Leisure is an important part of human life. The quality and variety of leisure can affect people’s ability to work, health and well-being. Modern approaches to the study of leisure consider it not only in terms of free choice and personal interests, but also taking into account the availability of leisure for different groups of people, and the availability of various additional services (Chernysh, 2020). In the sphere of tourist services in the last 20 - 30 years, the new direction has been formed and developed tourist animation, which has become a specific tourist product and a necessary element of tourist programs (Bardei & Khmara, 2021).
Animation services are additional services, which are provided to tourists and allow creating the most comfortable conditions for recreation (Kravets & Bailyk, 2017). Properly organized animation does not leave the holidaymaker without proper attention; he or she is constantly busy with interesting activities, animation evokes positive emotions, forms wonderful mood and arouses the desire to return to such emotions again and again.
The combination of active and passive recreation of holidaymakers, regardless of age and social status involves the presence of entertainment activities, which are characterized by emotional switching, unusualness, festivity, unlike what they do in their daily lives (Myronov, 2020). In the practice of hospitality, the term “amusements” (entertainment) is used, which combines a set of types of human recreational activities during rest, in addition to purely entertaining: cognitive, sports and health-improving, socio-cultural, etc. Animation activities include many interesting entertainments, such as sports games for children and adults; various fitness classes and spiritual practices; dance programs, carnivals and shows; master classes, creative competitions and excursions, which have become widespread in hotel establishments and are aimed at improving the level of quality in the provision of services and the level of guest satisfaction with the rest (Volkova & Naumenko, 2015).
Modern recreational-recovering tourism requires further development of the animation component, which, under the conditions of the professional approach, becomes a comprehensive means of recovery (Panhelov, 2013). In the process of animation activities, holidaymakers are able to compensate things, which they do not receive in everyday life, namely:
- change the environment;
- change the communication environment;
- the ability to choose the type of activity depending on their own needs;
- the ability to transfer their own psycho-emotional sphere from the daily routine to the use for the psyche mode of accumulation of positive emotions;
- the ability to improve their own physical condition: normalize blood circulation; work of the cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, etc.
Animation activities are actively developing in the system of world tourism and hotel business, serving as a means of competition between similar in level of service, stardom, infrastructure and pricing policy of hotels and tourist complexes (Serhiiko, 2011; Fedotova, 2016). The experience of organizing animation services for resort hotels in Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Montenegro and other tourist countries emphasizes the importance of resort animation in the formation of demand for tourist services. That is, under the other equal conditions, the tourist tends to choose a hotel for recreation, where such animation services are provided. The tourist with an average level of affluence is willing to pay even more by booking a tour with rest in the hotel with animation, because such a hotel will have better infrastructure and children will spend much time with animators (Vlasova, 2010; Harbera, 2014; Iltio, 2015).
The factors that determine the high quality of hotel animation include:
- availability and activity of professionally trained animation teams;
- unobtrusive animation service;
- conducting animation activities in strictly designated areas (without contact with guests not covered by the animation);
- taking into account the language factor;
- inclusion of animation services in the main service package;
- presence in the structure of the animation program subroutines for adults and children;
- animation with training or development of new types of leisure time activities;
- various sports and health-improving animation and animation in creativity;
- holding events in different thematic areas, taking into account national and local traditions.
The objective of the article is to research the priorities in providing animation services during recreational activities for different age groups of tourists.
2. Literature Review
The range of modern scientific researches on the organization of animation activities during the tourist and recreational activities is quite wide and has different areas of research. Historical aspects of the emergence and development of animation in tourism are considered in the works (Kylymystyi, 2010; Vlasova, 2010). Philosophical aspects of the problem of recreation are considered in the works (Mudrakov et al., 2020; Wang & Liu, 2021). The works deal with the highlighting the importance of high-quality and diverse organization of entertainment programs during tourist trips (Chernysh, 2020, Bardei & Khmara, 2021). The socio-cultural significance of animation is cleared up in the works (Volkova & Naumenko, 2015; Parfinenko, 2015; Song & Feng, 2021). Basic preparation of a tourist for a quality health and recreational trip is considered in the work (Mozolev, Hutsal, Shorobura et al., 2020). Preparation and conduct of sports and entertainment animation are covered in the works (Bloshchynsky et al., 2019; Mozolev, Shorobura, Zdanevych et al., 2020). The works of (Myronov, 2020; Kruchok & Khmara, 2021) deal with the peculiarities of the organization of animation activity in hotel complexes at the national level. The works of (Kravets & Bailyk, 2017) deal with the study of the distribution of areas of organization of animation activities and their impact on the restoration of the vital forces of the human body. The problems of high-quality preparation of young people for animation activities were considered by (Serhiiko, 2011; Vindyuk, 2020). Preparing young people for sports and recreational tourist trips are devoted to research (Chornenka, 2012; Griban et al., 2020; Mozolev, Shorobura, Zdanevych et al., 2020). The research (Mozolev et al., 2019) deals with the problem of training qualified specialists in the sphere of tourism, physical culture and recreation.
