The study explored the pre- and post-trip image of Cuba as a travel destination using Echtner and Ritchie’s (1993) concept of destination’s holistic and unique image components. The study included nine travelers comprising a professional delegation focusing on sustainable development in Cuba. Semistructured interviews were conducted via Skype with each participant before and after their trip in January 2013. Two independent researchers conducted verbatim transcription of interviews, coded data, and identified emergent themes. The perception of Cuba as an “accidental Eden” was reflected in the study participants’ pre-trip expectations and reinforced by the actual experience of visiting Cuba. Participants recalled experiencing unspoiled natural beauty, a welcoming culture, and a strong sense of community grounded in art. Participants’ pre-trip expectations of political tension and desperate poverty were partially countered by participants’ actual experience in Cuba. Participants shared that Cuba was the safest place they had ever visited. Participants did witness indicators of poverty. However, they were also surprised that they did not see some characteristics of poverty that they often saw in the United States. An assessment of holistic and unique components of Cuba’s image held by American tourists provides baseline information for Cuban tourism marketing strategies to specifically target American tourists.
Destination managers as well as researchers are increasingly seeking to identify travel preferences of generational cohorts. This study sought to identify differences in travel characteristics including the source of information used for trip planning to the destination and activities participated in among millennials, generation X, and baby boomers who visited the New River Gorge region of West Virginia in 2013. All the generation cohorts differed significantly across their selection of word of mouth as their source of information with gen X members using this source relatively more than millennials, followed by boomers. Gen X used the internet as a source of information significantly more than boomers. Boomers used personal experience significantly more than gen X or millennials. Millennials used brochures significantly less than gen X or boomers. Boomers participated in adventure sports significantly less frequently than millennials and gen X respondents. Boomers and millennials also differed on their frequency in shopping as an activity participated in with boomers participating in this activity significantly more than millennials. Boomers also visited cultural facilities significantly more than millennials.
In this article we question a psychologized view of the individual as the appropriate unit of analysis in leisure studies. We then advocate for a social/relational view that sees the individual as both whole and part of something larger. Employing family leisure to make our case, we also show how a social/relational perspective rooted in General Systems Theory casts new light on motivation, freedom, and constraint in leisure contexts. We conclude by calling for new definitions of leisure and recreation based on humankind’s social embeddedness as well as new research propositions that better reflect a systems view of the world.