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Tourism History

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Tourism in Context


This essay aims to highlight the main political, economic, social and technological factors, which have aided in the growth of modern tourism from 1945 to the present day. It will also aim to show which of these has been the most important in the aiding and why.

Definition of Tourism

"The derivation of the word "tourism" originated from a combination of the Latin tornare and the Greek tornos, which mean a lathe or circle. In modern English, with the suffix -ism (an action or process), the meaning of the word tourism became the action of movement in a circle. We can imagine a round-trip from this meaning: one leaves home for a particular destination, then returns home again. Likewise, by adding the suffix -IST (a person who performs an action), we can derive the word "tourist", the person who takes such a trip.

Although the general meaning of the word tourism is known by all, defining tourism precisely is not an easy task. Many scholars have tried to define it, but the meaning changed according to the times, and different people use the word differently. However, in order to acquire comparable statistical data and to research tourism as a field of study, a universal standard definition is necessary. Hence, the International Conference on Travel and Tourism Statistics, sponsored by the World Tourism Organization and Tourism Canada, was held in Ottawa in June 1991. This conference recommended that the definition of tourism be as follows:

The activities of a person travelling to a place outside his or her usual environment for less than a specified period of time and whose main purpose of travel is other than the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited " (

Political Factors

After the 2nd world war finished in 1945, people started to become more open minded and wanted to travel. Soldiers wanted to return to parts of the world they had seen when at war. People became more curious of what's going on in the world and this started the great expansion of tourism post world war 2. With no world war anymore, people were not afraid to move around the countries although at first it was to be very expensive and only the wealthy could afford to begin with.

Government policy affects the way things are run within its control, and it wasn't until 1969 that British government introduced the "Development of Tourism Act" this act "established a new framework for public sector tourism, which took into account the industry's growing importance to the British economy."(Holloway, 2000) Through the 1970's the government tried to play an active part in helping the tourist industry grow within Britain, and aimed to try and keep a standard to protect tourists. Tour operators needed to be licensed and the government offered incentives for people constructing hotels and other tourist facilities. The government also tried to categorise and register hotels, but faced resilience from hotel owners, so voluntary forms of registration were offered. Into the 1980's government changed there attitude towards tourism and took a step back. Grants were stopped that had been put in place under the act in 1969, and "policy became one of encouraging partnerships between the private and public sector."(Holloway, 2000) By the late 80's people were looking for the European Union to take point, and this they did by classifying hotels, liberalise air and road transport and bring into line VAT and duty free. Responsibility was pushed away from the government over to Department of Trade and Industry, then onto the Department of Employment and then in 1992 onto the newly formed National Heritage. This department was later changed to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport after labour took charge in 1997 following victory in the elections.

Economic Factors

The economic factor of tourism is so important for the world. In 2006 it is estimated that 10.3% of the worlds total GDP will come from tourism. With this 8.7% of the worlds total employment (234,305,000) jobs will be created from tourism alone. With this in mind it is easy to see why "Tourism is a major element of the service economy" (Cooper et al, 2000) and that "Travel and tourism is probably the single most important industry in the world" (Holloway, 2000) Tourism has grown rapidly and has been applauded for its sustained growth.

(Cooper, 2000) says that "Tourist expenditure has a 'cascading' effect throughout the host economy" and that the basic process of it explained by ( is that;


Purchases by users



Purchases of supplies and materials by the producers of related products and services, and the purchases made by the producers of the supplies and materials



Purchases of production supplies and materials by producers, resulting from purchases by hotels



A major reason used in a government actively encouraging tourism development, is the "potential employment benefits" (D.G Pearce, 1992) Although (Hudson, Townsend, 1992) stated "A growing involvement of local authorities in policies to sustain existing tourist developments and encourage new ones, although often the actual impacts of tourism on local employment and the economy are imperfectly understood. "

Measuring the economic impact of tourist expenditure is no easy task. Every year the WTO publishes annual tourist stats for countries in the world. These statistics only include data that relate to tourist outflow and it wouldn't be correct to relate these figures directly to economic impact on a country. The reason for this is "they take no account of how much of that sum leaks straight out of the economy {paying for imported goods and services to satisfy tourist needs}) (Cooper et al, 2000)

Social Factors

The social factors giving an impact on tourism are "manifested through an enormous range of aspects from arts and crafts through to the fundamental behaviour of individuals and collective groups" (Cooper et al, 2000) Tourism can contribute to positive developments,



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