What is Tourism? – Characteristics and Types


What is Tourism? – Characteristics and Types

What is Tourism? 

Tourism is more difficult to define and there are many different forms of tourism.

Tourism is about a temporary or short-term movement away from the place where a person normally lives and works. The tourist intends to return home at the end of the visit. The length of the visit may be from just one night up to one year. Most tourist trips are taken as holidays lasting one or two weeks but many business trips last only one night and gap year students might be travelling for several months.

Tourism usually, but not always, involves staying away from home. People travelling outside of their home area are called day visitors who are taking part in excursions.

Tourism is not only related to leisure although most tourism activity takes place during leisure time. People become tourists for other reasons including business, visiting friends and relatives, education purposes and health purposes.

Tourism is also about the activities which people do while at the destination they are visiting. These activities might include sunbathing, visiting a theme park, taking part in a religious ceremony, skiing or attending a business conference.

Tourism is an ever-expanding service industry with vast growth potential and has therefore become one of the crucial concerns of the not only nations but also of the international community as a whole.

It has come up as a decisive link in gearing up the pace of the socio-economic development world over. It is believed that the word tour in the context of tourism became established in the English language by the eighteen century.

On the other hand, according to oxford dictionary, the word tourism first came to light in the English in the nineteen century (1811) from a Greek word 'tomus' meaning a round shaped tool.' Tourism as a phenomenon means the movement of people (both within and across the national borders).

Tourism means different things to different people because it is an abstraction of a wide range of consumption activities which demand products and services from a wide range of industries in the economy.

Tourism in the modem sense of the world as a phenomena of modem times based on the increased need for recuperation and change of air, the awakened, and cultivated appreciation of scenic beauty, the pleasure in and the enjoyment of nature and in particularly brought about by the increasing mingling of various nations and classes of human society, as a result of the development of commerce, industry and trade, and the perfection of the means of transport.

Tourism as the sum total of phenomena and relationship arising from travel and stay of nonresidents, in so far as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any earning activities.

Another broadly speaking, tourism society of Cardiff in 1981, tourism may be defined in terms of the particular activities selected by choice and undertaken outside the home environment. Tourism may or may not involve overnight stay away from the home.

The modern definition of tourism as 'tourism is defined as the activities of persons traveling to and staying in place outside their usual environment for 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.

The use of this broad concept makes it possible to identify tourism between countries as well as tourism within a country.

Tourism refers to all activities of visitors, including both tourists (overnight visitors) and 'same day visitors'.

In general way tourism can be defined as the temporary movement of the people to destinations away from their usual place or normal habitat, the activities entered upon during their stay in those destination and the facilities developed to provide their requirements/needs.

The study of tourism involves the motivation and experience of the tourists on the one hand, the expectations of an adjustment made by the local residents of the concerned area, and the role played by these interceding agencies of moving, housing, feeding, and entertaining people as they go from a place of their habitat to another for business and or pleasure.

The industry primarily incorporates five groups of activities which include:

1. transportation

2. Accommodation

3. Catering/retail

4. Recreation

5. Travel related services



Characteristics of Tourism

The main characteristics of tourism are as follows:

1. A movement of people to different destinations having two key elements. The journey and the stay, both of which come off not within but outside the normal area or place of domicile and work.

2. The movement is primarily of a temporary nature and for a relatively short duration making it different from migration.

3. It brings about activities dissimilar to those of the host population of the place visited.

4. The prime purpose of participation in tourism is by and large recreation and certainly not the purpose of seeking permanent residence or employment remunerated from within the place visited and finally.

5. Tourism in an abstract sense is basically a pleasure activity implying a use of readily disposable incomes and of free time and one's own free will.



Every person on this world has his own likes and dislikes. Human thinking varies from person to person. Human thinking is diverse, human wishes, desires vary People in the world have reason to travel. Some travel for business purposes, some for medical purposes in order to get good medical facility, some travel in order to visit a holy place while some travel to see the natural diversity.

The main purpose of travel determines the form of travel and tourism, so tourism could be classified as follows:

1. Archeological Tourism

2. Cultural Heritage Tourism

3. Pilgrimage Tourism

4. Adventure Tourism

5. Agri-Tourism

6. Atomic Tourism

7. Bookstore Tourism

8. Disaster Tourism

9. Drug Tourism

10. Excursions

11. Garden Tourism

12. Medical Tourism

13. Shark Tourism

14. Space Tourism

15.  Eco-Tourism

16. Water Tourism

17. Wildlife Tourism

18. Wine Tourism


1. Archeological Tourism: It is an alternative form of cultural tourism, which aims to promote the passion for historical-archaeology and the conservation of historical sites. Like Ecological tourism (or Ecotourism), it is promoted to encourage the development of cultural associations, companies and cooperatives can be found that dedicate themselves to offer this type of service.

