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Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who "travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for more than twenty-four (24) hours and not 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". Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2008, there were over 922 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 1.9% as compared to 2007. International tourism receipts grew to US$944 billion (euro 642 billion) in 2008, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 1.8%.

As a result of the Late-2000s recession, international travel demand suffered a strong slowdown beginning in June 2008, with growth in international tourism arrivals worldwide falling to 2% during the boreal summer months, and this negative trend intensified as international tourist arrivals fell by 8% during the first four months of 2009. Thereafter this declining trend was exacerbated in some regions due to the outbreak of the influenza AH1N1 virus.

Tourism is vital for many countries, such as the U.A.Emarker, Egyptmarker, Greecemarker and Thailandmarker, and many island nations, such as The Bahamasmarker, Fijimarker, Maldivesmarker and the Seychellesmarker, due to the large intake of money for businesses with their goods and services and the opportunity for employment in the service industries associated with tourism. These service industries include transportation services, such as airlines, cruise ships and taxis, hospitality services, such as accommodations, including hotels and resorts, and entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, casinos, shopping malls, various music venues and the theatre.


Hunziker and Krapf, in 1941, defined tourism as people who travel "the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, insofar as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any earning activity." In 1976, the Tourism Society of England's definition was: "Tourism is the temporary, short-term movement of people to destination outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during the stay at each destination. It includes movements for all purposes." In 1981, the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism defined tourism in terms of particular activities selected by choice and undertaken outside the home.

The United Nations classified three forms of tourism in 1994, in its "Recommendations on Tourism Statistics: Domestic tourism", which involves residents of the given country traveling only within this country; Inbound tourism, involving non-residents traveling in the given country; and Outbound tourism, involving residents traveling in another country. The UN also derived different categories of tourism by combining the three basic forms of tourism: Internal tourism, which comprises domestic tourism and inbound tourism; National tourism, which comprises domestic tourism and outbound tourism; and International tourism, which consists of inbound tourism and outbound tourism. Intrabound tourism is a term coined by the Korea Tourism Organization and widely accepted in Korea. Intrabound tourism differs from domestic tourism in that the former encompasses policymaking and implementation of national tourism policies.

Recently, the tourism industry has shifted from the promotion of inbound tourism to the promotion of intrabound tourism, because many countries are experiencing tough competition for inbound tourists.


Vacation, in English-speaking North America, describes recreational travel, such as a short pleasure trip, or a journey abroad. Most of the rest of the English-speaking whose of recent British or European descent, rarely say going on holiday. People in Commonwealth countries also use the phrase, going on leave.

Canadians often use vacation and holiday interchangeably referring to a trip away from home or time off work. In Australia, the term can refer to a vacation or a public holiday.

World tourism statistics and rankings

Most visited countries by international tourist arrivals

The World Tourism Organization reports the following ten countries as the most visited in between 2006 and 2008 by number of international travelers. When compared to 2006, Ukrainemarker entered the top ten list, surpassing Russiamarker, Austriamarker and Mexicomarker, and in 2008 surpassed Germanymarker. In 2008 the U.S.marker displaced Spainmarker from the second place. Most of the top visited countries continue to be on the European continent.

|7||  ||Europe||align="right"|25.4 million||align="right"|23.1 million||align="right"|18.9 million
|10||  ||North America||align="right"|22.6 million||align="right"|21.4 million||align="right"|21.4 million
Rank Country UNWTO











1 Europe 79.3 million 81.9 million 78.9 million
2 North America 58.0 million 56.0 million 51.0 million
3 Europe 57.3 million 58.7 million 58.2 million
4 Asia 53.0 million 54.7 million 49.9 million
5 Europe 42.7 million 43.7 million 41.1 million
6 Europe 30.2 million 30.9 million 30.7 million
8 Europe 25.0 million 22.2 million 18.9 million
9 Europe 24.9 million 24.4 million 23.5 million

International tourism receipts

In 2008, there were over 922 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 1.9% as compared to 2007. International tourism receipts grew to US$944 billion (euro 642 billion) in 2008, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 1.8% on 2007. When the export value of international passenger transport receipts is accounted for, total receipts in 2008 reached a record of US$1.1 trillion, or over US$3 billion a day.

