Tourism is when people travel to other places, different from their usual environment, for various reasons, such as for fun or for work. It’s a mix of social, cultural, and economic activities that involve tours, exploring, and experiencing new things in new locations. Tourism can be also domestic or international, and international tourism.

The World Tourism Organization has a broader definition of a tour than just going on vacation. It includes when people travel to new places and stay there for less than a year, whether for fun, work, or other reasons.

Tourism is also a big business worldwide, with people spending a lot of money on travel. In 2012, over a billion people traveled internationally for different reasons like vacations or work. Countries also make money from tours, with over a trillion dollars spent in 2005 alone. China, Russia, and Brazil are among the countries that have been spending more on travel in recent years.

So, tourism is a type of travel related to many other activities and interests, such as going on a pilgrimage or traveling for business, sports, or medical reasons. These different types of travel are often grouped together under specific categories, like “business tourism,” “sports tourism,” or “medical tourism,” which refers to traveling to receive medical treatment.

What is Tourism?

A boy is feeling joyful and shouting towards the sky

Tourism means going away from home with friends, family, or alone to have fun, relax, and enjoy yourself by using commercial services like hotels, restaurants, and activities. People have been doing travel for a long time, but it became more popular in the 17th century in Western Europe. Even in ancient times, people would travel for pleasure and relaxation.

In 1941, Hunziker and Kraft explain tourism as “the sum of events and relations arising from the travel and residence of non-residents, as they are not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any gainful activity.”

The United Nations identified 3 forms of tourism in recommendations on Tourism Statistics:

  • Domestic tourism refers to the type of tourism where people travel within their own country and do not cross international borders. 
  • Inbound tourism means when non-residents travel to a particular country for leisure, business, or other purposes.
  • Outbound tourism refers to where residents of a particular country travel to other countries for leisure, business, or other purposes.

In addition, Sometimes the words “tourism” and “travel” mean the same thing. “Travel” usually means going somewhere for a specific reason, while “tourism” usually means going somewhere for fun or leisure. Unfortunately, some people use “tourism” and “tourist” negatively. They suggest that the person is not interested in the culture or history of the place they are visiting.

Tourism Products

Some necessary thing for traveling

According to the World Tourism Organization, a tourism product refers to:

"a combination of tangible and intangible elements, such as natural, cultural, and man-made resources, attractions, facilities, services and activities around a specific center of interest which represents the core of the destination marketing mix and creates an overall visitor experience including emotional aspects for the potential customers. A tourism product is priced and sold through distribution channels and has a life cycle."

Source: UNWTO

At this point, we will know about Tourism product that covers a wide variety of services including:

  • Lodging options are available to travelers, from budget-friendly homestays to luxury 5-star hotels.
  • Hospitality services include food, necessary items, and beverage serving centers such as restaurants, cafes, and bars.
  • Healthcare services like massage
  • All modes of transport, it’s booking or rental
  • Facilities of travel agencies, guided tours, tourist guides, etc.
  • Cultural services like religious monuments, museums, and historical places
  • Shopping

International Tourism

A girl is waiting at airport for international tour

International tourism means traveling to other countries for leisure, business, or other reasons. People who do this are called tourists. It has become a popular activity around the world because of globalization. The World Health Organization approximates that up to 500,000 people are flying at any one time.

In 2010, people traveling to different countries spent almost $919 billion, and over 940 million people traveled internationally. Six years later, in 2016, over 1.2 billion international tourists spent over $1.2 trillion on their destinations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international tourism has decreased significantly.

International tourism can harm the environment, especially when people travel by air. Rich tourists can also cause problems by putting a lot of strain on local resources like water and trash systems.

Tourism History

Everything has a history. So, yes, tourism also has its own history. Of course, we all know that people start to travel from the very beginning of their life. 

At this point, we will dive into the history of tourism. So, let’s find out:


In the ancient period, traveling for leisure was something only the rich could do. They traveled to see famous buildings, art, learn new languages, experience new cultures, enjoy nature, and taste different foods. 

