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Tourism is classically regarded as travelling for recreation, although this definition has been expanded in recent years to include any travel outside of one's normal working or living area, from daytrips to overseas holidays.

Tourism has become an extremely large international industry, on which many national economies are now heavily reliant. In developed countries (source countries) it is now growing at a rate considerably faster than average annual growth levels.

The term tourism is sometimes used pejoratively, implying a shallow interest in the societies and natural wonders that the tourist visits.

Table of contents
1 Prerequisite factors
2 History
3 Recent developments
4 Special forms of tourism
5 Future trends
6 Travel guides
7 Tourism in specific countries
8 See also
9 External links

Prerequisite factors

"Tourism", like any other form of economic activity, occurs when the essential parameters come together to make it happen. In this case there are three such parameters:

  1. Disposable income, i.e. money to spend on non-essentials
  2. Time in which to do so.
  3. Infrastructure in the form of accommodation facilities and means of transport.

Individually, sufficient health is also a condition, and of course the inclination to travel. Furthermore, in some countries there are legal restrictions on travelling, especially abroad. Communist states were notorious for restricting foreign travel only to "trustworthy" citizens. The United States prohibits its citizens from traveling to some countries, for example, Cuba.


Wealthy people have always travelled to distant parts of the world, not incidentally for some other purpose, but as an end in itself: to see great buildings or other works of art; to learn new languages; or to taste new cuisine.

While tourism dates back into history, the terms tourist and tourism were first used as official terms in 1937 by the League of Nations. Tourism was defined as people travelling abroad for periods of over 24 h.

The Grand Tour

The word ''tour'\' gained common acceptance in the 18th century, when the Grand Tour of Europe became part of the upbringing of the educated and wealthy British nobleman or cultured gentleman. Grand tours were taken in particular by young people to "complete" their education. They travelled all over Europe, but notably to places of cultural and aesthetic interest, such as Rome, Tuscany and the Alps.

The British Aristocracy were particularly keen on the Grand Tour, using the occasion to gather art treasures from all over Europe to add to their collections. The volume of art treasures being moved to Britain in this way was unequalled anywhere else in Europe, and explains the richness of many private and public collections in Britain today. Yet tourism in those days, aimed essentially at the very top of the social ladder and at the well educated, was fundamentally a cultural activity. These first tourists, though undertaking their Grand Tour, were more travellers than tourists.

Most major British artists of the eighteenth century did the "Grand Tour", as did their great European contemporaries such as Claude Lorrain. Classical architecture, literature and art have always drawn visitors to Rome, Naples, Florence.

The Romantic movement (inspired throughout Europe by the English poets William Blake and Lord Byron, among others), extended this to Gothic countryside, the Alps, fast flowing rivers, mountain gorges, etc.

Health tourism & leisure travel

It was not until the 19th century that cultural tourism developed into leisure and health tourism. Some English travellers, after visiting the warm lands of the South of Europe, decided to stay there either for the cold season or for the rest of their lives. Others began to visit places with health-giving mineral waters, in order to relieve a whole variety of diseases from gout to liver disorders and bronchitis.

Leisure Travel was a British invention due to sociological factors. Britain was the first European country to industrialize, and the industrial society was the first society to offer time for leisure to a growing number of people. Not initially the working masses, but the owners of the machinery of production, the economic oligarchy, the factory owners, the traders, the new middle class.

The British origin of this new industry is reflected in many place names. At Nice, one of the first and most well established holiday resorts on the French Riviera, the long esplanade along the sea front is known to this day as the Promenade des Anglais; and in many other historic resorts in continental Europe, old well-established palace hotels have names like the Hotel Bristol, Hotel Carlton or Hotel Majestic - reflecting the dominance of English customers to whom these resorts catered in the early years.

Winter tourism
Even winter sports were largely invented by the British leisured classes initially at the Swiss village of Zermatt (Valais) (year?) and / or St Moritz in 1864.

Until the first tourists appeared, the Swiss just thought of the long snowy winter as being a time when the best thing to do was to stay indoors and make cuckoo clocks or other small mechanical items.

The first packaged winter sports holidays (vacations) followed in 1903, to Adelboden, also in Switzerland.

Organized sport was already well established in Britain long before it reached other countries. The vocabulary of sport bears witness to this: rugby, football, and boxing all originated in Britain, and even Tennis, originally a French sport, was formalized and codified by the British, who hosted the first national championship in the nineteenth century, at Wimbledon. Winter sports were a natural answer for a leisured class looking for amusement during the coldest season.

