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Chapter 1. History and Overview

1.1 What is Tourism?

Before engaging in a study of tourism , let’s have a closer look at what this term means.

Definition of Tourism

There are a number of ways tourism can be defined, and for this reason, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) embarked on a project from 2005 to 2007 to create a common glossary of terms for tourism. It defines tourism as follows:

Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2008).

Using this definition, we can see that tourism is not just the movement of people for a number of purposes (whether business or pleasure), but the overall agglomeration of activities, services, and involved sectors that make up the unique tourist experience.

Tourism, Travel, and Hospitality: What are the Differences?

It is common to confuse the terms tourism , travel , and hospitality or to define them as the same thing. While tourism is the all-encompassing umbrella term for the activities and industry that create the tourist experience, the UNWTO (2020) defines travel as the activity of moving between different locations often for any purpose but more so for leisure and recreation (Hall & Page, 2006). On the other hand, hospitality can be defined as “the business of helping people to feel welcome and relaxed and to enjoy themselves” (Discover Hospitality, 2015, p. 3). Simply put, the hospitality industry is the combination of the accommodation and food and beverage groupings, collectively making up the largest segment of the industry (Go2HR, 2020). You’ll learn more about accommodations and F & B in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 , respectively.

Definition of Tourist and Excursionist

Building on the definition of tourism, a commonly accepted description of a tourist is “someone who travels at least 80 km from his or her home for at least 24 hours, for business or leisure or other reasons” (LinkBC, 2008, p.8). The United Nations World Tourism Organization (1995) helps us break down this definition further by stating tourists can be:

  • Domestic (residents of a given country travelling only within that country)
  • Inbound (non-residents travelling in a given country)
  • Outbound (residents of one country travelling in another country)

Excursionists  on the other hand are considered same-day visitors (UNWTO, 2020). Sometimes referred to as “day trippers.” Understandably, not every visitor stays in a destination overnight. It is common for travellers to spend a few hours or less to do sightseeing, visit attractions, dine at a local restaurant, then leave at the end of the day.

The scope of tourism, therefore, is broad and encompasses a number of activities and sectors.

Spotlight On: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible “for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism” (UNWTO, 2014b). Its membership includes 159 countries and over 500 affiliates such as private companies, research and educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations. It promotes tourism as a way of developing communities while encouraging ethical behaviour to mitigate negative impacts. For more information, visit the UNWTO website .

NAICS: The North American Industry Classification System

Given the sheer size of the tourism industry, it can be helpful to break it down into broad industry groups using a common classification system. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was jointly created by the Canadian, US, and Mexican governments to ensure common analysis across all three countries (British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, 2013a). The tourism-related groupings created using NAICS are (in alphabetical order):

  • Accommodation
  • Food and beverage services (commonly known as “F & B”)
  • Recreation and entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Travel services

These industry groups (also commonly known as sectors) are based on the similarity of the “labour processes and inputs” used for each (Government of Canada, 2013). For instance, the types of employees and resources required to run an accommodation business whether it be a hotel, motel, or even a campground are quite similar. All these businesses need staff to check in guests, provide housekeeping, employ maintenance workers, and provide a place for people to sleep. As such, they can be grouped together under the heading of accommodation. The same is true of the other four groupings, and the rest of this text explores these industry groups, and other aspects of tourism, in more detail.

Two female front desk employees speak to a male guest in a hotel lobby.

It is typical for the entire tourist experience to involve more than one sector. The combination of sectors that supply and distribute the needed tourism products, services, and activities within the tourism system is called the Tourism Supply Chain. Often, these chains of sectors and activities are dependent upon each other’s delivery of products and services. Let’s look at a simple example below that describes the involved and sometimes overlapping sectoral chains in the tourism experience:

Tourism supply chain. Long description available.

Before we seek to understand the five tourism sectors in more detail, it’s important to have an overview of the history and impacts of tourism to date.

Long Descriptions

Figure 1.2 long description: Diagram showing the tourism supply chain. This includes the phases of travel and the sectors and activities involved during each phase.

There are three travel phases: pre-departure, during travel, and post-departure.

Pre-departure, tourists use the travel services and transportation sectors.

During travel, tourists use the travel services, accommodations, food and beverage, recreation and entertainment, and transportation sectors.

Post-departure, tourists use the transportation sector.

[Return to Figure 1.2]

Media Attributions

  • Front Desk by Staying LEVEL is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 Licence .

Tourism according the the UNWTO is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.

UN agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism worldwide.

Moving between different locations for leisure and recreation.

The accommodations and food and beverage industry groupings.

someone who travels at least 80 km from his or her home for at least 24 hours, for business or leisure or other reasons

A same-day visitor to a destination. Their trip typically ends on the same day when they leave the destination.

A way to group tourism activities based on similarities in business practices, primarily used for statistical analysis.

Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC - 2nd Edition by Morgan Westcott and Wendy Anderson, Eds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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tourism definition and concept

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and a major foreign exchange and employment generation for many countries. It is one of the most remarkable economic and social phenomena.

The word ‘tour’ is derived from the Latin word tornus, meaning ‘a tool for making a circle.’ Tourism may be defined as the movement of people from their usual place of residence to another place ( with the intention to return) for a minimum period of twenty-four hours to a maximum of six months for the sole purpose of leisure and pleasure.

According to WTO (1993), ” Tourism encompasses the activities of persons traveling and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes.”

The Rome conference on tourism in 1963 defined tourism as ‘ a visit to a country other than one’s own or where one usually resides and works. This definition, however, did not take into account domestic tourism, which has become a vital money-spinner and job generator for the hospitality industry.

The UNWTO defines tourists as ‘ people who travel to and stay in place outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.

According to the Tourism Society of Britain ,” tourism is the temporary short-period movement of people to destination outside the places where they usually live, work; and activities during their stay at these destinations.” This definition includes the movement of people for all purposes.

The development of technology and transportation infrastructure, such as jumbos jets, low-cost airlines, and more accessible airports, have made tourism affordable and convenient. There have been changes in lifestyle – for example, now retiree-age people sustain tourism around the year. The sale of tourism products on the internet, besides the aggressive marketing of the tour operators and travel agencies , has also contributed to the growth of tourism.

27 September is celebrated as world tourism every year. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of UNWTO were adopted. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the role of tourism within the international community.

History of Travel and Tourism

Travel is as old as mankind on earth. At the beginning of his existence, man roamed about the planet’s surface in search of food, shelter, security, and better habitat. However, with time, such movements were transformed into wanderlust.

About five thousand years ago, climate changes, dwindling food and shelter conditions hostile invaders made the people leave their homes to seek refuge elsewhere like the Aryans left their homes in Central Asia due to climate changes. Perhaps, this leads to the development of commerce, trade, and industry.

Religion, education, and cultural movement began during the Hindu and Chinese civilizations. Christian missionaries, Buddhist monks, and others traveled far and wide carrying religious messages and returned with fantastic images and opinions about alien people.

For centuries movement of people continued to grow due to the efficiency of transport and the assistance and safety with which the people could travel. By the end of the 15th century, Italy had become Europe’s intellectual and cultural center. It represented the classical heritage both for the intelligentsia and the aristocracy.

During the 16th century, travel came to be considered an essential part of the education of every young Englishman. Travel thus became a means of self-development and education in its broadest sense. The educational travel was known as the ‘ Grand Tour .’

The industrial revolution brought about significant changes in the pattern and structure of British society. Thus, the economy of Britain was greatly responsible for the beginning of modern tourism. It also created a large and prosperous middle class. Because of remarkable improvement in transportation systems in the latter half of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th century, an increasing number of people began to travel for pleasure.

Travel was inspired initially by the need for survival (food, shelter, and security), the desire to expand trade, and the quest to conquer. As the transportation system improved, the curiosity for transforming the vast and virgin world into a close neighborhood created a new industry, i.e., Travel and Tourism .

However, the developments of rails, roads, steamships, automobiles, and airplanes helped to spread technology across the globe. Earlier travel was a privilege only for wealthy people, but with the industrial revolution, the scenario altogether changed. Transportation, as well as accommodation, became affordable to middle and working-class citizens.

Essentially, with the development of jet travel, communication, new technology, tourism, and travel became the world’s largest and fastest-growing industry.

Travel and tourism have recently emerged as a dominant economic force on the global scene, accounting for more than 12% of total world trade and growing at 8 percent annually.

Types of Tourism

Tourism has two types and many forms based on the purpose of visit and alternative forms of tourism. Tourism can be categorized as international and domestic tourism .

Tourism has two types and various forms. Based on the movement of people, tourism is categorized into two kinds. These are the following:

International Tourism

When people visit a foreign country, it is referred to as International Tourism . To travel to a foreign country, one needs a valid passport, visa, health documents, foreign exchange, etc.

International tourism is divided into two types; Inbound Tourism & Outbound Tourism.

Inbound Tourism

This refers to tourists of outside origin entering a particular country. Traveling outside their host/native country to another country is called inbound tourism for the country where they are traveling. For example, when a tourist of Indian origin travels to Japan, it is  Inbound tourism for Japan because foreign tourists come to Japan.

Outbound Tourism

This refers to tourists traveling from the country of their origin to another country. When tourists travel to a foreign region, it is outbound tourism for their own country because they are going outside their country. For example, when a tourist from India travels to Japan, it is outbound tourism for India and Inbound tourism for Japan.

Domestic Tourism

The tourism activity of the people within their own country is known as domestic tourism . Traveling within the same country is easier because it does not require formal travel documents and tedious formalities like compulsory health checks and foreign exchange. A traveler generally does not face many language problems or currency exchange issues in domestic tourism.

Forms of Tourism

Tourism has various forms based on the purpose of the visit and alternative forms. These are further divided into many types according to their nature. Forms of tourism are the following:

Some most basic forms of tourism are the following:

  • Adventure Tourism
  • Atomic Tourism
  • Bicycle Tours
  • Beach Tourism
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Industrial Tourism
  • Medical Tourism
  • Religious Tourism
  • Rural Tourism
  • Sex Tourism
  • Space Tourism
  • Sports Tourism
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Virtual Tourism
  • War Tourism
  • Wildlife Tourism

Classification of Tourism

Tourism can be classified into six distinct categories according to the purpose of travel. These are the following:

1) Recreational : Recreational or leisure tourism takes a person away from the humdrum of everyday life. In this case, people spend their leisure time in the hills, sea beaches, etc.