Archaeological tourism can include all products associated with public archaeological promotion, including visits to archaeological sites. Museums, interpretation centers, reenactment of historical occurrences, and the rediscovery of native products, festivals, or theatre.

Although archaeological tourism is quite recent, many international institutions and governments have already begun to contemplate viable alternative activity for the sustainable economic-social development.

2. Cultural Heritage Tourism: Cultural heritage tourism (or just heritage tourism) is a branch of tourism oriented towards the cultural heritage of the location where tourism is occurring. Culture has always been a major object of travel, as the development of the Grand Tour from the 16 century on-wards attests.

In the 20 century, some people have claimed, culture ceased to be the objective of tourism: tourism is now culture.

Cultural attractions play an important role in tourism at all levels; from the global highlights of world culture to attractions that underpin local identities. Heritage tourism involves visiting historical or industrial sites that may include old canals. Railways, battlegrounds etc. The overall purpose is to gain an appreciation of the past. It also refers to the marketing of a location to members of a Diaspora who have distant family roots there. Decolonization and immigration form the major background of much contemporary heritage tourism. Falling travel costs have also made heritage tourism possible for more people. Another possible form involves religious travel or pilgrimages.

Heritage Tourism can also be attributed to historical events that have been dramatized to make them more entertaining. For example a historical tour of a town or city is used as theme like ghosts or Vikings.

3. Pilgrimage Tourism: In religion and spirituality, a pilgrimage is a long journey or search of great moral significance. Sometimes, it is a journey to a sacred place or shrine of importance to a person's beliefs and faith. Members of every major religion participate in pilgrimages. A person who makes such a journey is called a pilgrim.

4. Adventure Tourism: Adventure tourism is a type of tourism involving exploration or travel to remote, exotic and possibly hostile areas, where the traveler should 'expect the unexpected'. Adventure tourism is rapidly growing in popularity as tourists seek different kinds of vacations.

According to the (USA-based) global Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity including two of the following three components:

     i.               A physical activity

    ii.              A cultural exchange or interaction

  iii.              Engagement with nature.

Adventure tourism gains much of its excitement allowing its participants to step outside of their comfort zone. This may be from experiencing culture shock, or through the performance of acts that require significant effort and involve some degree of risk (real or perceived).

This may include activities such as mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, mountain biking, rafting and rock climbing.

5. Agri-Tourism: Agri-tourism is a style of vacation which is normally on farms. This may include the chance to help with farming tasks during the visit.

Agri-tourism is often practiced in wine growing regions in Italy and Spain.

In America, Agri-tourisms wide-spread and includes any farm open to the public at least part of the year. Tourists can pick fruits and vegetables, ride horses, taste honey, and learn about wine and farm stands for local and regional produce or hand-crafted gifts, and much more.

Agri-tourism is developing into a large part of the tourism industry and will soon be one of the largest sectors of tourism. People are more interested in how their food is produced and want to meet the producers and talk with them about what goes into food production. Children who visit the farms often have not seen a live duck, or pig, and have not picked an apple right off the tree. This form of expanded agri-tourism has given birth to what are often called 'entertainment farms'. These farms cater to the pick-your-own crowd, offering not only regular farm products, but also food, mazes, open-pen animals, train rides, picnic facilities and pick-your-own produce.

6. Atomic Tourism: Atomic tourism is a relatively new style of tourism in which the tourists travel to significant sites in atomic history. These sites are typically those involved with either atomic explosions or the vehicles (planes, missiles, and rockets) that transport them. Atomic museums:

• Tinian Airfield, launch site for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II

• Titan Missile Museum, Green Valley, Arizona, public underground missile museum 

• Nike Missile Site SF-88L, near San Francisco, CA, fully restored Nike missile complex

• Los Alamos County Historical Museum, Los Alamos, New Mexico, items from the Manhattan Project

• Bradbury Science Museum, Los Alamos, NM, history of the Manhattan Project

• National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Albuquerque.New Mexico, many missiles and rockets. This used to be the National Atomic Museum at Kirtland AFB and it has a B52 on exhibit.