The research work was conducted on the basis of Khmelnytskyi Humanitarian-Pedagogical Academy (Ukraine). The study involved 324 respondents who study or work in the field of education (students, teachers, administrative staff).
The subjects of the research were:
Group 1: 147 students aged 17 - 23 who do not have children of their own or leave their children in parental care during holidays;
Group 2: 72 young people aged 24 - 35 (former students, teachers, workers of the sphere of education) who have one (two) children aged 1 to 10 who are vacationing with their parents;
Group 3: 57 teachers and workers of the sphere of education aged 36 - 50, who have children over the age of 10, who are vacationing with their parents;
Group 4: 48 teachers and workers of the sphere of education aged 51 - 65 who have adult children who are not vacationing with their parents.
One of the main requirements for the subjects of the research was the regular (annual) implementation of recreational rest lasting 1 - 3 weeks. Each of the subjects for the last 5 years must have experience of recreational rest in Ukraine and abroad.
Experts were 9 teachers of the Department of Tourism, Theory and Methods of Physical Culture and Valeology of Khmelnytskyi Humanitarian-Pedagogical Academy. The research was conducted in the period from March to September 2021.
3.2. Research Methods
To obtain the necessary information, we used general scientific methods of the theoretical level of research, namely: analysis of scientific and methodological sources, surveys, questionnaires, expert evaluation method, pedagogical experiment, statistical data of pedagogical observation, factor analysis.
The analysis of scientific and methodological sources was used to study the current state of views of the scientists on the development of animation activities in the sphere of tourism, determining the requirements for its organization, establishing promising areas of animation development, which covered the maximum number of holidaymakers. Surveys and questionnaires were conducted to determine the level of satisfaction of holidaymakers with the current state of the organization of animation, to establish priorities for animation activities for different age groups of holidaymakers.
The expert evaluation method was used to develop a questionnaire and establish its results, interpretation of answers to questions within the conducted research, which guaranteed the purity of the research work.
Pedagogical experiment was conducted to verify the previously obtained results and determine changes in priorities in the organization of animation activities during recreation.
Statistical methods were used to analyze the data of the pedagogical experiment. Methods of factor analysis were used for quantitative and qualitative processing of the obtained experimental results.
To achieve the objective of the research we needed to solve the following tasks:
1) To develop the questionnaire that includes questions that take into account the various interests of holidaymakers during the animation activities.
2) To form groups of subjects of the research taking into account their age, presence (absence) of children, regular recreational and recovering rest within Ukraine and abroad.
3) To conduct the questionnaire survey of subjects of the research before the start of seasonal rest on the basis of their previous experience.
4) To establish priorities in the organization of animation activities for different age groups of the subjects.
5) To analyze this year’s places of rest and quality of carrying out in the various animation activities.
6) To conduct the second questionnaire survey of subjects of the research after seasonal rest.
7) To investigate changes in the organization of animation activities, taking into account the effects of restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
8) To determine the basic tendencies of development of animation activity in the national and foreign places of mass recreational and recovering rest.
The results of the questionnaire showed that animation for tourists is an important component of the quality recreational holiday. When choosing the place of rest, 82.1% of tourists (p < 0.001) pay attention to the availability and the content of hotel animation.
The experts have found out that the availability of quality animation activities ranks fourth among the priorities in choosing the place of health and recreation rest. It is inferior to such indicators as: the location of the hotel and the availability of extensive infrastructure; comfort of living and cleanliness of rooms; variety of well-organized food.
The results of the questionnaire survey of tourists of different ages to determine priorities in the choice of animation services are presented in Table 1.
