Tourism yesterday and today
The development of tourism before the 20th century
Tourism can be defined as a temporary visit, usually for pleasure, to a place where you don’t usually live, creating the need for transport, information and catering services, accommodation and entertainment.
In past, the reasons to travel were different respect to our days.
• The Greeks and the Romans travelled in the Mediterranean to buy and sell their goods and also to expand their empires.
• In the Middle Ages people started making trips to places of religious importance and later people began to travel for health reasons.
• During the Georgian period it was fashionable for middle-class people to go at a place that now we call Bath, discovered by the Romans while they were in Britain. It was a great place to have entertainment and to take the benefits of the water.
So this was the beginning of tourism as we know it today.
• During the 18th century, members of the British upper-classes began going on what they called the Grand Tour when they visited the most important cultural centres in Europe, particularly France and Italy. The Grand Tour introduced a cultural dimension to tourism, but to move from a place to another was long, uncomfortable, often dangerous and very expensive, so only the richer people moved.
• This situation finally changed with the Industrial Revolution; in fact, in this period, one of the most significant developments was that of transport.
Industrialization led to a new class of wealthy people and in a short time the phenomenon of tourism went from being the privilege of the rich minority to an important part of life for a large majority.
Tourism in the 20th century
• As the 20th century developed, more and more people travelled abroad, mainly to emigrate to countries like the USA or to work in business in European colonies. This, however, cannot be called tourism because they didn’t travel for the particular purpose of leisure.
• In the 1930s, tourism for leisure or cultural purposes started in the UK: people started taking a one or two-week break to have a summer holiday, usually at a domestic seaside resort or holiday camp which provided accommodation, food and organized activities. Another phenomenon of the domestic holiday was the caravan park.
• In the 1950s, with the invention of the jet and in the 1970s, with the invention of the jumbo jet, international tourism began. Tour operators started offering international package holidays at low prices; so, because of the bad weather in Britain, many people started going to sunny and exotic places. Mass global tourism had begun.
• In recent years there has been an enormous increase in the number of tourists and in many countries the economy is based on the tourism industry. Magazines and the Internet are sources of information and ideas.
Tourism in the 21th century
At the moment tourism is an industry which produces billions of euros a year and is responsible for providing millions of jobs.
There is no doubt that the Internet has an increasingly important role in tourism.