• National Museum of the United States Air Force, The Nagasaki airplane (Bockscar) as well as many nuclear missiles

• Nevada Desert Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada, anti-nuclear resistance to Nuclear Testing at the Nevada Test Site

• Oak Ridge Graphite Reactor, first to make Plutonium

• American Museum of Science and Energy, bomb casings on display

• Greenbrier Bunker, underground bunker for Congress

• Savannah River Site, site where Plutonium 239 and Tritium were made

• Experimental Breeder Reactor I, engines for atomic powered airplanes

• National Air and Space Museum, Enola Gay, Washington DC, The Hiroshima airplane

• White Sands Missile Range, Central New Mexico, missiles on display

• Pacific Proving Grounds, South Pacific, site of many atomic and nuclear tests from 1948-1963

• Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada

• EBR-1, Arco, Idaho, which was the first nuclear reactor to produce electrical power, the first breeder reactor, and the first to use plutonium as fuel.

• George Herbert Jones Laboratory, which was where plutonium was first isolated and characterized Explosion sites

• Trinity Site, Alamogordo, NM, site of 1st atomic bomb explosion July 16. 1945

• Nevada Test Site, Nye County, NV, Land of a Thousand Nuclear Tests

• Bikini Atoll, South Pacific, many atomic sites now available by SCUBA

• Project GASBUGGY, Carson National Forest, Rio Arriba County, NM. Atoms for Peace

• Project GNOME, Carlsbad, NM, and underground atomic test site

• Hiroshima, Japan, first wartime use of an atomic bomb

• Nagasaki, Japan, last wartime use of an atomic bomb

• Maralinga, Australia, site used for Operation Buffalo and Operation Antler in the 1950s. Atomic accidents

• The "Chernobyl disaster' or reactor accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is the worst nuclear power plant accident in history and the only instance so far of level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, resulting in a severe nuclear meltdown.

• Three Mile Island was the site of a well publicized accident, the most significant in the history of American commercial nuclear power.

7. Bookstore Tourism: Bookstore tourism is a type of cultural tourism that promotes independent bookstores as a group travel destination. It started as a grass roots effort to support locally owned and operated bookshops, many of which have struggled to compete with large bookstore chains and online retailers.

8. Disaster Tourism: Disaster tourism is the act of traveling to a disaster area as a matter of curiosity. The behavior can be a nuisance if it hinders rescue, relief, and recovery operations. Disaster tourism took hold in the Greater New Orleans Area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There are now guided bus tours to neighborhoods that were severely damaged by storm-related flooding. Some local residents have criticized these tours as unethical, because the tour companies are profiting from the misery of their communities and families. The Army Corps of Engineers has noted that traffic from tour buses and other tourist vehicles have interfered with the movement of trucks and other cleanup equipment on single-lane residential roads. Furthermore, during the first six months after the storm, most of these neighborhoods lacked electricity, phone access, street signs, or access to emergency medical or police assistance. Simply traveling to these neighborhoods was hazardous. For these reasons, organized disaster tours are now banned from two of the most severely damaged areas in the city, the Lower and St. Bernard Parish near the Canal.

On the other hand, such communities as Gentile and Lakeview, along the 1 Street Canal, have welcomed organized tour groups as a means to publicize the scale of the destruction and attract more aid to the city. Much of the recovery effort in the New Orleans relies on out-of-state volunteers and donations. Numerous non-profit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity International and Catholic Charities, have converged on the city 20 to gut and rebuild homes. There is also a movement by local residents to bring congressmen and other national leaders to the city and view the damage in person, since recovery efforts have been hampered by the failure of many homeowners and businesses to receive claims from their insurance providers.

9. Drug Tourism: Drug tourism is travel for the purpose of obtaining or using drugs for personal use that are unavailable or illegal in one's home jurisdiction. This would include crossing a national border to obtain drugs over the counter that are not sold in one's own country, or traveling to another country in order to obtain or use narcotics that are illegal in one's own country, or even traveling from one USA state to another m order to buy alcohol or tobacco more easily (although this last situation is often considered too trivial to qualify as drug tourism). Drug tourism to other countries is also popular among college students in the USA younger than 21 years old who are not yet of the legal drinking age for alcohol purchasing and consumption.