Kings even boasted about building roads and stations for travelers long ago. The ancient Egyptians and Romans enjoyed traveling for pleasure too. They visited spas, resorts, and their own villas. Pausanias wrote about Greece, and in China, important people visited mountains.


During the post-classical era, religions like Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam created traditions of pilgrimage. In addition, famous literary works such as The Canterbury Tales and Journey to the West used pilgrimage as the central narrative.

In medieval Italy, Petrarch wrote about his travel experiences and praised traveling for its own sake. The Burgundian poet Michault Taillevent also wrote about his travels, but his account was more pessimistic.

In China, travel writing became popular during the Song Dynasty. Writers like Fan Chengda and Xu Xiake shared geographical information in their travel records. Poet Su Shi wrote about a day trip to Stone Bell Mountain, presenting a philosophical and moral argument in his writing.

Grand Tour

Grand Tour

The Grand Tour was a trip taken by wealthy young men from Europe in the 17th to 19th centuries, mainly from Western and Northern European countries. They visited countries like Germany and Italy. It was a way for them to learn about different cultures, art, and history. The journey was extended to include more middle-class people when rail and steamship travel made it more accessible.

From 1660 to the 1840s, rich young European men took a traditional trip around Europe called the Grand Tour. It was a chance for education and personal growth. The tour was popular with British nobles, but also with wealthy young men from other Protestant European countries. 

In the late 18th century, even young people from South America and the United States joined in. Then, when travel became easier with the advent of rail and steamship, more middle-class people could take the tour. Finally, Thomas Cook made it famous with his “Cook’s Tour.”

In addition, the Grand Tour became a real status symbol for upper-class students in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Emergence of Leisure Travel

Leisure travel became popular during the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, where the new middle class had more free time. Cox & Kings was the 1st official travel company, established in 1758

Thomas Cook had an idea to offer excursions. So he arranged to take a group of 540 temperance campaigners from Leicester to a rally in Loughborough using the extended Midland Counties Railway. He charged one shilling per person for the rail tickets and food for the journey. It was paid a share of the fares charged to the passengers. It was the first privately chartered excursion train to be advertised to the general public.  

In 1855, Thomas Cook took a group from Leicester to Calais to coincide with the Paris Exhibition, marking his first excursion abroad. He started his “grand circular tours” of Europe the following year. In the 1860s, he took over parties in Switzerland, Italy, Egypt, and the United States.

Tourism Category

Broadly speaking, according to the UNWTO, there are 3 primary forms of tourism based on the country of destination and departure.

Tourism Category

There are many types of tours, and they fall under these 3 main categories. They are: 

Domestic Tourism

Domestic tourism means traveling within your own country for work or fun. It’s usually easier to plan than traveling to another country, as you don’t need extra documents or health checks. Instead, you can just take a domestic flight, bus, or train to your destination. 

For example, if you live in London and go to Manchester for a weekend break, that’s domestic travel.

When you travel domestically, you usually don’t have to worry about language barriers or cultural differences. It can make it less stressful than traveling to another country.

Inbound Tourism

Inbound tourism happens when you travel from your country to another country. For instance, if you travel from the USA to Spain, it’s inbound travel for Spain. This type of travel is considered international. 

So, you need to do some preparations beforehand, like getting the necessary paperwork and taking care of health-related requirements like vaccinations.

Outbound Tourism

Outbound tourism is when you travel from your home country to another one. So, for instance, if you travel from the USA to Spain, this is outbound travel for the USA as you’re leaving the country.

Outbound tourism is a type of international travel, and you’ll need to complete some formalities. Travel agents can help you with this, but you can also manage the paperwork yourself. In addition, many online travel agencies specialize in outbound tourism and can assist you with planning your trip.