Since each age group had a different number of respondents, the relative indicators of the results of the survey of tourists will be the most reliable and statistically significant for our research.
The experts found out that among the various types of animation, the most popular for all age groups are: concert and entertainment animation 28.2% (p < 0.001); animation for adults 18.95% (p < 0.01); animation for children 10.7% (p < 0.01); exhibition animation 10.3% (p < 0.01); physical culture and health animation 9.8% (p < 0.05); show animation 9.2% (p < 0.05).
The most popular types of animation for all age groups were concert and entertainment animation 28.2% and animation for adults 18.95%. Moreover, the following trend is observed: the older the holidaymakers are, the more interesting for them concert and entertainment animation is (increase from 16.7% to 41.6%); the younger the age of vacationers is, the more interesting for them animation for adults is (32.6% for the first group and a gradual decrease to 12.5% for the fourth group of the subjects of the research).
The most stable and at the same time quite interesting for all age groups of tourists are the following types of animation: physical culture and health animation indicator in the range of 8.4% - 12.2% (p < 0.01); show animation 7.0% - 11.1% (p < 0.01); exhibition animation 6.9% - 13.0% (p < 0.01). The least interesting for tourists were animation with the test of their own capabilities 2.1% - 6.8% (p < 0.05); intellectual animation 2.7% - 3.5% (p < 0.05), only for the fourth group of the subjects of the research this indicator was 8.4%; carnival animation 1.4% - 4.2% (p < 0.05).
The experts noted that the priorities in the choice of animation services for different age groups of tourists from Ukraine differ significantly. Thus, animation for children is of interest only to tourists who belong to the second and the third groups of the subjects of the research (these include tourists who are vacationing with children). It should be emphasized that the value of this animation service for these groups of the subjects is significant and ranges from 17.6% to 25% (p < 0.001). Intellectual animation is of interest to more older tourists. For the fourth group of the subjects this indicator was 8.4%, for other groups it was within the range of 2.7% - 3.5% (p < 0.05).
The results of the second survey showed that during the summer holidays in 2021, respondents preferred the following places of recreational recreation:
Table 1. The results of the questionnaire survey of tourists to determine priorities in the choice of animation services (n = 324).
Where: A. Concert and entertainment animation. B. Physical culture and health animation. C. Animation for children. D. Animation for adults (nightclubs, discos, gambling, etc.). E. Animation with the test of their own capabilities (Miss Hotel, song and dance competitions, the ability to repeat the shown item of the program). F. Show animation (fire show, show with wild animals, show with dangerous objects). G. Intellectual animation (guess the melody, the title of the song, the words of the hero of the film, etc.). H. Exhibition animation (display of clothing samples and various accessories, presentation of brands of own products, etc.). I. Carnival animation (holding thematic evenings in prepared costumes). J. Other, unspecified types of animation.
- recreation within Ukraine (Black and Azov coasts; Transcarpathian mineral springs, mountain recreation, regional places of mass recreation) - 65.4% (212 respondents);
- recreation abroad (Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria, Montenegro and other countries) - 34.6% (112 respondents).
During recreational holidays within Ukraine, tourists preferred the following resort and recreational areas (Figure 1).
During recreational holidays abroad, tourists preferred the following countries (Figure 2).
To assess the animation activity during the summer recreational holiday in 2021, we selected the most statistically significant indicators, which reduced the number of surveyed respondents to 311 people. They noted that the choice of this year’s vacation place depended primarily on their financial capabilities and the needs of the family, as well as the attractiveness of the tourist and recreational tour.
The respondents identified the following main tendencies and changes in the provision of animation services:
- reduction of animation programs and cutdown of diversity in the provision of animation services 77.8% (p < 0.001);
- reduction of the level of requirements to the content of animation programs 72.7% (p < 0.001);
- deterioration of the level of animation services provided both in the national and foreign places of rest 68.8% (p < 0.001).
89.4% of respondents (p < 0.001) attribute this fact primarily to the limitations in communication and opportunities for mass entertainment events caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The comparative analysis of the organization of animation services during the recreation of tourists found out that the majority of respondents 42.4% (p < 0.001) note the highest quality and most interesting organization of animation activities in the hotels of Turkey and the hotels in Egypt 29, 2% (p < 0.01), the worst indicator of 7.6% (p < 0.05) is in hotels of Ukraine.
