TOURISM – A BRIEF OVERVIEW
“Tourism” is a concept coined lately as compared to “Travel” which has roots deeply penetrated into the human history. Travel has fascinated man from the very beginning. In fact, from the ancient times, travel has been an important social activity of human. People traveled on foot to hunt, to explore or perform religious obligations. Moreover, food, shelter, and trade were some of the major drives to make people travel.
Human endeavor to explore bounties of the lord was somewhat limited in ancient times. Gradually, human desire to explore new places within the respective realm or beyond the borders, to seek nature’s bounties and pleasure of life, to experience the diversity and the desire to be educated became the essential part of life.
With the steady development in communication and technology over the years, a phenomenal increase in the volume of travel and human interest to explore alien places has further developed. The idea of sailing, the invention of the wheel, the creation of engine, the beginning of commercial airlines, development of infrastructure and the advancement in technology have all brought about phenomenal changes in the travel industry. Likewise, along with scientific discoveries, the socio-economic progress of humans in different societies has also further improved.
The term “tourism” was coined only in recent years and the status of the industry was given to the field after its rapid growth and contribution observed towards human wellbeing. During the last two centuries, the evolutions and fast development of communication and technology helped tourism take new heights. Thus, in the long journey from a dramatic start to quick development patron tourism was defined from diverse perspectives. Before going any further, let’s first differentiate the two basic notions Travel and Tourism.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TRAVEL AND TOURISM
The terms “Travel” and “Tourism” are often used interchangeably but Tourism as a subject is a wider concept than Travel. Tourism encompasses a lot more than Travel alone though Travel is an older notion and remained a strong basis for Tourism to evolve.
Tourism is the journey to and the stay at a destination outside one’s usual place of residence as well as the activities undertaken for leisure and recreation whereas Travel infers journeys undertaken from one place to another for any purpose including work, leisure and/or residence. This implies all tourism includes some travel, but not all travel is tourism.
WHAT IS TOURISM?
Many of us at some point in our lives must have been tourists yet defining it can still be slightly difficult. Despite its growing importance, there is still no harmony on a single definition of tourism because of its multidisciplinary nature. Tourism is a dynamic and ever-developing industry giving birth to new niches and requiring the ability to adapt constantly with respect to change in time, technology, the behavior of tourists/consumers, and a variety of other factors that directly or indirectly impact tourism.
Although tourism is defined in different ways by each institution, yet the essence can be explained in a crux as:
“Tourism is a collection of activities, services, and industries which deliver a travel experience comprising transportation, accommodation, eating and drinking establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses and other hospitality services provided for individuals or groups traveling away from home”
Likewise, leading and conventional institutions have defined tourism in their own perspective. However, to prevent the disagreement, UNWTO defined tourism as:
“Tourism 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”.
WHY IS TOURISM IMPORTANT?
Tourism is a hope. It has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world, even surpasses oil, food, and automobile industries. It has a strong impact on the development accounting for 10 percent of the global GDP and contributing towards the generation of every 11th job. It is now a significant source of income generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings, and promotion of cross-border cooperation, and cross-cultural understanding.
Tourism is an extensive subject and has multidimensional impacts. Its contribution to economic well-being depends on the quality of its offers and revenues generated through offers. The course of tourism activities and operations are linked with and have a strong impact on three major areas including economic, socio-cultural, and environmental which have both positive and negative impact.