The World Tourism Organization reports the following countries as the top ten tourism earners for the year 2008. It is noticeable that most of them are on the European continent, but the United States continues to be the top earner.

Rank Country UNWTO











1 North America $110.1 billion $96.7 billion $85.7 billion
2 Europe $61.6 billion $57.6 billion $51.1 billion
3 Europe $55.6 billion $54.3 billion $46.3 billion
4 Europe $45.7 billion $42.7 billion $38.1 billion
5 Asia $40.8 billion $37.2 billion $33.9 billion
6 Europe $40.0 billion $36.0 billion $32.8 billion
7 Europe $36.0 billion $38.6 billion $33.7 billion
8 Oceania $24.7 billion $22.3 billion $17.8 billion
9 Europe $22.0 billion $18.5 billion $16.9 billion
10 Europe $21.8 billion $18.9 billion $16.6 billion

International tourism expenditures

The World Tourism Organization reports the following countries as the top ten biggest spenders on international tourism for the year 2008. For the fifth year in a row, German tourists continue as the top spenders.

Rank Country UNWTO











1 Europe $91.0 billion $83.1 billion $73.9 billion
2 North America $79.7 billion $76.4 billion $72.1 billion
3 Europe $68.5 billion $71.4 billion $63.1 billion
4 Europe $43.1 billion $36.7 billion $31.2 billion
5 Asia $36.2 billion $29.8 billion $24.3 billion
6 Europe $30.8 billion $27.3 billion $23.1 billion
7 Asia $27.9 billion $26.5 billion $26.9 billion
8 North America $26.9 billion $24.7 billion $20.5 billion
9 Europe $24.9 billion $22.3 billion $18.2 billion
10 Europe $21.7 billion $19.1 billion $17.0 billion

Most visited cities

Top 21 most visited cities by estimated number of international visitors by selected year
City Country International


Parismarker 15.6 2007 (Excluding extra-muros visitors)
Londonmarker 14.8 2008
Bangkokmarker 10.84 2007 (External study estimation)
Singaporemarker 10.1 2008
New York Citymarker 9.5 2008
Hong Kongmarker 7.94 2008 (excluding Mainland China)
Istanbulmarker 7.05 2008
Dubaimarker 6.9 2007
Shanghai 6.66 2007
Romemarker 6.12 2007 (External study estimation)
Seoulmarker 4.99 2007 (External study estimation)
Barcelonamarker 4.72 2008
Madridmarker 4.64 2008
Meccamarker 4.5 2007
Kuala Lumpurmarker 4.4 2007 (External study estimation)
Beijing 4.4 2007
Moscowmarker 4.1 2008
Praguemarker 4.1 2008
Athensmarker 3.87 2007
Amsterdammarker 3.66 2008
Viennamarker 3.53 2008


Wealthy people have always traveled to distant parts of the world, to see great buildings, works of art, learn new languages, experience new cultures and to taste different cuisines. Long ago, at the time of the Roman Republic, places such as Baiaemarker were popular coastal resorts for the rich. The word tourism was used by 1811 and tourist by 1840. In 1936, the League of Nations defined foreign tourist as "someone traveling abroad for at least twenty-four hours". Its successor, the United Nations, amended this definition in 1945, by including a maximum stay of six months.

Leisure travel

Leisure travel was associated with the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdommarker the first European country to promote leisure time to the increasing industrial population. Initially, this applied to the owners of the machinery of production, the economic oligarchy, the factory owners and the traders. These comprised the new middle class. Cox & Kings was the first official travel company to be formed in 1758.

The British origin of this new industry is reflected in many place names. In Nicemarker, Francemarker, one of the first and best-established holiday resorts on the French Rivieramarker, the long esplanade along the seafront is known to this day as the Promenade des Anglais; in many other historic resorts in continental Europe, old, well-established palace hotels have names like the Hotel Bristol, the Hotel Carlton or the Hotel Majestic reflecting the dominance of Englishmarker customers.

Many leisure-oriented tourists travel to the tropics, both in the summer and winter. Places often visited are: Cubamarker, the Dominican Republicmarker, Thailandmarker, North Queensland in Australia and Floridamarker in the United Statesmarker.

