This article presents the concept of social tourism as a form of social intervention. Tourism is seen by the European Economic and Social Committee as an opportunity for relation building, personal development and social integration. Social tourism initiatives offer holiday opportunities for persons who are otherwise prohibited from taking holidays, because of emotional, financial or health reasons. These mostly take the form of domestic breaks or day trips. In several countries of mainland Europe, the public sector supports these initiatives via involvement in public-private partnerships. One of these partnerships is the Holiday Participation Centre in Flanders, Belgium.
This article will frame the initiative within social tourism provision in Flanders, Belgium, present the basic principles upon which the system operates, and give an overview of quantitative research findings regarding its outcomes as a form of social intervention.