Tourism refers to trips that people take for recreation from the place where they live to another place for a limited period of time. It involves spending at least one night away from home. Tourism is seasonal: this means that most tourists travel on specific dates and certain months which leads to a high concentration of tourists in some areas in certain seasons.
Until the middle of the 20th century, tourism was a privilege that only the wealthy could enjoy. However, starting in the 50s, tourism experienced a boom in developed countries. The boom is attributed to these factors:
– An increase in earnings, which gave people disposable income they could use for travel
– Employers gave of paid vacations and retirement pensions to their employees
– More free time
– Faster and cheaper means of transportation
– Loosening up of borders, which allowed people to travel with ease between countries
– Interest in getting to know some of the places in the news
Tourism is determined by physical aspects (relief, climate, climate, vegetation, etc.) and human factors (accommodation, restaurants, roads, etc.). There are different types of tourism:
- Beach tourism: tourists enjoy the sea and the sun. Sandy beaches sunny days and mild temperatures are essential for this type of tourism.
- Active tourism is based on sporting activities like skiing in mountain areas, or water sports (diving, windsurf, sailing) in coastal areas. Adventure tourism is another variety of that promotes sports with a certain risk factor like hiking of rafting.
- Nature tourism distinguishes two types:
– Ecotourism or environmental tourism: tourists explore and enjoy nature.
-Rural tourism: tourists discover the countryside and its activities and enjoy the natural environment.
- Cultural tourism is when tourists visit the historical and artistic heritage such as museums, monuments and learn about the customs and tradition of the places they visit.
- Health and beauty tourism: tourists visit spas where they enjoy different treatments to improve their health.
- Congress and convention tourism includes conferences, fairs, convections and business meetings. It takes place in well-connected places with appropriate facilities for this type of activity.
Impacts of tourism
- A) POSITIVE:
- Historic buildings, wildlife and vegetation are given protection.
- Local culture and traditions could be preserved.
- Provides employment in all sectors so areas are experiencing economic development.
- B) NEGATIVE:
- A country becomes over-exposed and culture is lost.
- Habitats are destroyed by building tourist resorts.
- Traditional jobs are replaced by work in the tourist industry
During the 1970s the price of air travel fell. Mass tourism began as package holidays to the warm and dry Mediterranean became very popular. Package holidays include flights, hotels and food. As more people began to travel abroad for their holidays, some national resorts declined. Tourism in the Mediterranean coast exploded and fishing villages in Portugal, Greece and Spain were taken over huge concrete hotels.
By the 1990s many Mediterranean destinations had become over-crowded. Their original beauty and culture had disappeared and people began to look for new unspoilt places to visit. Then long haul destinations such as USA, parts of Asia, and Africa have become popular. However, the tourist industry is always on the lookout for new places to develop.