Winter tourism

Major ski resorts are located in the various European countries (e.g. Austriamarker, Bulgariamarker, Czech Republicmarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Icelandmarker, Italymarker, Norwaymarker, Poland, Swedenmarker, Slovakiamarker, Spainmarker, Switzerlandmarker), Canadamarker, the United Statesmarker, Australia, New Zealandmarker, Japanmarker, South Koreamarker, Chilemarker and Argentinamarker.

Mass tourism

Mass tourism could only have developed with the improvements in technology, allowing the transport of large numbers of people in a short space of time to places of leisure interest, so that greater numbers of people could begin to enjoy the benefits of leisure time.

In the United Statesmarker, the first seaside resorts in the European style were at Atlantic Citymarker, New Jerseymarker and Long Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker.

In Continental Europe, early resorts included: Ostendmarker, popularized by the people of Brusselsmarker; Boulogne-sur-Mermarker (Pas-de-Calais) and Deauvillemarker (Calvadosmarker) for the Parisiansmarker; and Heiligendammmarker, founded in 1797, as the first seaside resort on the Baltic Seamarker.

Adjectival tourism

Adjectival tourism refers to the numerous niche or specialty travel forms of tourism that have emerged over the years, each with its own adjective. Many of these have come into common use by the tourism industry and academics. Others are emerging concepts that may or may not gain popular usage. Examples of the more common niche tourism markets include:
  1. Agritourism
  2. Culinary tourism
  3. Cultural tourism
  4. Ecotourism
  5. Heritage tourism
  6. LGBT tourism
  7. Medical tourism
  8. Nautical tourism
  9. Religious tourism
  10. Space tourism
  11. War tourism
  12. Wildlife tourism

Recent developments

There has been an upmarket trend in the tourism over the last few decades, especially in Europe, where international travel for short breaks is common. Tourists have higher levels of disposable income and greater leisure time and they are also better-educated and have more sophisticated tastes. There is now a demand for a better quality products, which has resulted in a fragmenting of the mass market for beach vacations; people want more specialised versions, such as Club 18-30, quieter resorts, family-oriented holidays or niche market-targeted destination hotels.

The developments in technology and transport infrastructure, such as jumbo jets, low-cost airlines and more accessible airports have made many types of tourism more affordable. WHO estimates that up to 500,000 people are on planes at any time. There have also been changes in lifestyle, such as retiree-age people who sustain year round tourism. This is facilitated by internet sales of tourism products. Some sites have now started to offer dynamic packaging, in which an inclusive price is quoted for a tailor-made package requested by the customer upon impulse.

There have been a few setbacks in tourism, such as the September 11 attacks and terrorist threats to tourist destinations, such as in Balimarker and several European cities. Also, on December 26, 2004, a tsunami, caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquakemarker, hit the Asian countries on the Indian Oceanmarker, including the Maldivesmarker. Thousands of lives were lost and many tourists died. This, together with the vast clean-up operation in place, has stopped or severely hampered tourism to the area.

The terms tourism and travel are sometimes used interchangeably. In this context, travel has a similar definition to tourism, but implies a more purposeful journey. The terms tourism and tourist are sometimes used pejoratively, to imply a shallow interest in the cultures or locations visited by tourists.

Sustainable tourism

"Sustainable tourism is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems." (World Tourism Organization)

Sustainable development implies "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987)


Recession tourism

Recession tourism is a travel trend, which evolved by way of the world economic crisis. Identified by American entrepreneur Matt Landau (2007), recession tourism is defined by low-cost, high-value experiences taking place of once-popular generic retreats. Various recession tourism hotspots have seen business boom during the recession thanks to comparatively low costs of living and a slow world job market suggesting travelers are elongating trips where the dollar travels further.

Medical tourism

When there is a significant price difference between countries for a given medical procedure, particularly in Southeast Asia, Indiamarker, Eastern Europe and where there are different regulatory regimes, in relation to particular medical procedures (e.g. dentistry), traveling to take advantage of the price or regulatory differences is often referred to as "medical tourism".

Educational tourism-EduTourism

Educational tourism developed, because of the growing popularity of teaching and learning of knowledge and the enhancing of technical competency outside of the classroom environment. By definition, EduTourism is travel for the purpose of formal or informal education and life long learning in unique natural, historical & multi-cultural environments. It refers to any tourism program or product offering in which participants travel to a location with the primary purpose of engaging in a learning experience.