Figure 1. Distribution of recreation areas in accordance with the priority choice of tourists within Ukraine. A—the Black Sea coast—53.8% (114 respondents); B—the coast of the Sea of Azov—26.4% (56 respondents); C—regional places of mass recreation—9.4% (20 respondents); D—mineral springs of Transcarpathia—7.1% (15 respondents); E—rest in the mountains—3.3% (7 respondents).
Figure 2. Distribution of foreign countries in accordance with the priority choice of tourists. a—Egypt—42.9% (48 respondents); b—Turkey—41.1% (46 respondents); c—Bulgaria—10.7% (12 respondents); d—Other countries—5.3% (6 respondents).
Therefore, the quality of animation services is of great importance when choosing a place for recreational recreation. The decline in the quality of animation services caused by restrictions on the holding of mass entertainment events in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to a change in priorities in the choice of recreation. Young people (groups I-II of respondents) react most sensitively to these changes. It should be noted that young people make up the largest number of vacationers.
Tourism is a kind of indicator of the level and quality of life of the population (Chornenka, 2012; Velychko, 2013). The expansion of recreational and health trips shows that tourism is an integral attribute of life in modern civilized society. It performs communicative, social, cognitive, recreational, value-oriented, creative and educational functions (Volkova & Naumenko, 2015; Iltio, 2015; Mozolev et al., 2021). The provision of animation services is an integral part of quality recreational recovery (Serhiiko, 2011; Panhelov & Danilko, 2018; Khmara et al., 2021).
Our research is based on the scientific views of modern experts in the sphere of tourism and the provision of animation services during recreational recovery (Kylymystyi, 2007; Kravets & Bailyk, 2017; Mikho, 2019). The results of our research confirm the results of the researches (Harbera, 2014; Fedotova, 2016; Myronov, 2020) on the socio-economic need to develop animation activities in places of mass recreational-recovery rest.
The peculiarity of our research is that we conducted the sociological survey of educators of Ukraine of different age groups who had experience of recreational and recovery activities both in the country and abroad. We received new data in determining the priorities of the choice of places of rest, as well as the importance of having quality and variety of animation services. The data obtained may differ from official statistics.
According to the results of our research, the data (Ganysheva & Babayeva, 2015; Chernysh, 2020) on the definition of priorities in the provision of animation services during recreational activities for different age groups of tourists were expanded.
The conducted comparative analysis with the indicators of 2016-2019 allowed us to investigate the changes that have occurred in the organization of animation activities under the restrictions of COVID-19. Our research supplemented and expanded the data on the organization of tourist trips under the conditions of the limitations of COVID-19 (Loguntsova, 2020; Bondarenko & Duhiienko, 2020; Mozolev & Khmara, 2021).
The presence of hotel animation for tourists is an important component of a quality recreational holiday. When choosing a place of rest, 82.1% of tourists pay attention to the availability and the content of hotel animation (p < 0.001). In terms of importance, animation is the fourth priority in the choice of hotels for recreational activities, inferior to such indicators as the location of the hotel and the availability of extensive infrastructure, comfort and cleanliness of rooms, variety of quality meals.
The priority choice of animation services during recreational holiday depends primarily on the age of holidaymakers and the presence (or absence) of young children with them. The importance of the availability of animation for children’s services is noted by respondents of the second and the third groups of respondents. When choosing the place of rest among all types of animation, they pay attention and give preference to the hotels with interesting and well-organized animation for children.
Among various types of animation, the most popular for all age groups are: concert and entertainment animation 28.2% (p < 0.001); animation for adults 18.95% (p < 0.01); animation for children 10.7% (p < 0.01); exhibition animation 10.3% (p < 0.01); physical culture and health animation 9.8% (p < 0.05); show animation 9.2% (p < 0.05).
The comparative analysis of the organization of animation services during the recreation of tourists found out that the majority of respondents 42.4% (p < 0.001) note the highest quality and most interesting organization of animation activities in the hotels of Turkey and the hotels of Egypt 29, 2% (p < 0.01), the worst indicator of 7.6% (p < 0.05) is in the hotels of Ukraine.
The following main tendencies and changes in the provision of animation services have been identified: reduction of animation programs and cutdown of diversity in the provision of animation services; reducing the level of requirements for the content of animation programs; deterioration of the level of animation services in both national and foreign recreation areas.
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