Nature tourism and mental well-being
Last weekend a field trip was made to the Limón Indanza canton, specifically to the Tinajillas - Río Gualaceño Municipal Conservation Area, to experiment with how outdoor activities in natural spaces can contribute to the reduction of psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
Fifty-six scholarship students from the University of Cuenca and 23 students from the University of Azuay participated in the field trip. In addition, they were accompanied by research professors in tourism and psychology from the participating universities.
Nature tours were combined with leisure and relaxation activities. Previously, the research team collected data using the DASS21 instrument (anxiety, stress, and depression analysis test). Data on leisure and tourism variables were also collected during the trip. Finally, after the trip, the DASS21 instrument was applied again to verify whether the activity contributed to reducing the psychological conditions described.
This exercise opens the possibility of developing tourism activities for mental well-being. It may even represent a new possibility for tourism development and contribute to improving the psychological problems of populations with these problems.
This activity has been carried out in the framework of the project Mental wellbeing based on nature tourism experiences in scholarship students of the University of Cuenca and the University of Azuay, which the above mentioned universities carry out. In addition, members of the PREIT-tour research team actively participate as mentalizers and researchers of the project.
Audiovisual credits: PREIT-tour