What tourism is ? When did Tourism Start? Why Tourism is an enormous Industry?

What is tourism? After reporting about travel and tourism for the last 20 years eTurboNews asked the question.

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What is tourism? After reporting about travel and tourism for the last 20 years eTurboNews asked the question. The answer summarizes tourism as an activity of people traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for leisure, business or other purposes for not more than one consecutive year.

What we know from statistics: Tourism provides over six million jobs in the United States, making it the country’s largest employer.

How did tourism start?

Since the beginning of people traveled. Food, water, safety or acquisition of resources (trade) were the early travel motivations. But the idea of travel for pleasure or exploration soon emerged.

How did tourism increase and prosper?

Travel has always depended upon technology to provide the means or mode of travel. The earliest travelers walked or rode domesticated animals. The invention of the wheel and the sail provided new modes of transportation. Each improvement in technology increased individuals’ opportunities to travel.

As roads were improved and governments stabilized, interest in travel increased for education, sightseeing, and religious purposes. One of the earliest travel guides was written by Pausanias, a Greek, which was a 10 volume Guide to Greece, for Roman tourists in 170 A.D..

Today tourism is a collection of activities, services and industries that delivers a travel experience, including transportation, accommodations, eating and drinking establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses, activity facilities and other hospitality services provided for individuals or groups traveling away from home. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) claims that tourism is currently the worlds largest industry with annual revenues of over $3 trillion dollars.

According to Macintosh and Goeldner (1986) tourism is “the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the interaction of tourists, business suppliers, host governments and host communities in the process of attracting and hosting these tourists and other visitors.”

In 1937 the Committee of Statistical Experts of the League of Nations defined foreign travel for tourism as: A person visiting a country, other than that in which he/she usually resides, for a period of at least 24 hours (Committee of Statistical Experts of the League of Nations, 1937).

Transportation Systems

The type and availability of transportation will determine travel destinations. The development of accommodations were likewise determined by the development of transportation systems.
Here is a list showing how the transportation industry started:

-Stagecoach (1500 A.D.) Invented in Hungary.
– Railroads (1825)First passenger train was in England.
– Boats & Ships (early 400 B.C., but first ocean liner 1840)
– Automobile (1908) Henry Ford’s Model T
– Air Travel (1919) by what is now know as Lufthansa Airline
– Space Travel (2015) estimated date for passenger travel into suborbital space.

Essential Requirements for Tourism

Time, as the hours for leisure increase so does the opportunity for travel. Changes in work days or hours, school calendars will affect how and when people can travel. The overall travel pattern has moved from a two week vacation to 6-8 three or four day mini-vacations per year.

Money, the majority of travel requires discretionary income. Discretionary income is money left over after all monetary obligations (food, rent and taxes) have been paid.

Mobility, is the access to transportation (car, bus, plane, train or ship) and the hours required to get to their destination.

Motivation, is the reason people travel. Motivations may include seeking novelty, education, meet new people, adventure or stress reduction.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.