2) Cultural tourism satisfies cultural and intellectual curiosity and involves visits to ancient monuments, places of historical or religious importance, etc.

3) Sports/Adventure : Trips taken by people with a view to playing golf, skiing and hiking, fall within this category.

4) Health : Under this category, people travel for medical, treatment or visit places where there are curative possibilities, for example, hot springs, spa yoga, etc.

5) Convention Tourism : It is becoming an increasingly important component of travel. People travel within a country or overseas to attend conventions relating to their business, profession, or interest.

6) Incentive Tourism : Holiday trips are offered as incentives by major companies to dealers and salesmen who achieve high targets in sales. This is a new and expanding phenomenon in tourism, These are in lieu of cash incentives or gifts, Today incentive tourism is a 3 billion dollar business in the USA alone.

Nature of Tourism

Tourism as a socio-economic phenomenon comprises the activities and experiences of tourists and visitors away from their home environment and are serviced by the travel and tourism industry and host destination. The sum total of this activity experience and services can be seen as a tourism product.

The tourism system can be described in terms of supply and demand. Tourism planning should strive for a balance between demands and supply. This requires an understanding not only of market characteristics and trends but also of the planning process to meet the market needs.

Often tourists from core generating markets are identified as the demand side; the supply side includes all facilities, programs, attractions, and land uses designed and managed for the visitors. These supply-side factors may be under the control of private enterprises, non-profit organizations, and the government. New and innovative forms of partnerships are also evolving to ensure the sustainable development and management of tourism-related resources.

The supply and demand side can be seen to be linked by flows of resources such as capital, labor, goods, and tourist expenditures into the destination, and flows of marketing, promotion, tourist artifacts, and experiences from the destination back into the tourist generating region.

In addition, some tourist expenditures may leak back into the visitors generating areas through repatriation of profits of foreign tourism investors and payment for improved goods and services provided to tourists at the destination. Transportation provides an important linkage both to and from the destination.

For planning purposes, the major components that comprise the supply side are:

  • Various modes of transportation and other tourism-related infrastructure.
  • Tourist information.
  • Marketing and promotion.
  • The community of communities within the visitor’s destination area.
  • The political and institutional frameworks for enabling tourism.

The tourism system is both dynamic and complex due to many factors linked to it and because of the existence of many sectors contributing to its success. These factors and sectors are linked to the provision of the tourist experience and the generation of tourism revenue and markets.

The dynamic nature of the tourism system makes it imperative to scan the external and internal environment of the destinations on a regular basis so as to make changes when necessary to ensure a healthy and viable tourism industry.

Thus, it is now an accepted fact that tourism development can no longer work in isolation of the environment and the local communities, nor can it ignore the social and cultural consequences of tourism.

Importance of Tourism

Tourism and hospitality , which are inextricably linked to each other, are among the major revenue-earning enterprises in the world. They happen to be among the top employers too. There has been an upmarket trend in tourism over the last few decades as travel has become quite common. People travel for business, vacation, pleasure, adventure, or even medical treatments.

Tourism constitutes an important industry today. It has opened up new vistas for the play of economic emancipation. It provides a very potent contribution by strengthening and developing the financial resources of a country. Moreover, it is a process in which mutual material and mental benefits occur. Furthermore,

  • Tourism fetches foreign exchange in the form of invisible exports, which results in the manifold progress of the nation.
  • Tourism generates jobs. These employments are the main contribution of tourism to generating national income. But one should remember that employment in the tourism industry is often seasonal.
  • Tourism often leads to the commercialization of art forms and especially handicrafts. Art items with cultural or religious meaning are sought by tourists as souvenirs. As more and more tourists visit a destination, souvenir production has increased, often leading to mass production. This production also generates income.

Importance of Tourism

With several business-related activities associated with tourism, the industry has a tremendous potential to generate employment as well as earn foreign exchange. Many countries, such as Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, and the Caribbean, whose economies are primarily driven by tourism. Tourism can contribute to the economic growth of a country in the followings ways:

Employment Generation

It creates a large number of jobs among direct services providers (such as hotels , restaurants, travel agencies , tour operators , guide and tour escorts, etc.) and among indirect services providers (such as suppliers to the hotels and restaurants, supplementary accommodation, etc.)

Infrastructure Development

Tourism spurs infrastructure development. In order to become an important commercial or pleasure destination, any location would require all the necessary infrastructure, like good connectivity via rail, road, and air transport, adequate accommodation, restaurants, a well-developed telecommunication network, and, medical facilities, among others.

Foreign Exchange

The people who travel to other countries spend a large amount of money on accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, shopping, etc. Thus, an inbound tourist is an important source of foreign exchange for any country.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predict in 1997 that the twenty-first-century economy would be dominated by three industries: telecommunications, information technology, and tourism. The travel and tourism industry has grown by 500 percent in the last 25 years.

Now withstanding this bright outlook and prospects, the tourism and hospitality industries are very vulnerable to the fluctuations of national economies and happenings in the world, especially terrorist attacks that have at times dealt severe blows to business.

In recent years, there have been a few setbacks in tourism, such as the terrorist siege of the Taj and Oberoi in Mumbai, India (26 November 2008); the attack on the World Trade Centre in the United States of America (11 September 2001); bombing in a hotel on the Indonesian island of Bali (12 October 2002); tsunami in Southeast Asia and South Asia on 26 December 2004, in which thousands of the lives where lost and consequently tourism was hit. Nonetheless, the sector is now getting back to business.

Impacts of Tourism

Tourism is a multi-dimensional activity. The scope of tourism activities is so wide and varied that it cannot be restricted to any particular field of activity. Tourism has ramifications in almost all sectors and is influenced by the performance of each of these sectors directly or indirectly. Tourism in any country can be an apt reflection of the nation’s economic and social endowment apart from its natural wealth.

Tourism has vast potential to bring about changes in the country’s economic, environmental, societal, and cultural edifice. Tourism has two basics: the supply of facilities and the demand for participation. The twin market forces of supply and demand interact to produce tourism patterns. These patterns are associated with economic, social, cultural, environmental, and ecological impacts.

Impact of Tourism

Establishing or developing a tourism industry involves expenditure, gains, costs, and benefits. If these impacts are considered from the outset of planning, strengths and opportunities can be maximized while weaknesses and threats can be minimized.

Each destination will be different in terms of tourism characteristics . The cost and benefits of tourism will vary in each destination and can change over time, depending on tourism and other activities in a destination’s local and regional context.

Economic Impacts

Tourism activities impact the economy of the country as well as the local economy of the destination.

Economics Benefits

  • Tourism generates local employment, directly in the tourism sector and in the support and resource management sectors.
  • Tourism stimulates profitable domestic industries, hotels and other lodging facilities, restaurants and food services, transportation systems, handicrafts, and guide services.
  • Tourism generates foreign exchange for the country and injects capital and new money into the local economy.
  • Tourism helps to diversify the local economy.
  • Improved tourism infrastructure.
  • Increase tax revenues from tourism.

Economic Costs

  • Higher demand created by tourism activity may increase the price of land, housing, and a range of commodities necessary for daily life.
  • Demands for health services provision and police service increase during the tourist seasons at the expense of the local tax base.

Social Impacts

Tourism also affects the society of the destination in good as well as bad ways. It benefits and costs the local communities.

Social Benefits

  • The quality of a community can be enhanced by economic diversification through tourism.
  • Recreational and cultural facilities created for tourism can be used by local communities as well as domestic/international visitors.
  • Public space may be developed and enhanced through tourism activity.
  • Tourism Enhances the local community’s esteem and provides an opportunity for greater understanding and communication among people of diverse backgrounds.

Social Costs

  • Rapid tourism growth can result in the inability of local amenities and institutions to meet service demands.
  • Without proper planning and management, litter, vandalism, and crime often accompany tourism development.
  • Tourism can bring overcrowding and traffic congestion.
  • Visitors bring with them material wealth and apparent freedom. The youths of the host community are particularly susceptible to the economic expectations these tourists bring which can result in complete disruption of traditional community ways of life.
  • The community structure may change, e.g. community bonds, demographics, and institutions.
  • The authenticity of the social and cultural environment can be changed to meet tourism demands.

Cultural Impacts

Tourism activities also affect the culture of the host country. There are many positive and negative cultural impacts of tourism.

Cultural Benefits

  • Tourism can enhance local cultural awareness.
  • Tourism can generate revenue to help pay for the preservation of archaeological sites, historic buildings, and districts.
  • Despite criticism about the alteration of cultures to unacceptable levels, the sharing of cultural knowledge and experience can be beneficial for hosts and guests of tourism destinations and can result in the revival of local traditions and crafts.

Cultural Costs

  • Youth in the community begin to emulate the speech and attire of tourists.
  • Historic sites can be damaged through tourism development and pressures.
  • There can be long-term damage to cultural traditions and the erosion of cultural values, resulting in cultural change beyond a level acceptable to the host destination.

Environmental Impact

Tourism impacts the environment in positive as well as negative ways. These impacts are following below.

Environmental Benefits

  • Parks and nature preserves may be created and ecological preservation supported as a necessity for nature-based tourism.
  • Improved waste management can be achieved.
  • Increased awareness and concern for the environment can result from nature-based tourism activities and development.

Environmental Costs

  • A negative change in the physical integrity of the area.
  • Rapid development, over-development, and overcrowding can forever change the physical environment and ecosystems of an area.
  • Degradation of parks and preserves.

Industries Related To Tourism

Over the years, tourism has become a popular global activity. Depending upon the nature and purpose of their travel, tourists, need and demand certain facilities and services. This has given rise to a wide range of commercial activities that have acquired industry proportions. Thus travel and tourism nowadays represent a broad range of related industries.

Hotels are a commercial establishment that provides accommodation, meals, and other guest services. In the travel and tourism industry, the hotel industry plays a very significant role, as all tourists need a place to stay at their destinations, and require many more services and facilities to suit their specific needs and tastes.


Restaurants are retail establishments that serve prepared food and beverages to customers. In the travel and tourism industry, restaurants and other food and beverage outlets are very important as tourists like to experiment with the local cuisines of the places they are visiting.

Retail and Shopping

The retail industry is very important as tourists shop for their day-to-day necessities as well as look for mementos and souvenirs. In recent years, some cities in the world have been promoted as shopping destinations to attract people with a penchant for shopping by offering various products, such as garments, electronic goods, jewelry, and antiques. New York, Paris, London, and Milan in Italy are famous as fashion havens of the world.


It is the movement of people and goods from one place to another. A well-developed transport industry, as well as infrastructure, is integral to the success of any travel and tourism enterprise.

Travel Agencies

A travel agency is a retailing business that sells travel-related products and services, particularly package tours, to customers on the behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise liners, hotels, railways, and sightseeing.

Travel agencies play a very important role as they plan out the itinerary of their clients and make the necessary arrangements for their travel, stay, and sightseeing, besides facilitating their passport, visa, etc.

Tour Operators

A tour operator assembles the various elements of a tour. It typically combines tour and travel components to create a holiday. Tour operators play an important role in the travel and tourism industry.

Tourist Destinations

A tourist attraction is a place of interest for tourists, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, nature or building beauty or amusement opportunities. These are the basic fundamentals of the tourism industry.

Cultural Industries

Cultural or creative industries are responsible for the creation, production, and distribution of goods and services that are cultural in nature and usually protected by intellectual property rights. As tourists like to visit places of cultural significance and soak in the culture of the area, the cultural industry is very important to travel and tourism.

Leisure, Recreation, and Sport

Leisure or free time is a period of time spent out of work and essential domestic activity. Recreation or fun is spending time in a manner designed for therapeutic refreshment of the body or mind. While leisure is more like a form of entertainment or rest, recreation requires active participation in a refreshing and diverting manner.

As people in the world’s wealthier regions lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, the need for recreation has increased. These play a significant role in the travel and tourism sector.

Tourism Products

A tourism/tourist product can be defined as the sum of the physical and psychological satisfaction it provides to tourists, during their ‘traveling and sojourn’ en route at the destinations.

Since the travel and tourism industry is an agglomeration of too many sectors that promote travel-related services. These sectors are referred to as travel vendors and their services and goods are called ‘travel products’. A tourism product includes five main components such as physical plant, services, hospitality, freedom of choice, and a sense of involvement.

Thus, whatever the natural and man-made resources and services brought about the consumption of tourists are called tourism products .

Charecterstatics Of Tourism Products

By now, you must have understood what a tourism product is. Now let us look at some of its characteristics:-

1) Intangible : Tourism is an intangible product means tourism is such a kind of product that can not be touched or seen and there is no transfer of ownership, But the facilities are available for a specified time and for a specified use. For e.g. a room in the hotel is available for a specified time.

2) Psychological : The main motive to purchase a tourism products is to satisfy the psychological need after using the product, by getting an experience while interacting with a new environment. And experiences also motivate others to purchase that product.

3) Highly Perishable : Tourism product is highly perishable in nature means one can not store the product for a long time. Production and consumption take place while a tourist is available. If the product remains unused, the chances are lost i.e. if tourists do not purchase it.

A travel agent or tour operator who sells a tourism product cannot store it. Production can only take place if the customer is actually present. And once consumption begins, it cannot be stopped, interrupted, or modified. If the product remains unused, the chances are lost i.e. if tourists do not visit a particular place, the opportunity at that time is lost. It is due to tourism reason that heavy discount is offered by hotels and transport-generating organizations during the offseason.

4) Composite Product : Tourist product is a combination of different products. It has not a single entity in itself. In the experience of a visit to a particular place, various service providers contribute like transportation The tourist product cannot be provided by a single enterprise, unlike a manufactured product.

The tourist product covers the complete experience of a visit to a particular place. And many providers contribute to the tourism experience. For instance, the airline supplies seats, a hotel provides rooms and restaurants, travel agents make bookings for stay and sightseeing, etc.

5) Unstable Demand : Tourism demand is influenced by seasonal, economic political, and other factors. There are certain times of the year that see greater demand than others. At these times there is a greater strain on services like hotel bookings, employment, the transport system, etc.

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Definition of tourism

Examples of tourism in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tourism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Dictionary Entries Near tourism

touring car

Cite this Entry

“Tourism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tourism. Accessed 5 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

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Chapter 3. What is Tourism? Definitions, Theoretical Phases and Principles

From the book philosophical issues in tourism.

  • Alexandre Panosso Netto

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Philosophical Issues in Tourism

Chapters in this book (19)

UN Tourism | Bringing the world closer

Tourism and Culture

Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility

  • Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
  • Accessible Tourism

Tourism and Culture

  • Women’s Empowerment and Tourism

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The convergence between tourism and culture, and the increasing interest of visitors in cultural experiences, bring unique opportunities but also complex challenges for the tourism sector.

“Tourism policies and activities should be conducted with respect for the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage, which they should protect and pass on to future generations; particular care should be devoted to preserving monuments, worship sites, archaeological and historic sites as well as upgrading museums which must be widely open and accessible to tourism visits”  UN Tourism Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics Article 7, paragraph 2

This webpage provides UN Tourism resources aimed at strengthening the dialogue between tourism and culture and an informed decision-making in the sphere of cultural tourism. It also promotes the exchange of good practices showcasing inclusive management systems and innovative cultural tourism experiences .  


According to the definition adopted by the UN Tourism General Assembly, at its 22nd session (2017), Cultural Tourism implies “A type of tourism activity in which the visitor’s essential motivation is to learn, discover, experience and consume the tangible and intangible cultural attractions/products in a tourism destination. These attractions/products relate to a set of distinctive material, intellectual, spiritual and emotional features of a society that encompasses arts and architecture, historical and cultural heritage, culinary heritage, literature, music, creative industries and the living cultures with their lifestyles, value systems, beliefs and traditions”. UN Tourism provides support to its members in strengthening cultural tourism policy frameworks, strategies and product development . It also provides guidelines for the tourism sector in adopting policies and governance models that benefit all stakeholders, while promoting and preserving cultural elements.


UN Tourism , Fundación ONCE and UNE issued in September 2023, a set of guidelines targeting key players of the cultural tourism ecosystem, who wish to make their offerings more accessible.   The key partners in the drafting and expert review process were the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) . The ICOMOS experts’ input was key in covering crucial action areas where accessibility needs to be put in the spotlight, in order to make cultural experiences more inclusive for all people.   This guidance tool is also framed within the promotion of the ISO Standard ISO 21902 , in whose development UN Tourism had one of the leading roles. 

Download here the English and Spanish version of the Recommendations.   


The first UN Tourism Compendium of Good Practices in Indigenous Tourism – Regional Focus on the Americas , co-produced with the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) , was released in March 2023. The report is primarily meant to showcase good practices championed by indigenous leaders and associations from the Region. However, it also includes a conceptual introduction to different aspects of planning, management and promotion of a responsible and sustainable indigenous tourism development. The compendium also sets forward a series of recommendations targeting public administrations, as well as a list of tips promoting a responsible conduct of tourists who decide to visit indigenous communities. For downloads, please visit the UN Tourism E-library page: Download in English - Download in Spanish .

Weaving the Recovery - Indigenous Women in Tourism

tourism definition and concept

This initiative, which gathers UN Tourism , t he World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) , Centro de las Artes Indígenas (CAI) and the NGO IMPACTO , was selected as one of the ten most promising projects amoung 850+ initiatives to address the most pressing global challenges. The project will test different methodologies in pilot communities, starting with Mexico , to enable indigenous women access markets and demonstrate their leadership in the post-COVID recovery.

This empowerment model , based on promoting a responsible tourism development, cultural transmission and fair-trade principles, will represent a novel community approach with a high global replication potential.

Click here to visit the project webpage.  

Inclusive recovery of cultural tourism.

tourism definition and concept

The release of the guidelines comes within the context of the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021 , a UN initiative designed to recognize how culture and creativity, including cultural tourism, can contribute to advancing the SDGs.  

UN Tourism Inclusive Recovery Guide, Issue 4: Indigenous Communities

tourism definition and concept

Sustainable Development of Indigenous Tourism

The Recommendations on Sustainable Development of Indigenous Tourism provide guidance to tourism stakeholders to develop their operations in a responsible and sustainable manner within those indigenous communities that wish to:

  • Open up to tourism development, or
  • Improve the management of the existing tourism experiences within their communities.

They were prepared by the UN Tourism Ethics, Culture and Social Responsibility Department in close consultation with indigenous tourism associations, indigenous entrepreneurs and advocates. The Recommendations were endorsed by the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and finally adopted by the UN Tourism General Assembly in 2019, as a landmark document of the Organization in this sphere.

Who are these Recommendations targeting?

  • Tour operators and travel agencies
  • Tour guides
  • Indigenous communities
  • Other stakeholders such as governments, policy makers and destinations

The Recommendations address some of the key questions regarding indigenous tourism:

indigenous entrepreneurs and advocates

UN Tourism/UNESCO World Conferences on Tourism and Culture

The UN Tourism/UNESCO World Conferences on Tourism and Culture bring together Ministers of Tourism and Ministers of Culture with the objective to identify key opportunities and challenges for a stronger cooperation between these highly interlinked fields. Gathering tourism and culture stakeholders from all world regions the conferences which have been hosted by Cambodia, Oman, Turkey and Japan have addressed a wide range of topics, including governance models, the promotion, protection and safeguarding of culture, innovation, the role of creative industries and urban regeneration as a vehicle for sustainable development in destinations worldwide.

Fourth UN Tourism/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture: Investing in future generations. Kyoto, Japan. 12-13 December 2019

Kyoto Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Investing in future generations ( English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Japanese )

Third UN Tourism/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture : For the Benefit of All. Istanbul, Turkey. 3 -5 December 2018

Istanbul Declaration on Tourism and Culture: For the Benefit of All

( English , French , Spanish , Arabic , Russian )

Second UN Tourism/UNESCO World Conference’s on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development. Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. 11-12 December 2017

Muscat Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development

First UN Tourism/UNESCO World Conference’s on Tourism and Culture: Building a new partnership. Siem Reap, Cambodia. 4-6 February 2015

Siem Reap Declaration on Tourism and Culture – Building a New Partnership Model

( English )  

UN Tourism Study on Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage  

The first UN Tourism Study on Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage provides comprehensive baseline research on the interlinkages between tourism and the expressions and skills that make up humanity’s intangible cultural heritage (ICH). 

UNWTO Study on Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Through a compendium of case studies drawn from across five continents, the report offers in-depth information on, and analysis of, government-led actions, public-private partnerships and community initiatives.

These practical examples feature tourism development projects related to six pivotal areas of ICH: handicrafts and the visual arts; gastronomy; social practices, rituals and festive events; music and the performing arts; oral traditions and expressions; and, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.

Highlighting innovative forms of policy-making, the UN Tourism Study on Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage recommends specific actions for stakeholders to foster the sustainable and responsible development of tourism by incorporating and safeguarding intangible cultural assets.

Download PDF:

  • Recommendations on Sustainable Development of Indigenous Tourism
  • Recomendaciones sobre el desarrollo sostenible del turismo indígena, ESP

UN Tourism Study on Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • UN Tourism Study
  • Summary of the Study

Studies and research on tourism and culture commissioned by UN Tourism

  • Tourism and Culture Synergies, 2018
  • UN Tourism Study on Tourism and Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2012

Relevant Links

  • EVENTS on Cultural Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage

*Definition based on the 2003 UNESCO convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage Photo credit of the Summary's cover page:  www.banglanatak.com

Sustainable tourism

Related sdgs, promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable ....

tourism definition and concept



Tourism is one of the world's fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment, while being closely linked to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of many countries, especially developing countries. Maritime or ocean-related tourism, as well as coastal tourism, are for example vital sectors of the economy in small island developing States (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries (LDCs) (see also: The Potential of the Blue Economy report as well as the Community of Ocean Action on sustainable blue economy).

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities".

Based on General assembly resolution 70/193, 2017 was declared as the  International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development SDG target 8.9, aims to “by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. The importance of sustainable tourism is also highlighted in SDG target 12.b. which aims to “develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”.

Tourism is also identified as one of the tools to “by 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries” as comprised in SDG target 14.7.

In the Rio+20 outcome document The Future We want, sustainable tourism is defined by paragraph 130 as a significant contributor “to the three dimensions of sustainable development” thanks to its close linkages to other sectors and its ability to create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. Therefore, Member States recognize “the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities by supporting their local economies and the human and natural environment as a whole. ” In paragraph 130, Member States also “call for enhanced support for sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building in developing countries in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development”.

In paragraph 131, Member States “encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small- and medium-sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential”. In this regard, Member States also “underline the importance of establishing, where necessary, appropriate guidelines and regulations in accordance with national priorities and legislation for promoting and supporting sustainable tourism”.

In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg called for the promotion of sustainable tourism development, including non-consumptive and eco-tourism, in Chapter IV, paragraph 43 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

At the Johannesburg Summit, the launch of the “Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) initiative was announced. The initiative was inaugurated by the World Tourism Organization, in collaboration with UNCTAD, in order to develop sustainable tourism as a force for poverty alleviation.

The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) last reviewed the issue of sustainable tourism in 2001, when it was acting as the Preparatory Committee for the Johannesburg Summit.

The importance of sustainable tourism was also mentioned in Agenda 21.

For more information and documents on this topic,  please visit this link

UNWTO Annual Report 2015

2015 was a landmark year for the global community. In September, the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal agenda for planet and people. Among the 17 SDGs and 169 associated targets, tourism is explicitly featured in Goa...

UNWTO Annual Report 2016

In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This is a unique opportunity to devote a year to activities that promote the transformational power of tourism to help us reach a better future. This important cele...

Emerging Issues for Small Island Developing States

The 2012 UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Global Environmental Issues primarily identified emerging environmental issues and possible solutions on a global scale and perspective. In 2013, UNEP carried out a similar exercise to identify priority emerging environmental issues that are of concern to ...

Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom, We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for su...

15 Years of the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection: A Compilation of Good Practices

Although it is widely recognized that tourism is not the cause of child exploitation, it can aggravate the problem when parts of its infrastructure, such as transport networks and accommodation facilities, are exploited by child abusers for nefarious ends. Additionally, many other factors that contr...

Towards Measuring the Economic Value of Wildlife Watching Tourism in Africa

Set against the backdrop of the ongoing poaching crisis driven by a dramatic increase in the illicit trade in wildlife products, this briefing paper intends to support the ongoing efforts of African governments and the broader international community in the fight against poaching. Specifically, this...

Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012

Previous Caribbean assessments lumped data together into a single database regardless of geographic location, reef environment, depth, oceanographic conditions, etc. Data from shallow lagoons and back reef environments were combined with data from deep fore-reef environments and atolls. Geographic c...

Natural Resources Forum: Special Issue Tourism

The journal considers papers on all topics relevant to sustainable development. In addition, it dedicates series, issues and special sections to specific themes that are relevant to the current discussions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)....

Thailand: Supporting Sustainable Development in Thailand: A Geographic Clusters Approach

Market forces and government policies, including the Tenth National Development Plan (2007-2012), are moving Thailand toward a more geographically specialized economy. There is a growing consensus that Thailand’s comparative and competitive advantages lie in amenity services that have high reliance...

Road Map on Building a Green Economy for Sustainable Development in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Grenada

This publication is the product of an international study led by the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs and the Ministry of Environment, Foreig...

Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal (NRF)

  Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal, seeks to address gaps in current knowledge and stimulate relevant policy discussions, leading to the implementation of the sustainable development agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable...

UN Ocean Conference 2025

Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility “The ocean is fundamental to life on our planet and to our future. The ocean is an important source of the planet’s biodiversity and plays a vital role in the climate system and water cycle. The ocean provides a range of ecosystem services, supplies us with

UN Ocean Conference 2022

The UN Ocean Conference 2022, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, came at a critical time as the world was strengthening its efforts to mobilize, create and drive solutions to realize the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

58th Session of the Commission for Social Development – CSocD58

22nd general assembly of the united nations world tourism organization, world tourism day 2017 official celebration.

This year’s World Tourism Day, held on 27 September, will be focused on Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development. Celebrated in line with the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Day will be dedicated to exploring the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Deve

World Tourism Day 2016 Official Celebration

Accessible Tourism for all is about the creation of environments that can cater for the needs of all of us, whether we are traveling or staying at home. May that be due to a disability, even temporary, families with small children, or the ageing population, at some point in our lives, sooner or late

4th Global Summit on City Tourism

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Regional Council for Tourism of Marrakesh with support of the Government of Morroco are organizing the 4th Global Summit on City Tourism in Marrakesh, Morroco (9-10 December 2015). International experts in city tourism, representatives of city DMOs, of

2nd Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Ulsan Metropolitan City with support of the Government of the Republic of Korea are organizing the 2nd Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference, in Ulsan, Republic of Korea (14 - 16 October 2015). Under the title “Paving the Way for a Bright Future for Mounta

21st General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization

Unwto regional conference enhancing brand africa - fostering tourism development.

Tourism is one of the Africa’s most promising sectors in terms of development, and represents a major opportunity to foster inclusive development, increase the region’s participation in the global economy and generate revenues for investment in other activities, including environmental preservation.

  • January 2017 International Year of Tourism In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to the SDGs.
  • January 2015 Targets 8.9, 12 b,14.7 The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits Member States, through Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.9 to “devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. The importance of sustainable tourism, as a driver for jobs creation and the promotion of local culture and products, is also highlighted in Sustainable Development Goal target 12.b. Tourism is also identified as one of the tools to “increase [by 2030] the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries”, through Sustainable Development Goals Target 14.7.
  • January 2012 Future We Want (Para 130-131) Sustainable tourism is defined as a significant contributor “to the three dimensions of sustainable development” thanks to its close linkages to other sectors and its ability to create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. Therefore, Member States recognize “the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities” as well as to “encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small and medium sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential”.
  • January 2009 Roadmap for Recovery UNWTO announced in March 2009 the elaboration of a Roadmap for Recovery to be finalized by UNWTO’s General Assembly, based on seven action points. The Roadmap includes a set of 15 recommendations based on three interlocking action areas: resilience, stimulus, green economy aimed at supporting the tourism sector and the global economy.
  • January 2008 Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria represent the minimum requirements any tourism business should observe in order to ensure preservation and respect of the natural and cultural resources and make sure at the same time that tourism potential as tool for poverty alleviation is enforced. The Criteria are 41 and distributed into four different categories: 1) sustainability management, 2) social and economic 3) cultural 4) environmental.
  • January 2003 WTO becomes a UN specialized body By Resolution 453 (XV), the Assembly agreed on the transformation of the WTO into a United Nations specialized body. Such transformation was later ratified by the United Nations General Assembly with the adoption of Resolution A/RES/58/232.
  • January 2003 1st Int. Conf. on Climate Change and Tourism The conference was organized in order to gather tourism authorities, organizations, businesses and scientists to discuss on the impact that climate change can have on the tourist sector. The event took place from 9 till 11 April 2003 in Djerba, Tunisia.
  • January 2002 World Ecotourism Summit Held in May 2002, in Quebec City, Canada, the Summit represented the most important event in the framework of the International Year of Ecosystem. The Summit identified as main themes: ecotourism policy and planning, regulation of ecotourism, product development, marketing and promotion of ecotourism and monitoring costs and benefits of ecotourism.
  • January 1985 Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code At the World Tourism Organization Sixth Assembly held in Sofia in 1985, the Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code were adopted, setting out the rights and duties of tourists and host populations and formulating policies and action for implementation by states and the tourist industry.
  • January 1982 Acapulco Document Adopted in 1982, the Acapulco Document acknowledges the new dimension and role of tourism as a positive instrument towards the improvement of the quality of life for all peoples, as well as a significant force for peace and international understanding. The Acapulco Document also urges Member States to elaborate their policies, plans and programmes on tourism, in accordance with their national priorities and within the framework of the programme of work of the World Tourism Organization.

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tourism definition and concept

Define what Tourism is & understand its meaning with examples

Best ways to understand tourism meaning & define it.

Tourism is such an interesting and thrill filled activity which we have either done or would love to do. It is also very interesting to know as it means and covers much more than what we already know about it or what picture our mind makes when we think up about tourism. Knowing it helps in understanding its nature. Do you also know or ever thought about if tourism has products or if it has then what are they? Read on to know this and more about tourism.

importance of tourism industry and its value and benefits

Answers to help you understand What is Tourism

This is one subject or activity which has lot more than what comes to your mind when asked about it and this is tourism. Yes, pictures have probably already started forming in your mind even before we asked you what tourism is or how is it defined, as most or all of us have done it. Let us call it tourisming or touristing . Yet, it requires more than the doing to properly understand tourism meaning, definition and then go on to understand all its dynamics including its nature and types of tourism. Tourism is actually a concept. So, let us look at it again, little more in depth.

How to understand what is tourism concept with its meaning and definitions

There are few things we do or love to do and those involve travelling away to somewhere. We love some place due to its beauty, nature, facilities, etc., and love to go there often; we love exploring new places to regularly visit; we want to spend holiday, off days, weekends, etc. at some place other than our home, or some place that is quite and nice; or we just love to go places or just go out somewhere. Does this sound something similar? Does this bring some memories or the actual activities or things that you do often or even occasionally? Right, this is what we know of as tourism.

The word tourism is all too familiar to all of us, we know what it means. Just the mention of this name would bring so many images (which you already have created) of beautiful places, natures, beaches, cities, travel and fun. But we may have to think little hard than this when asked how to define tourism. Or what is tourism? The two basic things we all know about it is that it is travelling and visiting a new place or a place away from your home. If you thought this then you summed it up quite alright.

Tourism Contept

Tourism is a concept actually . It is an idea or notion. Tourism is generally or basically what we know as travel , yet it is much more than that. Tourism is a very particular or rather few specific ways of travelling.

Tourism is a concept of travelling. It means and covers travelling for different but specifically defined purposes.

Did you also knew that travelling also a distance factor?

What that means is that if you have not travelled a particular or minimum distance than it will not be considered as tourism. Many countries have or had their own minimum distance covered criteria to define what is tourism .

This makes tourism a concept . Let us now understand in detail what is tourism definition and its meaning.

Tourism Definition

Tourism as defined by unwto.

The word or activity of tourism as defined by The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) goes like this, "Tourism comprises the activities of persons traveling to, and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes."

Let us elaborate this tourism definition a little bit now. How this definition relates to what we thought about it. First, tourism is travelling for the purposes of leisure, business or any other. Broadly the objective can be summed as either leisure or business. Second, it is going to and staying in places which are outside of one's usual environment. The environment mentioned here means the place of usual stay of a tourist which is their home town, city or country. In case of domestic tourism the environment would be their home town or city and in case of international tourism it would be the country they live in.

The third important factor is the period. If one goes to another city or country and stays there for a longer period then it does not count as tourism. The fourth thing we can add here is tourism is volunteer and self-motivated in nature and not a paid stay. And travel is the essential part of tourism.

Simple Definition of Tourism - How we define & describe Tourism

What is tourism in very simple words?

A very simple definition of tourism is that tourism means travelling to a distant place or for some purpose or both.

Most people understand tourism as simply travelling for fun. That fun is an objective. And if we look at the various types of tourism then there are plenty of objectives, and not all are fun. The two main and broad distinction and types of tourism are leisure tourism and business tourism.

Therefore we define tourism in simple words as travelling which is for some purpose or to a place or both. We believe this simplest definition of tourism covers every type of tourism or every type of travel which is for tourism. This plain and simple tourism definition also indirectly covers or highlights the one key feature of tourism which is that tourism is not a routine or a pure work travel.

Tourism meaning - understanding what is tourism

Tourism is purpose oriented travel - Tourism is more than just travel

Tourism can also be called or referred to as purposeful travel

You can plan to go to some place just to avoid being at your home place on holidays or vacations and still do what largely is defined as tourism above. This is one of the types of tourism and you can specifically call it as vacationing or holidaying. We did not coin these terms. To know the holidaying or vacationing meaning refer to these sentences:

I was vacationing in Europe with my family

vacationing meaning

He is holidaying in Italy

holidaying meaning

Meaning of Tourism - understanding tourism with an example

Let us take example of those above terms to explain little more clearly, what is tourism and what tourism means.

Let's say that you are going to have holidays, vacations or perhaps a long weekend and you plan to spend it somewhere else and have fun, and not just sit at home all those days. Will you go to a nearby hotel and stay there and go to your usual markets for shopping? Would that mean spending holidays differently than your regular days? Would that bring any fun? Would you be excited to go there and when you come back will you be able to say that you spent your holidays well enough and not like your usual days? NO!

So, the first thing tourism means usually going to some tourist place. It also means going to a place away from your home because then the place creates interest for you and you become a tourist at that place and for people staying there. You are not a tourist at your place of stay or the in your nearby shopping markets.

What you do next?

You plan to go to a tourist place. A place which you have not seen probably and where you can plan to do exciting things. So, you select a place which has something exciting thing or activity to offer, plan your trip, book travel and hotel tickets, reach there, go to those planned destinations, do fun things, may be go to local markets for shopping (you are a tourist here & these are not your local markets), take pictures, eat food, see more places and come back.

This is spending your vacations well, this is vacationing or holidaying. And more importantly.

This is what tourism means.

Tourism means travelling to a different place for various purposes. It is the complete activity of travelling to a place, for some activity and staying there for some time as required by the purpose of travelling and the activity for which you are going for.

These purposes or reasons for tourism are what make tourism huge and wide and these can be leisure, holidaying, friends & family, health or wellness, culture or even religion, and many other like these. These are all types of travel or tourism, which we will list out and explain below.

For example, travelling for leisure is called as leisure tourism, travelling for business purposes is business tourism, and travelling to a different city or country to meet friends or relatives is what is categorized in and as other tourism.

There are three things which can be observed here about tourism and which create the basis of tourism definition and understanding. And these you can notice in the types of tourism above or the list of tourism types which we will mention below. These are, it is volunteer, not paid for and not is not too short or too long or like permanent.

Travel and Tourism or Tourism via travel - another way to understand - tourism meaning and definition

More often than not we refer to tourism as travel. BUT IT IS NOT!

Tourism is often referred to as travel, like you plan for travel abroad and not tourism, or you ask what is your travel plan this year and not what is your tourism plan, so on and so forth. Isn't it? Travel has two meanings, one as the synonym of and more preferred and easy way for tourism and tourism activities; and other as it actually means, going from one place to another.

Travel derives a totally different meaning for tourism. For a travel to be justified as tourism it should mean and include all the things and activities as mentioned in the definition. This can be understood in a little better way by looking at the vacationing meaning again, here. Here is the image again for you.

vacationing means tourism

Look at the (orange) underlined words. They are - be on holiday; and travel, tour, stay, & visit. All these refer to vacationing which is the act of being on vacations or holidays. Being means a continuous state which will necessarily involve being somewhere or some place for some time in continuity. And being on vacations is a type of tourism, and it involves all the underlined words or includes these words in its meaning.

Hence, a travel to be termed as tourism needs to mean and include the activities mentioned above. This is again a way to see, understand and define tourism. So, tourism means and includes tour (involving tourism activities), travel (to a place), visit to a place, being somewhere, and stay, in this order preferably.

So, tourism which is often referred to as travel, which starts with travelling and is basically a travelling activity, is actually much more than just a travel. We would like to point out few of our own differences between tourism and travel which will bring little more clarity about tourism.

Tourism means:

  • Travel which is not a routine trip of any kind
  • Travel which not just involves local transportation
  • Travel which usually uses more than local and inter city or inter country transportation
  • Travel which usually involves a stay
  • Travel which is volunteer totally or at least partially
  • Travel which ends at the source of travel which is home place

The other side of tourism to understand

Tourism is an activity. It is a set of many activities that we do for some specific purposes. Tourism as a set of activities involves travel and many other activities. Travel is the essential part. All these activities, other than travel, makes up tourism.

These activities are very important to understand what is tourism and play very important role in defining what is tourism.

So, tourism basically is based upon travelling and a destination, and also the purpose or reason for travelling. The other activities it generally involves are planning, transportation, staying, food, and few other things.

Since, there are or has to be these activities to make tourism, this gives tourism the other angle. That is the commercial angle to tourism and specifically to the activities that tourism covers. All these activities and their commercial side is covered and explained as tourism industry .

Tourism and all these activities within it make tourism important for economy, society and for the entire socio-economic infrastructure of every country and its growth. Tourism helps create huge demand for economic activities and a need for social & infrastructure improvements. You can read the 5 importance of tourism here.

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What is a tourist? Tourist definition

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What is a tourist? How you define the term tourist? Is there a widely accepted tourist definition?

When we are and are not tourists is not always clear. Am I a tourist when I travel one hour on the train to London for the afternoon? Am I a tourist when I stay with my Grandma in Scotland for a week? The problem is, that there is no clear answer to these questions.

In this article I will attempt to answer the question ‘what is a tourist’ by providing you with some definitions of the term tourism, alongside some thought-provoking connotations.

What is tourism?

What is a tourist, am i a tourist or a traveller, tourist definition, what is a tourist to conclude.

If we want to understand what a tourist is, first we need to fully comprehend the concept of tourism.

As I explain in my article discussing the definitions of tourism , tourism is a term that has no universally accepted definition. Tourism is the generic term used to cover both demand and supply that has been adopted in a variety of forms and used throughout the world. 

Tourism essentially refers to the activities undertaken by visitors, also known as the visitor economy. The tourism industry encompasses all activity that takes place within the visitor economy. 

This includes activities that are directly related to the tourist, such as staying in a hotel, ordering a meal or visiting a tourist attraction. It also includes indirect activities, such as the transport company which delivers the food to the restaurant in which the tourist eats or the laundry company that has a contract with the hotel for cleaning bed sheets. 

It is largely due to the indirect contributions to tourism, that defining and measuring the tourism industry is so difficult!

Tourism comes in many different shapes and sizes and there are many different types of tourism . There is mass tourism , niche tourism and special interest tourism. There is domestic tourism and international tourism . There is inbound tourism and outbound tourism .

A tourist is a product of tourism. Tourists are the people who take part in tourist activities. Tourists are important stakeholders of tourism .

There are many factors that the average person associates with a tourist. I have listed a few of these below:

  • lying on a beach
  • drinking cocktails/beer/alcohol
  • visiting major tourist attractions
  • staying in a hotel
  • visiting a place with a different climate
  • packing a suitcase
  • flying on an aeroplane
  • getting a suntan

The United Nations prescribes that tourists need to stay away from their home environment for more than one night but less than one year in order to qualify as a tourist. This is the criteria that is often used and cited within the academic literature. But in reality, this is not a universal criterion at all.

In fact, it is actually somewhat problematic that there is no universal criteria for what constitutes a tourist. Lets look at an example. In 2020 tourism was all but decimated around the world due to the COVID pandemic. During the height of the pandemic in Europe and much of the rest of the world, China began to make claims that their domestic tourism industry was once again booming.

OK great. But the important question here is- what is a tourist? How did/do China, and other countries around the world, measure tourist numbers?

Is the person who lives in Shanghai a tourist when they go to The Bund for the afternoon? Are they a tourist when they take a day trip to Hangzhou? Are they a tourist when they go to stay with their aunty in Sanya ?

This is not by any means a Chinese issue. This is a global issue. How can we compare tourism numbers between two or more countries unless we have hard and fast rules about what is or isn’t a tourist? It makes no sense to me at all…

The issue is that there is no clear rule about who is a tourist and who is not a tourist. Yes, there are academic debates discussing tourist typologies (e.g. Leiper , Cohen, Urry, Uriely, Wickens), but these don’t answer the basic underlying question of who is a tourist.

Whilst he also doesn’t provide any definitive answers to this problem, McCabe’s paper offers a critical review of what is a tourist, underpinned by sociological debates and concepts. I want to keep it simple in this article, but if you want to take a more in-depth look, I recommend his paper. You can read the paper here .

In recent years there seems to be an absurd trend that has grown, where tourists have developed a bad reputation. Tourists are portrayed as second-class citizens. Tourists are lazy. Tourists are dumb.

And this isn’t limited to the general public, it exists within the academic community too. In the tourism literature, tourists are represented in an overwhelmingly negative light, and often in critical or sociological studies in deference to more ‘superior’ forms of travel- such as backpacking.

The tourist is bad and the traveller is good- that’s what you will read if you Google the question ‘am I a traveller or a tourist’.

Most claims to differentiate between the two state that travellers are good- kinder to the environment, think more, travel slowly (i.e. backpackers), engage in cultural tourism . Whereas tourists are associated negative connotations, such as enclave tourism , economic leakage in tourism , lazing around on the beach, being drunk, taking too many photographs.

In reality, this is all a load of absolute rubbish. Are these ‘travellers’ staying away from home for a period of time? Yes. Are they visiting areas for leisure or business? Yes. Are they visiting tourist attractions? Yes.

So the reality is that these self-acclaimed ‘travellers’ are in reality- tourists.

tourism definition and concept

What I suggest has happened here is that people have attempted to differentiate between different types of tourists , by coining the terms ‘traveller and tourist. But little do they know- the work has already been done, several times….

Within the academic community there have been many differentiations made between types of tourists. From Plog’s allocentric and psychocentric tourist typology to Cohen’s mass tourists, explorers and drifters, alongside many other studies examining tourist behaviours and motivations, clear differentiations between types of tourists have been made.

However, these typologies are not mainstream knowledge and outside of academia, most people will never have heard of this research. As such, the tourists themselves have taken it upon themselves to develop their own basic typology. The problem, however, is that they haven’t got it quite right- because in reality both classifications are indeed tourists.

what is a tourist. Tourist definition.

In response to the evident desire to differentiate between tourist types, I would like to propose that we re-name these classifications. Instead of the term traveller, we could use explorer and instead of the term tourist, we use holidaymaker. This way, we can acknowledge that both types of people are tourists, but they are not tourists in the same way.

It is evident that the definition of a tourist is unclear. This makes comparability and accurate measurement of the scale of the tourism industry difficult. Whilst there is an urgent call for a universal definition to be developed and utilised, I doubt this will happen any time soon, at least not on a global scale.

Until there is a universally accepted definition of a tourist, I will propose my own tourist definition as follows:

‘A tourist is a person who travels away from where they live to partake in leisure or business [tourism] activities for a specified period of time. Types of tourists vary and tourists can sit anywhere along the spectrum between allocentric explorers and mass organised holidaymakers.’

what is a tourist. Tourist definition.

We are all tourists at some time or another. Whether we take a trip to the seaside in our own country or whether we travel to the other side of the world to be volunteer tourists , there are many different types of tourism and many different types of tourists.

Do you have anything to add on the tourist definition debate? Please leave your remarks below!

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Revision of the gstc accreditation manual for certification of hotel/accommodation & tour operator v.4.0, gstc attraction criteria, 1st public consultation is now open, gstc criteria, the global sustainability standards in travel and tourism, gstc2024 global conference, royal djurgården, stockholm, sweden - april 23-26, what is sustainable tourism.

There are many terms that float around that may sound similar but actually refer to something distinct.

Definition of Sustainable Tourism

tourism definition and concept

Negative impacts to a destination include economic leakage, damage to the natural environment and overcrowding to name a few.

Positive impacts to a destination include job creation, cultural heritage preservation and interpretation, wildlife preservation landscape restoration, and more.

Sustainable tourism is defined by the UN Environment Program and UN World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

Additionally, they say that sustainable tourism “refers to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability” ( UNEP & UNWTO , 2005: 11-12. Making Tourism More Sustainable – A Guide for Policy Makers ).

Definition of Ecotourism

tourism definition and concept

Fennell described it as such: “Ecotourism is a sustainable form of natural resource-based tourism that focuses primarily on experiencing and learning about nature, and which is ethically managed to be low-impact, non-consumptive, and locally-oriented. It typically occurs in natural areas, and should contribute to the conservation or preservation of such areas” (Fennell, 1999: 43. Ecotourism: An Introduction ).

The  Mohonk Agreement (2000) , a proposal for international certification of Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism, saw ecotourism as “sustainable tourism with a natural area focus, which benefits the environment and communities visited, and fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation, and awareness.”

The ecotourism definition by the  Global Ecotourism Network (GEN) : “Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and creates knowledge and understanding through interpretation and education of all involved (visitors, staff and the visited).”

Definitions of Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel refers to the behavior of individual travelers aspiring to make choices according to sustainable tourism practices. The behaviors usually align with minimizing the negative impacts and maximizing positive ones when one visits a tourism destination.

Travelers that want to learn more about how to be a responsible traveler can visit the section on the GSTC website For Travelers .

Summary of the difference between Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism, and Responsible Travel

Ecotourism is a niche segment of tourism in natural areas.

Sustainable Tourism does not refer to a specific type of tourism, rather it is an aspiration for the impacts of all forms of tourism to be sustainable for generations to come.

Responsible Travel is a term referring to the behavior and style of individual travelers. The behaviors align with making a positive impact to the destination rather than negative ones.

Sustainable Tourism and the GSTC Criteria

tourism definition and concept

They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are categorized in four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; (D) Environmental impacts.

These standards were built on decades of prior work from industry experts around the globe. During the process of development, they were widely consulted in both developed and developing countries. They reflect our goal in attaining a global consensus on sustainable tourism.

The process of developing the Criteria was designed to adhere to the standards-setting code of the ISEAL Alliance. The ISEAL Alliance is the international body providing guidance for the management of sustainability standards in all sectors. That code is informed by relevant ISO standards .

Finally, the GSTC Criteria are the starting goals that businesses, governments, and destinations should achieve. Tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws. Therefore, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity.

There are two sets of Criteria

  • GSTC Industry Criteria = relates to the sustainable management of private sector travel industry, focusing currently on Hotels and Tour Operators.
  • GSTC Destination Criteria = relates to sustainable management of Tourism Destinations.

Learn more about Sustainable Tourism

Reading one article is not enough. The GSTC website offers those interested in learning more about sustainable tourism the needed resources. Make sure you visit the relevant pages for you:

  • For Hotels & Accommodations
  • For Tour Operators
  • For Governments & Destinations
  • For Corporate and Business Travel

You can also join one of the regular GSTC courses:

  • Want to gain in-depth knowledge of the GSTC Criteria and understand sustainable tourism? The GSTC Sustainable Tourism course is for you.
  • Engaged with corporate and business travel? The GSTC Sustainable Business Travel course is for you.
  • Are you a hotelier or work in the hospitality sector? GSTC Sustainable Hotel course

GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Schedule

✓ Gain in-depth knowledge of the GSTC Criteria, the global standard for sustainability in travel and tourism. ✓ Make informed decisions on how to implement sustainability practices for your company or destination. ✓ Get ready for developing viable and actionable sustainable tourism policies and practices for your organization

I’ve participated in the course to get a comprehensive overview of destination sustainability criteria. Much more than this, the course gave me the up-to-date analysis of current trends, and a huge number of relevant cases from the destinations, the industry networks and the service providers. I strongly recommend to attend the course.

tourism definition and concept

My course facilitator and teacher (Ayako and Antje) went above and beyond to answer our questions and provide us with additional resources. The course content (the GSTC Criteria) was delivered in an understandable and organized way. Learning the GSTC Criteria and how it applies to our own projects, businesses, and destinations is integral to anyone wanting to do any kind of work in the future centered around travel. I appreciated that the course was delivered in an interactive way over Zoom, and not just something we watched on YouTube. For me, being able to interact with fellow students from around the world, was a big plus. Was well worth it, and I highly recommend the course!

tourism definition and concept

This course has been very relevant and provides in-depth knowledge of GSTC criteria for sustainable practices for destinations as well as the travel industry [with] plenty of real life examples and share links to plenty of reading material throughout the course. … As we move forward during these difficult COVID times, learning our lessons on the damage to nature, it becomes all the more important for industry professionals to get trained and step up efforts to embrace sustainability in all aspects of tourism. Hence, I recommend this course to all industry professionals.

tourism definition and concept

This course enables participants to connect with the GSTC team directly, over an easy to use platform and network around the world. Using real life examples and detail in each of the 4 sections of the GSTC.

tourism definition and concept

The GSTC training was a great way to connect, network, and engage in mind-broadening and eye-opening discussions with others in the diverse field of sustainable tourism. I would highly recommend this as a starting point for anyone interested in the journey of regenerative and sustainable tourism.

tourism definition and concept

The course was great and the on- the-go discussions added great value to keep abreast of trends from across the globe. Participants from various parts of the world brought in their experiences and made the course very interesting.

tourism definition and concept

Hearing about actual destinations applying Sustainable Tourism initiatives and learning from real situations practicing Sustainable Tourism, as well as the related successes and challenges, was very informative and valuable. My favorite part was the unexpected camaraderie from and connections with the other participants. I genuinely enjoyed the online discussion, sharing of ideas, and breakout groups and, overall, meeting so many others who she a passion for Sustainable Tourism. Thank you, GSTC, for a great course!

tourism definition and concept

A complete holistic approach to sustainable tourism. The comprehensive lessons given each week break down the GSTC Criteria and are paired with practical examples, international experts and ‘hands on’ online workshops. The opportunity to discuss and share insights from all the participants around the world not only contributes to my own knowledge but to also my professional network. I highly recommend this course for anyone discovering sustainable tourism.

tourism definition and concept

The course is quick and handy way to immerse in the issues of Sustainability in Tourism and a great kick start in starting your own business or destination program. I could have had the course even longer and especially the live sessions were great to get to know some of the other participants and share their knowledge and experiences – best practices are the best way to get started and to get valuable information. Highly recommended!

tourism definition and concept

The course was so informative and presented in an engaging & interesting way. The examples & speakers gave us a lot to think about and many tangible ways that we can make a difference in our travel business. Thank you!

tourism definition and concept

This course has given me an approach to the GSTC Criteria, where the basic and complete structure to move forward on sustainable paths is visualized. The reflections generated through real examples, discussions and available material are key to better internalize what sustainability means. Ideas applicable to our business and our work area appear during the course that contribute positively to one’s reality. I will recommend this course, for its contribution to the objective, honest and constructive understanding of what sustainability is.

tourism definition and concept

I can only highly recommend the course for every travel and tourism professional- it is a great motivational boost to get into action and helps me support destinations in bringing the idea of destination stewardship – an inclusive and holistic approach – alive. We do not need more and more tourists, we need sustainable tourism.

tourism definition and concept

Taking the GSTC training at this point in time was extremely valuable. It gave me a sustainable tourism framework to help assess what I’ve been able to accomplish and also consider the role that sustainable experiential travel may mean as we begin to inch our way out of the world of zero tourism towards something likely new and different. One other great benefit of the training was starting to get acquainted and sharing with other participants and instructors from around the globe. These connections will be valuable for a very long time to come.

tourism definition and concept

I found this online course well structured and enjoyable. The trainers are really inspiring, extremely knowledgeable about the field and very supportive. The live online sessions give a great introduction to key topics, and there are online lessons, discussion forums and reference material to deepen knowledge. I feel like I have access to so much wisdom, and it is great to be part of a global community of sustainable tourism practitioners.

tourism definition and concept

Thank you GSTC for such a great course. The content was relevant, the case studies were inspiring and the course structure was spot on! I can’t wait to take my learnings and inspiration and activate it across regional destinations in Australia. Keep up the great work.

tourism definition and concept

What I liked the most about this course is the well-defined structure, the opinion sharing with online classmates, and the up-to-date topics. It makes the experience much more effective and enjoyable.

tourism definition and concept

Excellent course that sets the foundations for sustainable tourism practice.I was very new with sustainable tourism and now after the course I have very solid understanding and skills to apply to my job. In addition, the amazing network of professionals sharing ideas is another great tool!

tourism definition and concept

This course provided me with a thorough understanding of how to implement sustainable travel practices. I will definitely integrate information from this training into my work with travel organizations and destinations to help them achieve short-term progress through a long-term strategy.

tourism definition and concept

The GSTC training provides a comprehensive overview of key indicators for a holistic view of sustainable tourism. The training provided an excellent opportunity to network with other tourism professionals, and to share ideas, develop plans, and comment on sustainable tourism initiatives that are being implemented in a diverse array of locations globally. I’m grateful for the connections that I made and for the helpful feedback on ideas for improving sustainability in several operations.

tourism definition and concept

Useful and inspiring! The way the course is organised with lots of practical experience from colleagues in the tourism sector is indeed the most useful and interesting part of the course, [making it easier] to approach the GSTC criteria.

tourism definition and concept

The GSTC course was really great to me because it gave me an in-depth knowledge about sustainable tourism. The combination of the criteria explanation and the presentation from other experts was really great, as it gave us the know-how, lots of samples and case studies. Before joining this course, I had heard about the term sustainable tourism many times, but [was not sure] what it is all about and how we can achieve it. I am glad to have gained the bigger picture of sustainable tourism. I’m developing my village to be a community based tourism destination, and now I can adopt and apply the standard locally.

tourism definition and concept

A great training program that gives the participants a thorough understanding on the sustainable management of both destinations and individual businesses. Anyone from the industry – from the business or the government side – should understand the bigger picture of the destination level management as well as the industrial level so that both public and private sectors can work together for a more sustainable tourism industry.

tourism definition and concept

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program provided an up-to-date perspective and holistic approach on the topic. I really enjoyed taking part in the group discussions and hearing about the realities of other destinations and their challenges.

tourism definition and concept

I think the training was very useful and gave me many insights that I will use in my daily work to develop more sustainable tourism. The training class was also a good group for networking.

tourism definition and concept

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is the most widely recognized institution for offering sustainability courses for tourism professionals.

tourism definition and concept

This is a one-of-a-kind course that provides the tools in getting you started. Not to mention, you’re also collaborating with people and organizations across the globe facing similar challenges. The feedback from fellow students was invaluable and honestly, what better way to tackle some big challenges related to the environment than with people from different countries and backgrounds. I’d take this course again just for those connections!

tourism definition and concept

The [GSTC course] has been a remarkable learning experience and a great introduction to sustainable tourism. The combination of online resources, discussion forums, weekly live events with guest presenters provides a deeper understanding and useful tools in sustainable tourism. The trainers have incredible expertise in both tourism and sustainability and share their knowledge and passion about current sustainability practices. I would highly recommend this course to everyone involved in the tourism industry or have a interest in sustainable tourism.

tourism definition and concept

An excellent programme run by well qualified professional staff and trainers. The guest speakers were world class and materials industry leading. A definite must for any tourism professional who is serious about making sustainable impacts for the betterment of our industry.

tourism definition and concept

Amazing learning experience. Exceeded my expectations by far. Excellently organized and facilitated. Great dynamics in discussions with course participants – so much to learn from. Highly valuable best practices and interactive modules really made the best learning experience I had until now! It really motivated and inspired me to continue on the road of global sustainable tourism.

tourism definition and concept

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training gave me the tools and network to be able to work for a more sustainable tourism sector in the area where I’m based (South Sweden). The structure with the four principles makes it easy to follow and to discuss also outside the GSTC world. The examples from the other participants were great, and we will continue sharing good and bad examples from destinations all over the world.

tourism definition and concept

To work on sustainability is a never-ending story and can be overwhelming at times. The GSTC training supports a structured approach toward continuous improvement. It provides applicable tools to evaluate our sustainability performance and guidance for setting long-term strategies. It allows you to break down this massive task into achievable working packages.

tourism definition and concept

The GSTC training was a great first touch point for me into the world of sustainable tourism and destination management. I loved hearing case studies from around the world and real life examples on how the GSTC criteria can make a difference. The course has enabled me to start building on these criteria within my job.

tourism definition and concept

The training has enable me to go through all the GSTC Criteria thoroughly with better knowledge of sustainable tourism standard and practices. It will be useful as basic guidelines for the Foundation to use these Criteria, as the destination wants to embark in becoming a sustainable tourism destination, aiming to become GSTC-Certified.

tourism definition and concept

I would definitely recommend GSTC training to absolutely everyone in the tourism industry. The entire [GSTC] framework is extremely useful and important – a framework of values and ideas that is evolving, and that is meant for us a roadmap to make things better for people and companies that may be starting from different points in the journey towards sustainability.

tourism definition and concept

The quality of this training was really first class; materials, presentations, trainer support, resources and discussions. The forum helped keep everything relevant and up to date, and I also liked the format of the live events. All guest presenters were excellent; I liked that they were sharing real life experiences and not just theoretical examples. From each and every live presentation I gained ideas, reinforcements to my own experiences and enthusiasm for what I and my colleagues are doing in our own part of the world.

tourism definition and concept

The STTP programme has been a good introduction to the principles of sustainable tourism. It was a good mix of presentations and cases of sustainable tourism in real-life, insights from experts from various countries and across tourism sectors and explanation of key GSTC criteria. Participants were encouraged to share their experiences and observations through discussion forums and presentations, which made the sessions more lively. The final exam is recommended for those who wish to test their ability to put these principles to practice. I highly recommend this course to tourism industry professionals wishing to incorporate sustainable tourism management at work.

tourism definition and concept

The GSTC training provided me with a deep understanding of the criteria. My fellow classmates were industry experts in various sectors from around the world, bringing the criteria to life with valuable examples/discussions of how they have implemented the very practices we were learning.

Deby Stabler

My first impression was the organization, it was perfect regarding the admin efforts and the learning tools. The course materials were really useful, as well as the live sessions from which I gained a deep understanding and experience from the other participants. I really want to have the chance to thank all the team who was involved, and of course I would recommend people working in the tourism industry to join this course

tourism definition and concept

The training gave me a clear understanding of the challenges we face and the actions to take to make sustainability effective, [covering] each of the main areas in a systematic way with enough technical detail for those who needed it, without losing the less technical trainees (like myself) who needed to understand the broad overview of sustainable tourism practices

tourism definition and concept

The overview of standards, coupled with best practice and real world examples has been very beneficial for my work in destination management and responsible tourism development. The ability to meet likeminded industry colleagues, who are working in this arena was also highly valuable.

tourism definition and concept

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Ecotourism: Definition and Concepts

Profile image of george cheia

2013, Revista De Turism Studii Si Cercetari in Turism Journal of Tourism Studies and Research in Tourism

Tourism phenomenon has penetrated human life as a necessity, as part "created" by man, with man and for man. Practiced knowingly or instinctively, tourism / leisure (leisure) was and is one of human activities with an extensive search and development from the beginning of mankind, and especially now, in the 21st century. Although initially it was maybe just a simple exercise in analysis, discovery and admiration of the natural environment that man was dominated by , thereafter, and especially nowadays it has become a rapprochement, now that the human race has succeeded in some extent, to achieve a certain independence from the environment.

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tourism definition and concept

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Arghya Santra , Amit Kisku Faculty, Anthropology

Ecotourism focuses on the enhancement and maintenance of natural ecosystem through tourism. In the 21 st century, travel and tourism have become world's fastest growing industries and are the major source of foreign exchange earnings for many developing countries. Ecotourism has become a growing niche market within this larger travel industry. For the last two decades, it has not only substituted mass tourism, but also has converged the biodiversity conservation and the socioeconomic development of local community. Now-a-days, government and non-government agencies promote community based ecotourism into interior regions to develop the livelihood of the local people. In practice, ecotourism has often failed to deliver the expected benefits to the local community due to a number of factors such as the shortages of the financial and social capital within the community, lack of mechanisms for a fair distribution of the economic benefits of ecotourism, and insecurity in connection with acquisition of lands. A research was conducted on Gopegarh Heritage and Nature Ecotourism Centre (GHNEC), Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal to find out the success and failure stories of ecotourism policy. It reveals that due to the lack of proper infrastructure, the benefits of ecotourism do not reach to the people it aimed for. Introduction In the 21 st century, tourism is one of the fastest growing markets and a major source of foreign exchange earnings for many developing countries. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) reports that 4.4% international tourism grew annually between the years 2013 to 2014. Easy and quick economic earnings from tourism without much investment has captured the attention of most countries and led to its huge popularity and acceptability. However, such a global growth of tourism causes a significant threat to the cultural and biological diversity. During the late 20 th century, many academics and scholars pointed towards the destructive effect of tourism on biodiversity. Thus, it has become of utmost importance that the tourism industry must be concerned about the environment and its sustainability. With that concern, an alternative form of tourism also has begun to take shape. Broadly defined, this 'alternative tourism' includes 'forms of tourism that are consistent with natural, social, and community values, and which allow both hosts and guests to enjoy positive and worthwhile interaction and shared experiences' (Eadington & Smith 1992). This new product of tourism has taken the attention of scholars concerned with recent agendas to link conservation and development) proposed for one of the most influential definitions on environment-friendly tourism or ecotourism-Travelling to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas with the specific objectives of studying, admiring, and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals, as well as any existing cultural manifestations (both past and present) found in these areas.

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In the last years, the tendency in the tourism industry was that of return towards nature and towards the authentic cultural values. Among all the forms of tourism, ecotourism distinguishes itself through the strongest connection with the natural and cultural environment, representing the most valuable form of manifestation of sustainable tourism, with the fastest growth rhythm worldwide. Integrated in the sustainable development, ecotourism involves activities that directly contribute to the nature protection and to keeping the old human creations unaltered.

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The concept of ecotourism evolves differently in developing and developed nations due to which the basic principles of ecotourism are in question. The existing literature on ecotourism suggests ambiguity in conceptual understanding of ecotourism. Due to this qualm, ecotourism is evolving into various forms. Different stakeholders with varying objectives related to ecotourism make it further difficult to form the consensus on what constitutes ecotourism. Without the clear understanding of ecotourism, it is difficult to evolve ethics on which the ecotourism principles are based. The focus of this research is to find out the principle components or themes of ecotourism using a content analysis for the development of ecotourism policy and applications. This study identified six key components of ecotourism which are widely accepted by researchers and could be used to shape the fundamental understanding of ecotourism. These themes are: (1) Nature oriented travel; (2) Support of conservat...

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    tourism definition and concept

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    tourism definition and concept

  4. PPT

    tourism definition and concept

  5. Tourism Definition Meaning on Holiday and Having a Break

    tourism definition and concept

  6. Tourism Explained: Definition, History, Types

    tourism definition and concept


  1. Tourism

    tourism, the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while making use of the commercial provision of services. As such, tourism is a product of modern social arrangements, beginning in western Europe in the 17th century, although it has antecedents in Classical antiquity.

  2. 1.1 What is Tourism?

    Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.

  3. Tourism

    In 1976, the Tourism Society of England's definition was: "Tourism is the temporary, short-term movement of people to destinations outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during the stay at each destination. It includes movements for all purposes." ... With space tourism still being new concept, there are many ...

  4. What is tourism? A definition of tourism

    The Cambridge Dictionary define tourism quite simply as; 'the business of providing services such as transport, places to stay or entertainment for people who are on holiday'. Read also: - The importance of tourism

  5. Tourism

    The UNWTO defines tourists as ' people who travel to and stay in place outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.

  6. Glossary of tourism terms

    Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.

  7. UNWTO Tourism Definitions

    A tourism destination is a physical space with or without administrative and/or analytical 14 boundaries in which a visitor can spend an. overnight. It is the cluster (co-location) of products and services, and of activities and experiences along the tourism value chain and a basic unit of analysis of tourism.

  8. (PDF) What is tourism? Definitions, theoretical phases and principles

    Dünya Turizm Örgütü, turizm kavramını tanımlamadaki anlaşmazlıkları önlemek için bu kavramı şu şekilde tanımlamıştır 'Turizm, boş zaman, iş ve diğer amaçlarla art arda bir yıldan fazla olmamak...

  9. Tourism Definition & Meaning

    How to use tourism in a sentence. the practice of traveling for recreation; the guidance or management of tourists; the promotion or encouragement of touring… See the full definition

  10. Chapter 3. What is Tourism? Definitions, Theoretical Phases and Principles

    Truth: Reality, Knowledge, and Disciplines. Chapter 2. Who is a Tourist? Conceptual and Theoretical Developments. Chapter 3. What is Tourism? Definitions, Theoretical Phases and Principles. Chapter 4. Epistemology, Ontology and Tourism.

  11. Definition of Tourism and Sustainable Tourism

    Tourism is the activities 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. Read more...

  12. PDF Basic concepts and definitions: Travel and Tourism (domestic and ...

    Tourism refers to the activity of visitors. IRTS 2008, para 2.12: Tourism is therefore a subset of travel and visitors are a subset of travelers. These distinctions are crucial for the...

  13. Tourism and Culture

    This webpage provides UN Tourism resources aimed at strengthening the dialogue between tourism and culture and an informed decision-making in the sphere of cultural tourism. It also promotes the exchange of good practices showcasing inclusive management systems and innovative cultural tourism experiences.. ABOUT CULTURAL TOURISM. According to the definition adopted by the UN Tourism General ...


    know the meaning of the term 'tourism', 'visitor', 'tourist', 'excursionist', 'transit traveller' and the difference between travel and tourism. You will also come to know of different definitions adopted by different countries on the term 'tourist' 1.1 Objectives: To understand the basic concepts of tourism management.

  15. Full article: Tourism and Development Theory: Which Way Now?

    ABSTRACT. Tourism has long been explored through the lens of development theory. David Harrison was one of the earlier academics to do so, subsequently turning his attention to critiquing the relevance of such theory to tourism, concluding that although much tourism research has been framed within it, development theory has contributed little if anything to knowledge and understanding of the ...

  16. Sustainable tourism

    The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as "tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of...

  17. Tourism concept, meaning, definition

    Tourism is a concept of travelling. It means and covers travelling for different but specifically defined purposes. Did you also knew that travelling also a distance factor? What that means is that if you have not travelled a particular or minimum distance than it will not be considered as tourism.

  18. What Is A Tourist? Tourist Definition

    Tourism is the generic term used to cover both demand and supply that has been adopted in a variety of forms and used throughout the world. Tourism essentially refers to the activities undertaken by visitors, also known as the visitor economy. The tourism industry encompasses all activity that takes place within the visitor economy.

  19. What is Sustainable Tourism? Here's the Definition

    Definition of Sustainable Tourism. Sustainable Tourism refers to sustainable practices in and by the tourism industry. It is an aspiration to acknowledge all impacts of tourism, both positive and negative. It aims to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the positive ones. Negative impacts to a destination include economic leakage, damage ...

  20. What is tourism? Definitions, concepts and characteristics.

    Despite the increasing attention tourism is now receiving as a field of study, widespread agreement on defining the basic concept has not yet been reached. The article reviews tourism as a field of study, focusing especially on its definition, characteristics, major concepts, important factors and relationships with a view to contributing to answering the question of what tourism is.

  21. E-tourism: Definition, development and conceptual framework

    Th e creation of an e-tourism system is a logical sequence of the digitalization of all processes in the value chain of the travel and tourism industry. Th e purpose of the article is, based on ...

  22. (PDF) Ecotourism: Definition and Concepts

    Ecotourism: Definition and Concepts. george cheia. 2013, Revista De Turism Studii Si Cercetari in Turism Journal of Tourism Studies and Research in Tourism. Tourism phenomenon has penetrated human life as a necessity, as part "created" by man, with man and for man. Practiced knowingly or instinctively, tourism / leisure (leisure) was and is one ...

  23. Concept of tourism

    TOURISM - DEFINITION AND MEANING. In India we see the origin of the concept of Tourism in Sanskrit Literature. It has given us three terms derived from the root word "Atana" which means going out and accordingly we have the terms: Tirthatana-It means going out and visiting places of religious merit. Paryatana - It means going out for pleasure and knowledge. Deshatana - It means going out of ...