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WHAT IS TOURISM?
Humans have travelled since the beginning of time. Food, water, safety and acquisition of resources (trade) were the earliest travel motivations. But the idea of travel for pleasure or exploration soon emerged. Travel has always depended upon technology to provide the means or mode of travel. The earliest travellers 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.
Tourism is a set 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 travelling away from home. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) claims that tourism is currently the world's largest industry with annual revenues of over $3 trillion dollars. Tourism provides over six million jobs in the United States, making it the country's largest employer.
Mathieson and Wall (1982) created a good working definition of tourism as " the temporary movement of people to destinations outside their normal places of work and residence, the activities undertaken during their stay in those destinations, and the facilities created to cater to their needs."
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."
Essential Requirements for Tourism are as follows:
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.
HISTORY OF TRAVEL & TOURISM
Travel for trade was an important feature since the beginning of civilisation. The earliest form of leisure tourism can be traced as far back as the Babylonian and Egyptian empires. The Egyptians held many religious festivals that attracted the devout and many people who thronged to cities to see famous works of arts and buildings. In India, as elsewhere, kings travelled for empire building. The Brahmins and the common people travelled for religious purposes. Greek tourists travelled to sites of healing gods. The Greeks also enjoyed their religious festivals that increasingly became a pursuit of pleasure, and in particular, sport. Athens had become an important site for travellers visiting the major sights such as the Parthenon. Inns were established in large towns and seaports to provide for travellers' needs. Courtesans were the principal entertainment offered.
This era also saw the birth of travel writing. Herodotus was the worlds' first travel writer. Guidebooks also made their appearance in the fourth century covering destinations such as Athens, Sparta and Troy. Advertisements in the way of signs directing people to inns are also known in this period.
With no foreign borders between England and Syria, and with safe seas from piracy due to Roman patrols, the conditions favouring travel had arrived. First class roads coupled with staging inns (precursors of modern motels) promoted the growth of travel. Romans travelled to Sicily, Greece, Rhodes, Troy and Egypt. From 300 AD travel to the Holy Land also became very popular. The Romans introduced their guidebooks (itineraria), listing hotels with symbols to identify quality.
Adventurers sought fame and fortune through travel. The Europeans tried to discover a sea route to India for trade purposes and in this fashion discovered America and explored parts of Africa. Strolling players and minstrels made their living by performing as they travelled. Missionaries, saints, etc. travelled to spread the sacred word.
From the early seventeenth century, a new form of tourism was developed as a direct outcome of the Renaissance. Under the reign of Elizabeth 1, young men seeking positions at court were encouraged to travel to continent to finish their education. Later, it became customary for education of gentleman to be completed by a 'Grand Tour' accompanied by a tutor and lasting for three or more years. While ostensibly educational, the pleasure seeking men travelled to enjoy life and culture of Paris, Venice or Florence. By the end of eighteenth century, the custom had become institutionalised in the gentry. Gradually pleasure travel displaced educational travel. The advent of Napoleonic wars inhibited travel for around 30 years and led to the decline of the custom of the Grand Tour.
Spas grew in popularity in the seventeenth century in Britain and a little later in the European Continent as awareness about the therapeutic qualities of mineral water increased. In the nineteenth century they were gradually replaced by the seaside resort.
Highlights of travel in the nineteenth century
· Advent of railway initially catalysed business travel and later leisure travel. Gradually special trains were chartered to only take leisure travel to their destinations.
· Package tours organised by entrepreneurs such as Thomas Cook.
· The European countries indulged in a lot of business travel often to their colonies to buy raw material and sell finished goods.
· The invention of photography acted as a status-enhancing tool and promoted overseas travel.
· The formation of first hotel chains; pioneered by the railway companies who established great railway terminus hotels.
· Seaside resorts began to develop different images as for day-trippers, elite, for gambling.
· Other types of destinations-ski resorts, hill stations, mountaineering spots etc.
· The technological development in steamships promoted travel between North America and Europe.
· The Suez Canal opened direct sea routes to India and the Far East.
· The cult of the guidebook followed the development of photography.
The First World War gave first hand experience of countries and aroused a sense of curiosity about international travel among less well off sector for the first time. The large scale of migration to the US meant a lot of travel across the Atlantic. Private motoring began to encourage domestic travel in Europe and the west. The sea side resort became annual family holiday destination in Britain and increased in popularity in other countries of the west. Hotels proliferated in these destinations.
The wars increased interest in international travel. This interest was given the shape of mass tourism by the aviation industry. The surplus of aircraft and growth of private airlines aided the expansion of air travel. The aircraft had become comfortable, faster and steadily cheaper for overseas travel. With the introduction of Boeing 707 jet in 1958, the age of air travel for the masses had arrived. The beginning of chartered flights boosted the package tour market and led to the establishment of organised mass tourism. The Boeing 747, a 400 seat craft, brought the cost of travel down sharply. The seaside resorts in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Caribbean were the initial hot spots of mass tourism.
A corresponding growth in hotel industry led to the establishment of world-wide chains. Tourism also began to diversify as people began to flock alternative destinations in the 70s. Nepal and India received a throng of tourists lured by Hare Krishna movement and transcendental meditation. The beginning of individual travel in a significant volume only occurred in the 80s. Air travel also led to a continuous growth in business travel especially with the emergence of the MNCs.