Drug tourism has many legal implications and persons engaging in it sometimes risk prosecution for drug smuggling or other drug-related charges in their home jurisdictions or in the jurisdictions they are visiting, especially if they bring their purchases home rather than using them abroad. The act of traveling for the purpose of buying or using drugs is itself a criminal offense in some jurisdictions. Amsterdam is a popular destination for drug tourists, due to the Dutch government's liberal attitude toward marijuana use and possession. Another Dutch city which is visited frequently by drug tourists is Maastricht because of its position close to the borders of Germany and Belgium. Other popular destinations include Southeast Asia and South America. Drug tourism thrives because legislation controlling the sale, possession, and use of drugs varies dramatically from one jurisdiction to another. In Australia, the Capital 21 Territory and South part of the country have a more herbal approach to marijuana use. Promoting interstate drug tourism, particularly from Victoria and New South Wales. In addition, some areas of northern New South Wales have a liberal recreational drug culture, particularly areas around Nimbin where the annual Mardi Grass festival is held.

10. Excursions: An excursion is a trip by a group of people, usually made for leisure or educational purposes. It is often an adjunct to a longer journey or visit to a place, sometimes for other (typically work-related) purposes. Public companies issue reduced price excursion tickets to attract business of this type. Often these tickets are restricted to off-peak days or times for the destination concerned. Short excursions for education or for observations of natural phenomena are called trips. One-day educational field studies are often made by classes as extracurricular exercises, e.g. to visit a natural or geographical feature.

11. Garden Tourism: Garden tourism is a type of niche tourism involving visits or travel to botanical gardens and places which are significant in the history of gardening. Garden tourists often travel individually in countries with which they are familiar but often prefer to join organized garden tours in countries where they might experience difficulties with language, travel or finding accommodation in the vicinity of the garden. The list of famous gardens which attract garden tourists from afar includes: Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Stourhead in England, Versailles and Givemy in France, Keukenh of in Holland, Villa d'Este and Villa Lante in Italy, Alhambra in Spain, Longwood Gardens and Filoli in the USA, TajMahal in India, Ryoan-ji in Japan. In the year 2000, the Alhambra and the TajMahal both received over 2 million 22 visitors. This poses problems for the manager. The Kashmir valley is also known for gardens which were mostly built during the reign of Mughal emperors.

12. Medical Tourism: Medical tourism (also called medical travel, health tourism or global healthcare) is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling across international borders to obtain care. Such services typically include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee/hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. The provider and customer use informal channels of communication-connection-contract, with less regulatory or legal oversight to assure quality and less formal recourse to reimbursement or redress, if needed. Factors that have led to the increasing popularity of medical travel include the high cost of health care, long wait times for certain procedures, the ease and affordability of international travel, and improvements in both technology and standards of care in many countries. Medical tourists can come from anywhere in the world, including Europe, UK, Middle East, Japan, USA, and Canada. This is because of their large populations, comparatively high wealth, the high expense of health care or lack of health care options locally, and increasingly high expectations of their populations with respect to health care. A large draw to medical travel is convenience and speed. Countries that operate public health-care systems are often so taxed that it can take considerable time to get non-urgent medical care. The time spent waiting for a procedure such as a hip replacement can be a year or more in Britain and Canada; however, in Costa Rica, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cuba, Colombia, Philippines or India, a patient could feasibly have an operation the day after their arrival.

In Canada, the number of procedures in 2005 for which people were waiting 23 was 782,936. Additionally, patients are finding that insurance either does not cover orthopedic surgery (such as knee/hip replacement) or imposes unreasonable restrictions on the choice of the facility, surgeon, or prosthetics to be used. Medical tourism for knee/hip replacements has emerged as one of the more widely accepted procedures because of the lower cost and minimal difficulties associated with the traveling to/from the surgery. Colombia provides a knee replacement for about $5,000 USD, including all associated fees, such as FDA- approved prosthetics and hospital stay-over expenses.

However, many clinics quote prices that are not all inclusive and include only the surgeon fees associated with the procedure. Popular medical travel worldwide destinations include: India, Brunei, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jordan, Lithuania, and Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, and recently, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Tunisia, and New Zealand.

India is known in particular for heart surgery, hip resurfacing and other areas of advanced medicine. The government and private hospital groups are committed to the goal of making India a leader in the industry.

The industry's main appeal is lowcost treatment. Most estimates claim treatment costs in India start at around a tenth of the price of comparable treatment in America or Britain. India is becoming the destination of choice for US citizens seeking complicated, high-end medical procedures. Estimates of the value of medical tourism to India go as high as $2 billion a year by 2012. The Indian government is taking steps to address infrastructure issues that hinder the country's growth in medical tourism. The south Indian city of Chennai has been declared India's Health Capital, as it nets in 45 per cent of health tourists from abroad and 30 per cent to 40 per cent of domestic health tourists. Dental care has also caught on in India, with tourists coupling stays in cities like Udaipur with general check-ups and complex procedures.