EduTourism benefits the local economy and enhances the general population at the same time as educating and enriching the lives of the individuals who participate in these programs. In educational tourism, the main focus of the tour or leisure activity includes visiting another country to learn about the culture, such as in Student Exchange Programs and Study Tours, or to work and apply skills learned inside the classroom in a different environment, such as in the International Practicum Training Program.

Creative tourism

Creative tourism has existed as a form of cultural tourism, since the early beginnings of tourism itself. Its European roots date back to the time of the Grand Tour, which saw the sons of aristocratic families traveling for the purpose of mostly interactive, educational experiences. More recently, creative tourism has been given its own name by Crispin Raymond and Greg Richards , who as members of the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS), have directed a number of projects for the European Commissionmarker, including cultural and crafts tourism, known as sustainable tourism. They have defined "creative tourism" as tourism related to the active participation of travellers in the culture of the host community, through interactive workshops and informal learning experiences.

Meanwhile, the concept of creative tourism has been picked up by high-profile organizations such as UNESCOmarker, who through the Creative Cities Network, have endorsed creative tourism as an engaged, authentic experience that promotes an active understanding of the specific cultural features of a place.

More recently, creative tourism has gained popularity as a form of cultural tourism, drawing on active participation by travelers in the culture of the host communities they visit. Several countries offer examples of this type of tourism development, including the United Kingdom, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Spain, Italy and New Zealand.

Dark tourism

One emerging area of special interest tourism has been identified by Lennon and Foley (2000) as "dark" tourism. This type of tourism involves visits to "dark" sites, such as battlegrounds, scenes of horrific crimes or acts of genocide, for example: concentration camps. Dark tourism poses severe ethical and moral dilemmas: should these sites be available for visitation and, if so, what should the nature of the publicity involved be. Dark tourism remains a small niche market, driven by varied motivations, such as mourning, remembrance, macabre curiosity or even entertainment. Its early origins are rooted in fairgrounds and medieval fairs.


International tourism receipts in 2005

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that international tourism will continue growing at the average annual rate of 4 %. With the advent of e-commerce, tourism products have become one of the most traded items on the internet. Tourism products and services have been made available through intermediaries, although tourism providers (hotels, airlines, etc.) can sell their services directly. This has put pressure on intermediaries from both on-line and traditional shops.

It has been suggested there is a strong correlation between tourism expenditure per capita and the degree to which countries play in the global context. Not only as a result of the important economic contribution of the tourism industry, but also as an indicator of the degree of confidence with which global citizens leverage the resources of the globe for the benefit of their local economies. This is why any projections of growth in tourism may serve as an indication of the relative influence that each country will exercise in the future.

Space tourism is expected to "take off" in the first quarter of the 21st century, although compared with traditional destinations the number of tourists in orbit will remain low until technologies such as a space elevator make space travel cheap.

Technological improvement is likely to make possible air-ship hotels, based either on solar-powered airplanes or large dirigibles. Underwater hotels, such as Hydropolismarker, expected to open in Dubaimarker in 2009, will be built. On the ocean, tourists will be welcomed by ever larger cruise ships and perhaps floating cities.

Latest trends

As a result of the Late-2000s recession, international arrivals suffered a strong slowdown beginning in June 2008. Growth from 2007 to 2008 was only 3.7% during the first eight months of 2008. The Asian and Pacific markets were affected and Europe stagnated during the boreal summer months, while the Americas performed better, reducing their expansion rate but keeping a 6% growth from January to August 2008. Only the Middle East continued its rapid growth during the same period, reaching a 17% growth as compared to the same period in 2007. This slowdown on international tourism demand was also reflected in the air transport industry, with a negative growth in September 2008 and a 3.3% growth in passenger traffic through September. The hotel industry also reports a slowdown, as room occupancy continues to decline. As the global economic situation deteriorated dramatically during September and October as a result of the global financial crisis, growth of international tourism is expected to slow even further for the remaining of 2008, and this slowdown in demand growth is forecasted to continue into 2009 as recession has already hit most of the top spender countries, with long-haul travel expected to be the most affected by the economic crisis. This negative trend intensified as international tourist arrivals fell by 8% during the first four months of 2009, and the decline was exacerbated in some regions due to the outbreak of the influenza AH1N1 virus.


See also


External links

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