seems good to a person.

One of the most interesting themes regarding the holistic concept of well-being is the quality of life and happiness and its relationships to travel and tourism.

Interestingly, although social indicators have become rather popular the role of travel and tourism in the creation of happiness or improving one’s quality of life has not been yet in the limelight. This is very unexpected, somehow, since we all know that visiting certain destinations, e.g. Tuscany (Italy) should even be prescribed by doctors, since everybody comes back with a great smile and even just temporarily, but feels happier, too.

Quality of life implies a balance of these different domains. Much of the time, it is impossible to change the objective indicators and these may or may not affect peoples’ levels of satisfaction and stress. For example, an area could indicate high level of visitation according to official statistics, but residents and tourists, alike may not feel very happy.

We were in the team researchers who, first in the international tourism research community created the Tourism-specific Quality of Life Index (known as the Budapest Model). Since, several destinations of Hungary have already applied the model with some surprising and illuminating results considering customer-satisfaction, the well-being of the locals and sustainable tourism development, based on the main domains of QOL (after Rahman, et al, 2005).

See what we said and wrote about quality of life and travel: