Introduction to Tourism



For decades, the tourism industry has experienced continuous growth and deepening, and has diversified into one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely related to the development and contains more and more new destinations. These driving forces have made tourism the main driving force for social and economic development.

The business volume of tourism equals or exceeds the business volume of oil exports, food, or automobiles. The tourism industry has become one of the major participants in international business and also represents one of the main sources of income for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with the growing diversity and competition between destinations.

This global spread of tourism in industrialization and developed countries has produced economic and employment benefits in many related fields (including construction, agriculture, or telecommunications).

In this article, the following topics will be presented:
  • Definition of Tourism
  • Meaning of Tourist
  • Elements of Travel
  • The Nature of a Tour
  • The Tourist Product
  • The Tourist Destination
  • Tourist Services
  • Characteristics of Tourism
  • Importance of Tourism


Definition of Tourism

When referring to tourism, we may talk about the individuals who are visiting a place. They may be there for sightseeing, vacation, visiting friends and relatives, or simply having a great time. They spend their leisure in various activities like swimming, island hopping, or sports. They may simply be in the place to enjoy the environment. We may also say tourism refers to people that are participating during a convention. They may be participating in a business conference or professional activity. People that are taking an educational tour with an expert guide or performing scientific research or study can also mean tourism.

These visitors use all kinds of transportation that include cars, motorcycles, trains, taxis, or bicycles. They are taking a trip thus engaging in tourism.

Professor Hunziker and Krapf created one of the first accepted definitions of tourism. Hunziker and Krapf defined tourism as the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, in so far as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected to any earning activity.

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), stated that 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 involve tourism expenditure.

Britannica described tourism as 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.

Defining tourism as the processes, activities, and outcomes emerging from connections and interactions among tourists, tourism suppliers, host governments, host communities, and surrounding environments that are involved in the attracting and hosting of visitors is acceptable. Tourism is a combination of activities, services, and industries that deliver a travel experience: transportation, accommodations, eating and drinking establishments, shops, entertainment, activity facilities, and other hospitality services available for individuals or groups that are traveling away from home. It encompasses all providers of visitor and visitor-related services. Tourism is the whole world industry of travel, hotels, transportation, and all other components that, including promotion, serve the needs and wants of travelers. Finally, tourism is the sum total of tourist expenditures within the borders of a nation.



Meaning of Tourists

UNWTO classified visitors as tourists if his or her trip includes overnight stay or same-day travel.

A person visiting a country other than that of earning money is defined as visits by the United Nations Conference on International Travel and Tourism in 1963.


There are 2 Classifications of visitors; tourists, and excursionists.


Tourists are temporary visitors staying at least 24 hours, whose purpose could be categorized as:
  • Leisure like recreation, religion, health, study, holiday, or sport
  • Business
  • Mission
  • Family
  • Meeting

Excursionists are brief visitors dwelling less than 24 hours in the destination visited and not making an overnight stay, including cruise travelers in transit.

One of the accepted definitions of tourism is that it 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.”



Category of tourist

  • International tourism
  • Inbound tourism: Visits to a country by nonresidents
  • Outbound tourism: Visits by residents of a country to another country
  • Internal tourism: Visits by residents and nonresidents of the country of reference
  • Domestic tourism: Visits by residents of a country to their own country
  • National tourism: Internal tourism plus outbound tourism (the resident tourism market for travel agents, airlines, and other suppliers)

All visitors are subdivided into two further categories:

  • Same-day visitors: Visitors who do not spend the night in a collective or private accommodation in the country visited—for example, a cruise ship passenger spending four hours in a port or day-trippers visiting an attraction
  • Tourists: Visitors who stay in the country visited for at least one night—for example, a visitor on a two-week vacation

Elements of Travel


  • Sense of Adventure. The tourist seeks various psychic and physical experiences and satisfactions. The nature of these will largely determine the destinations chosen and the activities enjoyed.
  • Fund. providing tourist goods and services. Business People see tourism as an opportunity to make a profit by supplying the goods and services that the tourist market demands.
  • Season. Travel matches the kind of season to a particular destination.
  • Destination. Local people usually see tourism as a cultural and employment factor. Of importance to this group, for example, is the effect of the interaction between large numbers of international visitors and residents. This effect may be beneficial or harmful, or both.

The Nature of Tour
  1. Independent Inclusive Tour (IIT) – the tourist travels to his destination individually.
  2. Group Inclusive Tour (GIT) – the tourist travels to his destination as part of a group.
  3. Independent Tour – the tourist buys these tour separately, either making a reservation in advance or on the spot through a travel agent.
  4. Tour operator – who organizes the package tour purchases transport and hotel accommodation in advance, usually obtaining this at a lower price because he/she is buying it in bulk.
  5. Package tour – sometimes called "inclusive tour" is an arrangement in which transport and accommodation are bought by the tourist at an all-inclusive price.
  6. International tour – the tourist travels across international boundaries.
  7. Domestic tour – the tourist travels within his national boundaries.


The Tourist Product

Tourism Product is "a combination of tangible and intangible elements, such as natural, cultural and man-made resources, attractions, facilities, services and activities around a specific center of interest which represents the core of the destination marketing mix and creates an overall visitor experience including emotional aspects for the potential customers. A tourism product is priced and sold through distribution channels and it has a life-cycle".


Tourism Oriented Products (TOP)

These are the products and services created primarily for the tourists and for the locals.
  • Accommodations
  • Transportations (Ex. Owning taxis, luxury buses, and boats)
  • Retail Travel Agents
  • Tour Operators
  • Shopping centers such as malls
  • Cinema Theaters such as PVR
  • Restaurants for food and beverages
  • Tourist Information Centers
  • Souvenir Outlets
  • Museums, Temples, Gardens, and theme parks

Residents Oriented Products (ROP)

These are products and services created mainly for local residents staying at a particular tourist destination.
  • Hospitals
  • Public Parks
  • Banks and ATMs
  • Petrol Pumps
  • Postal Service

Intangible products of Tourism
  • Bookings of accommodations, theatres, and at various sites
  • Tourist’s experience by visiting a destination, eating at a restaurant, or performing an activity
  • Tourist’s memory which is created by storing details of events and experience on the tour. The high degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction is often stored as long-term memory.


Tourism Products


Urban Tourism is "a type of tourism activity which takes place in an urban space with its inherent attributes characterized by non-agricultural based economy such as administration, manufacturing, trade, and services and by being nodal points of transport. Urban/city destinations offer a broad and heterogeneous range of cultural, architectural, technological, social, and natural experiences and products for leisure and business".

Tourism and sports are interrelated and complementary. Sports – as a professional, amateur, or leisure activity – involves a considerable amount of traveling to play and compete in different destinations and countries. Major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, football, and rugby championships have become powerful tourism attractions in themselves – making a very positive contribution to the tourism image of the host destination.

Gastronomy and Wine Tourism. As global tourism is on the rise and competition between destinations increases, uniquely local and regional intangible cultural heritage becomes increasingly the discerning factor for the attraction of tourists.

Mountain Tourism is a type of "tourism activity which takes place in a defined and limited geographical space such as hills or mountains with distinctive characteristics and attributes that are inherent to a specific landscape, topography, climate, biodiversity (flora and fauna) and the local community. It encompasses a broad range of outdoor leisure and sports activities".


Shopping Tourism is becoming an increasingly relevant component of the tourism value chain. Shopping has converted into a determinant factor affecting destination choice, an important component of the overall travel experience, and, in some cases the prime travel motivation.


Other Types of Tourism

Recreational Tourism – it is done for enjoyment, amusement or pleasure, and considered to be “fun”.

Environmental Tourism – travel to destinations where the flora and fauna are the main attractions.

Historical Tourism – travel that focuses on the history of someplace, thing, or events.

Ethnic Tourism – traveling to distant places looking at their routes and attending to family obligations.

Cultural Tourism – travel that is concerned with the country or region’s culture and lifestyle, history, art, architecture, religions, and other elements that helped shape the way of life of people in geographical areas.

Adventure Tourism – it involves exploration or travel to remote, exotic, and possibly hostile areas.

Medical or Health Tourism – where people travel for medical needs.

Religious Tourism – it involves followers of faith visiting locations that some people regard as holy sites.

Music Tourism – a part of pleasure tourism which tourists travel to a new area in order to attend a music show or concert, or a larger festival.

Village Tourism – traveling and arranging tours in order to popularize various village destinations

Wildlife Tourism – travel that includes interacting with wild animals in their natural habitat actively or passively.

Water Tourism – traveling by boat with the objective of watching and enjoying things meant for water tourists.

Space Tourism – travel into space for personal leisure

Archeological Tourism – a process whereby people travel to historical and archeological places of interest.

Educational Tourism – to obtain an educational certificate or graduate degree subject from a specific institution on or to acquire necessary expertise and skills in a specific field.
Tourist Destination is a city, town, or another area that is significantly dependent on revenues from tourism, or "a country, state, region, city, or town which is marketed or markets itself as a place for tourists to visit’ that may contain one or more tourist attractions.


Tourist Destination is a city, town, or another area that is significantly dependent on revenues from tourism, or "a country, state, region, city, or town which is marketed or markets itself as a place for tourists to visit’ that may contain one or more tourist attractions.


Tourism Services

These are components of tourism services that have a bearing on tourist satisfaction by providing services.



  • Accommodation Management
  • Association - an organization, usually non-profit with member
  • Attraction - a venue or site which is of interest to be viewed or visited by tourists
  • Aviation Authority - authority that regulates the aviation industry.
  • Destination Marketing Organisation - responsible for the marketing of a destination
  • Education and Training
  • Financial Services - these are members accredited to provide financial services
  • Insurance
  • Language School - a company whose business is training language directed and pertinent to tourism.
  • Legal - companies that offer legal assistance for tourism-related issues.
  • Marketing Company - a company that markets for profit tourism businesses
  • Nature Reserve
  • Publishing - a business offering publishing services to tourism enterprises
  • Restaurant
  • Retail Attraction - a shop or shopping complex
  • Technology - a company offering technology-related services to tourism enterprises
  • Tour Guide Services - pertains to a person who provides assistance and information on cultural, historical, and contemporary heritage to tourists on organized tours at educational establishments, religious and historical sites, museums, and at attraction sites.
  • Tourism Assistance - a body offering assistance such as funding or training
  • Tourism Management Consultants - consultants for managing tourism products
  • Training Body - a company whose core business is training directed and pertinent to tourism.
  • Vehicle Manufacturer - provider of vehicles and transportations


Characteristics of Tourism


  • Perishability is one of the most important characteristics of the tourism industry. The products/services in the tourism and travel industry are consumed as they are produced. Hotel rooms and cable car seats cannot be warehoused for futures sales. When a hotel room is not booked tonight, you cannot take ‘tonight’ and sell it tomorrow. Once the train left the station, unused capacity cannot be sold afterwards – provided that it was no time-traveling train. As an uncertainty in customer demand leverages this issue, hotels and travel agencies tend to overbook available rooms and seats. Finding an alternative product for the customer and living with the consequences of overbooking is statistically more economical.


  • Inconsistency. Products of the tourism industry always differ. Even the same hotel room in the same week with the same weather can be perceived differently due to the mood of the chef. It is always about the experience that the customer makes. Rational product attributes like price, nights of stay, and additional services can only be compared to a minor degree. It is challenging to deal with the customer perception of the product (the perceived quality) as it is highly affected by numerous non influenceable aspects such as weather, construction sites, other customers etc. Hence, the product is very inconsistent and cannot be standardized.


  • People-Oriented. The tourism industry builds entirely upon people. The interaction between the staff and the customer determines the perceived product quality. Unlike tangible products where the customer buys certain features, production quality, durability etc. the holiday quality results from personal interactions starting with the information and booking process over the stay up to the journey home.


  • Inseparability. Most travel products are first sold and the produced and consumed at the same time. This is an aspect which clearly sets tourism apart from tangible products. When you buy a new computer it is produced and shipped before you see it on the website or at the retailer’s premise. The consumption of that computer – using it – takes place after purchase at your home. You cannot take the hotel room home – only the small bottles of shampoo and toothpaste. And you cannot enjoy the alpine sleigh ride in your living room. Tourism products can only be consumed at the supplier’s premise.


  • Intangibility. Tourism products are intangible. A night in a hotel, a day in a ski-resort, the calm flight with the nice attendant, and the smiling tour-guide taking you to the peak of an alpine mountain – all this cannot be touched. Tourism is all about the time spent and the experience made. The products sold by tourism companies both can’t be reproduced or reused. Nor can the feeling of consumption be captured to its full extent. There are merely attempts with photographs and video cameras. Probably everybody was already in the situation where you showed your holiday pictures to your family or friends and said “Well, it looked better when I was there. The picture cannot really reproduce the sentiment) Tourism is a subjective picture planted into the customers’ minds


  • Inflexibility. Travel products are fairly inflexible in terms of fluctuation. Hotels cannot change their capacities quickly enough to react to spontaneous fluctuations in demand. Hence, such companies try to balance between high and low demands, so that it’s not too much of a pain for the company when restaurant tables remain empty and for customers when there are no more tables available.


  • Imitability. Offers and products by tourism companies are generally easy to copy. When the neighbor hotel adds a masseur to its SPA offer you more or less only need somebody with a firm grip and here you go. So how can hotels build a unique selling proposition? Originality, consistency, location etc. – but not by hoping that their services are not imitable.


  • Investment and Immobility. Talking about hotels and other accommodations there is usually a big capital lockup in the assets. Hotels have furniture, restaurants, TV-sets, laundry-service, pools, saunas etc. – invested capital that has to pay off. Those investments are attached to one locality which means that those tourism companies are to a huge extent dependent on the attractiveness of the region, the country, its surroundings and so forth.


Benefits of Tourism


  • Provides employment opportunities, both skilled and unskilled, because it is a labor-intensive industry
  • Generates a supply of needed foreign exchange Increases incomes
  • Creates increased gross national product
  • Can be built on existing infrastructure
  • Develops an infrastructure that will also help stimulate local commerce and industry
  • Can be developed with local products and resources
  • Helps to diversify the economy
  • Tends to be one of the most compatible economic development activities available to an area, complementing other economic activities
  • Spreads development Has a high multiplier impact Increases governmental revenues
  • Broadens educational and cultural horizons and improves feelings of self-worth
  • Improves the quality of life related to a higher level of income and improved standards of living
  • Reinforces preservation of heritage and tradition
  • Justifies environmental protection and improvement
  • Provides employment for artists, musicians, and other performing artists because of visitor interest in the local culture, thereby enhancing the cultural heritage
  • Provides tourist and recreational facilities that may be used by a local population
  • Breaks down language barriers, sociocultural barriers, class barriers, racial barriers, political barriers, and religious barriers
  • Creates a favorable worldwide image for a destination Promotes a global community
  • Promotes international understanding and peace

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