13. Shark Tourism: Shark tourism is a form of ecotourism rooted in having communities appreciate that local shark species are more valuable alive than dead. Instead of opting for a one time economic benefit of harvesting sharks for their body parts, communities are made to assist interested tourists who may want to see live sharks. Shark tourism is popular in South Africa and in the Bahamas and at Isla Guadalupe. The Great White sharks in South Africa are viewed using shark cages to keep the diver safe. While divers in the Bahamas experience Reef Sharks and Tiger Sharks while they are hand-fed. Isla Guadalupe located in Mexico has been named a Bio-Sphere Reserve in an effort to control the shark diving activities there. Although the practice of shark diving proves to be controversial, it has been proven very effective in attracting tourists. Whale Sharks, while not traditionally harvested for their fins but are sometimes harvested for their meat, have also benefited from Shark Tourism because of snorkelers getting into the water with the gentle giants. Passive and active forms of shark tourism are believed to conserve the species by generating commercial value to their lives in the natural world.

14. Space Tourism: Space tourism is the recent phenomenon of tourists paying for flights into space. The curvature of Earth seen firom orbit provides one of the main attractions for tourists paying to go into space. As of 2008, space tourism opportunities are limited and expensive, with only the Russian Space Agency providing transport. The price for a flight brokered by Space Adventures to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spacecraft is now $20 million. Flights are fully booked until 2009. Among the primary attractions of space tourism are the uniqueness of the experience, the thrill and awe of looking at Earth from space (described by astronauts as extremely intense 25 and mind-boggling), the experience's notion as an exclusive status symbol, and various advantages of weightlessness. The space tourism industry is being targeted by spaceports in numerous locations, including California, Oklahoma, New Mexico. Florida, Virginia, Alaska, Estrange in Sweden and Wisconsin, Singapore, and IJAE. Some use the term 'personal spaceflight' as in the case of the Personal Spacetlight Federation.

15.  Eco-Tourism: Tourism in its purest sense is an industry committed to making a low impact on the natural environment and local culture, while helping to generate income and employment for locals. Global economists forecast contmumg international tourism growth, ranging between 3 and 6 per cent annually, depending on the location. As one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries, this continuous growth will place great stress on remaining biologically diverse habitats and indigenous cultures, which are often used to support mass tourism. Tourists who promote sustainable tourism are sensitive to these dangers and seek to protect tourist destinations, and to protect tourism as an industry. Sustainable tourists can reduce the impact of tourism in many ways, including-

• Informing themselves of the culture, politics, and economy of the communities visited

• Anticipating and respecting local cultures' expectations and assumptions

• contributing to intercultural understanding and tolerance

• Supporting the integrity of local cultures by favoring businesses which conserve cultural heritage and traditional values

• Supporting local economies by purchasing local goods and participating with small, local businesses 26

• Conserving resources by seeking out businesses that are environmentally conscious, and by using the least possible amount of non-renewable 24 resources.

16. Water Tourism: Water tourism is traveling by boat while on holiday, with the express purpose of seeing things meant for the water tourist. This can be traveling from luxury port to luxurport, but also landing a boat for lunch or other day recreation at specially prepared day boat-landings also known as a boating holiday. Water tourism is very famous in Netherlands. Water travel used to be the only form of transportation in the Netherlands. Since improvements in the road and rail structure, less and less commercial freight water traffic is using the water. In recent years, the growth of water tourism has exceeded the amount of freight traffic, and older cities whose ports were long disused are refurbishing them for water tourists. Water tourists are a strong lobby for protecting old water routes from being closed or filled. Hobbyists are refinishing antique canal boats and charging for passenger traffic again. In Amsterdam, a steady tourist industry has kept the old canals open for water traffic, and in the summer the commercial passenger boats compete more and more with private skiffs and low yachts.

17. Wildlife Tourism: Wildlife tourism, in its simplest sense, is watching wild animals in their natural habitat. Wildlife tourism can be an eco and animal friendly tourism in both captive and wild environments. It has experienced a dramatic and rapid growth in recent year's worldwide.

Wildlife tourism is also a multi-million dollar industry offering customized tour packages and safaris. Kashmir is also home to a number of 27 wild life parks and sanctuaries; the most famous among them is the Dachigam wild life sanctuary famous for the Hangul, endangered species of deer in the country.

18. Wine Tourism: Wine tourism refers to tourism whose purpose is or includes the tasting. Consumption or purchase of wine, often at or near the source. Wine tourism can consist of visits to wineries, vineyards, and restaurants known to offer unique vintages, as well as organized wine tours, wine festivals, or other special events.

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