Important of Tourism

Travel is an important part of the service industry that brings in a lot of money for regions and countries. The Manila Declaration on World Tourism in 1980 recognized its importance in various areas such as social, cultural, educational, and economic sectors. 

It’s an activity crucial to nations’ lives and their international relations. So here we are going to see the importance of tourism:

  • Tourism brings money into local economies through goods and services needed by tourists.
  • It accounts for 30% of the world’s trade in services and 6% of overall exports of goods and services.
  • The service sector of the economy benefits from employment opportunities generated by travel.
  • The industries that benefit from travel include transportation, lodging, and entertainment venues.
  • Tourism can expand the mind but degrade people and deteriorate the relationship between host and guest.
  • Travel can put additional pressure on the local environment.
  • Cultural assets, cultural property, and the nature of the travel location are the economic foundations of travel.
  • The British royal family and the Habsburg family generate tourism sales in their respective countries.

Modern-day Tourism

Many leisure-oriented tourists travel to their nearest coast or further afield to seaside resorts. Consequently, tropical coastal areas are popular in both summer and winter.

Mass Tourism

Mass Tourism

Mass tourism is defined as travel by groups on pre-scheduled tours organized by tourism professionals. It started in the UK in the 19th century when Thomas Cook established a company that offered the masses affordable day trips and holidays. 

Cook used Europe’s expanding railway network and offered trips to Continental Europe, India, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. By the 1890s, over 20,000 people used Thomas Cook & Son annually. The partnership between travel companies, transportation operators, and hotels is central to mass tourism.

Package travel is a contemporary form of mass tourism. Travel became popular in the 20th century with the development of automobiles and airplanes, making leisure travel accessible to more people.

In the early 20th century, travel became easier thanks to cars and airplanes. It allowed more people to enjoy leisure time and travel to places of interest.

In Europe, seaside resorts like Heiligendamm, Ostend, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Deauville, and Taormina became popular in the late 1700s and early 1800s. In the United States, Atlantic City and Long Island had the first seaside resorts in the European style.

Niche Tourism

Niche tourism refers to specialized types of tourism that have developed over time, each with its own name. The tourism industry and academics commonly use some of these names. In contrast, others are newer and may not be widely known yet.

Here are some examples of the more common niche tourism markets are:

  • Agritourism
  • Birth tourism
  • Coastal island tourism
  • Culinary tourism
  • Cultural tourism
  • Dark tourism (also called “black tourism” or “grief tourism”)
  • Eco tourism
  • Extreme tourism
  • Film tourism
  • Geotourism
  • Heritage tourism
  • LGBT tourism
  • Medical tourism
  • Nautical tourism
  • Pop-culture tourism
  • Religious tourism
  • Sex tourism
  • Slum tourism
  • Sports tourism
  • Trains tourism
  • Virtual tourism
  • War tourism
  • Wellness tourism
  • Wildlife tourism

Winter Tourism

In the 1860s, the Swiss town of St. Moritz became popular for winter tourism, thanks to a hotel manager who invited summer guests to come back and see the snowy landscape. As a result, winter travel became more popular than summer tourism in many Swiss ski resorts in the 1970s

Major ski resorts are located in various European countries, including Canada, the United States, Argentina, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Chile, and Lebanon. Non-skiers make up around one-third of all winter guests in some locations.

Recent Developments

Tourism has increased in the last few decades, especially in Europe, where people often travel internationally for short vacations. Let’s see some recent development because of travel:

  • Tourists have different budgets and preferences for resorts and hotels.
  • Air travel has become more affordable due to developments in air transport infrastructure, including low-cost airlines and more accessible airports.
  • Retirement-age people now sustain year-round tourism, and internet sales of tourist services have made planning and booking trips easier.
  • There have been setbacks in travel due to terrorist threats and natural disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
  • Low-price or zero-price overnight stays have become more popular, with growth in the hostel market and services like CouchSurfing and Airbnb.
  • Some places, such as Dubai, have shifted their primary sources of revenue towards tourism.
  • Lifestyle changes have also affected travel, with some retirement-age people sustaining year-round travel, facilitated by internet sales of tourist services.
  • Setbacks in tourism have included the September 11 attacks, terrorist threats, and natural disasters such as tsunamis.