Mass tourism

Mass tourism did not really begin to develop until two things occurred.
a) improvements in communications allowed the
transport of large numbers of people in a short space of time to places of leisure interest, and
b) greater numbers of people began to enjoy the benefits of leisure time. The biggest development of all was the invention of the railways, which brought many of Britain's seaside towns within easy distance of Britain's large urban centres.

The father of modern mass tourism was Thomas Cook who, on 5 July 1841, organized the first package tour in history, by chartering a train to take a group of temperance campaigners from Leicester to a rally in Loughborough, some twenty miles away. Cook immediately saw the potential for business development in the sector, and became the world's first tour operator.

He was soon followed by others, with the result that the tourist industry developed rapidly in early Victorian Britain. Initially it was supported by the growing middle classes, who had time off from their work, and who could afford the luxury of travel and possibly even staying for periods of time in boarding houses.

However, the Bank Holiday Act 1871 introduced, for the first time, a statutory right for workers to take holidays, even if they were not paid at the time. As an aside, in the UK there is still no obligation to pay staff who do not work on public holidays.

The combination of short holiday periods, travel facilities and distances meant that the first holiday resorts to develop in Britain were towns on the seaside, situated as close as possible to the growing industrial conurbations.

For those in the industrial north, there were Blackpool in Lancashire, and Scarborough in (Yorkshire). For those in the Midlands, there were Weston-super-Mare in Somerset and Skegness in Lincolnshire, for those in London there were Southend-on-Sea, Broadstairs, Brighton, Eastbourne, and a whole collection of other lesser known places.

In travelling to the coast, the population was following in the steps of Royalty. King George III is widely acknowledged as popularising the seaside holiday, due to his regular visits to Weymouth when in poor health.

For a century, domestic tourism was the norm, with foreign travel being reserved, as before, for the rich or the culturally curious. A minority of resorts, such as Bath, Harrogate and Matlock, emerged inland. After World War II holiday villages such as Butlins and Pontins emerged, but their popularity waned with the rise of package tours and the increasing comforts to which visitors became accustomed at home. Towards the end of the 20th century the market was revived by the upmarket inland resorts of Dutch company Centre Parcs.

Other phenomena that helped develop the travel industry were paid holidays:

Outside Britain

Similar processes occurred in other countries, though at a slower rate, given that nineteenth century Britain was far ahead of any other nation in the world in the process of industrialisation.

In the USA, the first great seaside resort, in the European style, was Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In Continental Europe, early resorts included Ostend (for the people of Brussels), and Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) and Deauville (Calvados) (for Parisians).

International mass tourism

Increasing speed on railways meant that the tourist industry could develop slowly, even internationally. By 1901, the number of people crossing the English Channel from England to France or Belgium had already passed 0.5 million per year.

However it was with cheap air travel in combination with the package tour that international mass tourism developed after 1963. For the worker living in greater London, Brindisi today is almost as accessible as Brighton was 100 years ago.

Recent developments

Although mass tourism grew continuously in the past 50 years, there have been a few temporary setbacks, the latest being related to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Some of the tourist destinations, including the Costa del Sol, the Baleares and Cancun have lost popularity due to shifting tastes and perceptions among tourists.

Receptive tourism is now growing at a very rapid rate in many developing countries, where it is often the most important economic activity in local GDP.

In recent years, second holidays or vacations have been becoming more popular as people have more disposable income. Typical combinations are a package to the typical mass tourist resort, with a winter skiing vacation or weekend break to a city or national park.

Special forms of tourism

For the past few decades other forms of tourism have been becoming more popular, particularly:

Future trends

The World Tourism Organization forecasts that international tourism will continue growing at the average annual rate of 4 percent [1]. By 2020 Europe will remain the most popular destination, but its share will drop from 60 percent in 1995 to 46 percent. Long-haul will grow slightly faster than intraregional travel and by 2020 it's share will increase from 18 percent in 1995 to 24 percent.

Space tourism is expected to take off in the first quarter of the 21st century, although compared with traditional destinations the number of tourists in orbit will remain low until technlogies such as space elevator make space travel cheap.

Gradual technological improvement are likely to make possible air-ship hotels, based either on solar-powered airplanes or large dirigibles. Underwater hotels, such as Hydropolis, slated to open in Dubai in 2006, will be built. On the surface of the ocean tourists will be welcomed by ever larger cruise ships and floating cities such as Freedom Ship (with construction start planned for 2005).

Some futurists expect that movable hotel "pods" will be created that could be temporarily erected anywhere on the planet, where building a permanent resort would be unacceptable politically, economically or environmentally.

As computer technologies advance sufficiently, virtual reality tourism is likely to become extremely popular and affordable (around 2010-2015).

Travel guides

Tourism in specific countries

Information on tourism and touring in several countries is available in:

See also

External links

Wiki travel sites

Commercial travel sites