Impacts of Travel

Tourism positively and negatively impacts tourist destinations, health, mind, economy, etc. At this point, we are going to know about the impact of travel:

  • Tourism impacts can be divided into economic, sociocultural, and environmental domains.
  • Economic impacts include increased tax revenue, personal income, higher standards of living, and more job opportunities.
  • Sociocultural impacts refer to interactions between people with different cultural backgrounds and attitudes toward material goods.
  • Environmental impacts can be direct, such as degradation of habitats, water quality, and wildlife, or indirect, such as increased harvesting of natural resources.
  • Travel can have positive and negative health outcomes for local residents.
  • Negative impacts can include a higher risk of disease transmission, traffic congestion, and stress, which can lead to anxiety and depression.
  • Positive impacts can include improving healthcare access, positive emotions, novelty, and social interactions, leading to better health and well-being.

Growth in Tourism

The UNWTO predicts that international tourism will continue to grow by 4% annually. Travel products and services are now available through intermediaries and directly from providers like hotels and airlines. 

Countries that spend more on tourism per capita tend to influence the global stage significantly. Therefore, the growth of travel can indicate a country’s future influence on the world economy.

Space Tourism

Orbital space tourism has been limited, with only the Russian Space Agency providing transport. However, a 2010 report predicted that space tourism could become a billion-dollar market by 2030. 

The Russian Soyuz and Chinese Shenzhou are currently the only spacecraft suitable for human travel. In 2001, Dennis Tito became the first tourist to visit space on the Russian Soyuz. 2011 Virgin Galactic launched its SpaceShipTwo plane for space travel at $200,000 per seat. 

The commercial space treavel industry faces challenges in funding, lowering access costs, and gaining public support. Research on demand, risks, liabilities, and insurance issues is still needed. A 2010 report predicted a growth rate of 18% to 26% per year for space tourism from 2020 to 2030.

Sports Tourism

Sports tourism has become more popular since the late 1980s. Big events like the Olympics, World Cups, and Commonwealth Games have enabled travel companies to sell packages that include tickets, flights, hotels, and excursions.

Tourism Security

Tourism security is a field of study that explores factors that affect the safety of tourists. Risks are evaluated by their impact and nature. It involves methods and techniques to protect tourist destinations. 

There are three waves in tourism security: 

  • Risk perception theory
  • Disaster management
  • Post-disaster consumption 

Andrew Spencer & Peter Tarlow argue that travel security is complex due to global risks and sub-disciplines. In addition, travel security and safety became more important as the tourism industry matured worldwide. 

Threats to travel include terrorism that targets tourists and destabilizes governments, causing geopolitical tensions. Island destinations are particularly vulnerable to terrorism and global risks.

Trends Since 2000

The 2008 recession caused a slowdown in international tourism and air transport, with negative growth in passenger traffic. In addition, the hotel industry also reported a decline in occupancy. As a result, worldwide travel arrivals decreased by 3.8% in 2009

A girl is holding her hat and enjoying the view

However, tourism is viewed as a necessity, and tourist numbers recovered some 6.6% globally in 2009, with growth up to 8% in emerging economies. It suggests that travel will continue to be popular in the long term.


Tourism is an important global industry that has grown significantly over the past few decades. It has contributed significantly to the economies of many countries and provided employment opportunities for millions of people worldwide. 

However, the tour industry faces many challenges, including environmental concerns, over-travel, and the need for greater safety and security measures. 

In addition, global events such as economic recessions and pandemics can significantly impact tourism demand. 

Therefore, it is important to manage tourism in a sustainable way, balancing economic growth with environmental and social responsibility, to ensure its long-term viability.



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