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France is the most visited country, while the US earns the most.[1][2]
Pyramid of Kukulkan, Chichen Itza, México
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha– royal chapel within the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand.

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".[3] Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2007, there were over 903 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 6.6% as compared to 2006. International tourist receipts were USD 856 billion in 2007.[4]

Despite the uncertainties in the global economy, international tourist arrivals during the first four months of 2008 followed a similar growth trend than the same period in 2007.[4] However, as a result of the economic crisis of 2008, 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, while growth from January to April 2008 had reached an average 5.7% compared to its 2007 level. Growth from 2006 to 2007 was only 3.7%, as total international tourism arrivals from January to August were 641 million tourists, up from 618 million in the same period in 2007.[5]

Tourism is vital for many countries, such as the U.A.E, Egypt, Greece and Thailand, and many island nations, such as The Bahamas, Fiji, Maldives and the Seychelles, 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."[6] 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."[citation needed] 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.[7]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Intrabound tourism differs from domestic tourism in that the former encompasses policymaking and implementation of national tourism policies.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] Some national policymakers have shifted their priority to the promotion of intrabound tourism to contribute to the local economy. Examples of such campaigns include: "See America" in the United States; "Truly Asia" in Malaysia; "Get Going Canada" in Canada; "Peru. Live the Legend" in Peru; "Wow Philippines" in the Philippines; "Uniquely Singapore" in Singapore; "100% Pure New Zealand" in New Zealand; "Amazing Thailand" in Thailand; "Incredible India" in India; and "The Hidden Charm" in Vietnam.[citation needed]

World tourism statistics and rankings

Most visited countries

The World Tourism Organization reports the following ten countries as the most visited in 2007 by number of international travelers. When compared to 2006, Ukraine entered the top ten list, surpassing Russia, Austria and Mexico. Most of the top visited countries continue to be on the European continent.

Rank Country UNWTO
1  France Europe 81.9 million 79.1 million
2  Spain Europe 59.2 million 58.5 million
3  United States North America 56.0 million 51.1 million
4  China Asia 54.7 million 49.6 million
5  Italy Europe 43.7 million 41.1 million
6  United Kingdom Europe 30.7 million 30.7 million
7  Germany Europe 24.4 million 23.6 million
8  Ukraine Europe 23.1 million 18.9 million
9  Turkey Europe 22.2 million 18.9 million
10  Mexico North America 21.4 million 21.4 million

International tourism receipts

International tourist receipts were USD 96.7 billion in 2007, up from USD 85.7 billion in 2006. When the export value of international passenger travel receipts is accounted for, total receipts in 2007 reached a record of USD 1.02 trillion or 3 billion a day.[4] The World Tourism Organization reports the following countries as the top ten tourism earners for the year 2007. 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  United States North America $96.7 billion $85.7 billion
2  Spain Europe $57.8 billion $51.1 billion
3  France Europe $54.2 billion $46.3 billion
4  Italy Europe $42.7 billion $38.1 billion
5  China Asia $41.9 billion $33,9 billion
6  United Kingdom Europe $37.6 billion $33.7 billion
7  Germany Europe $36.0 billion $32.8 billion
8  Australia Oceania $22.2 billion $17.8 billion
9  Austria Europe $18.9 billion $16.6 billion
10  Turkey Europe $18.5 billion $16.9 billion

International tourism top spenders

The World Tourism Organization reports the following countries as the top ten biggest spenders on international tourism for the year 2007. For the fifth year in a row, German tourists continue as the top spenders.[4] A study by Dresdner Bank[9] forecasts that for 2008, Germans and Europeans, in general, will continue to be the top spenders, because of the strength of the Euro against the United States dollar, with strong demand for the U.S. in favor of other destinations.[10]

Rank Country UNWTO
1  Germany Europe $82.9 billion $73.9 billion
2  United States North America $76.2 billion $72.1 billion
3  United Kingdom Europe $72.3 billion $63.1 billion
4  France Europe $36.7 billion $31.2 billion
5  China Asia $29.8 billion $24.3 billion
6  Italy Europe $27.3 billion $23.1 billion
7  Japan Asia $26.5 billion $26.9 billion
8  Canada North America $24.8 billion $20.5 billion
9  Russia Europe $22.3 billion $18.2 billion
10  South Korea Asia $20.9 billion $18.9 billion

Most visited attractions

Forbes Traveller released a ranking of the world's 50 most visited tourist attractions in 2007, including both international and domestic tourists.[11] The following are the Top 10 attractions, followed by some other famous sites included within the list of the 50 most visited:[12] It is noticeable that four out of the top five are in North America.

Most visited attractions by domestic and international tourists in 2007[11]
Top 10 ranking tourist attractions
Tourist attraction Location Country Number of
1 Times Square New York City  United States 35
2 National Mall and Memorial Parks Washington, D.C.  United States 25
3 Magic Kingdom Lake Buena Vista, Orlando  United States 16.6
4 Trafalgar Square London  United Kingdom 15
5 Disneyland Anaheim, California  United States 14.7
6 Niagara Falls Ontario & New York  Canada &  United States 14
7 Fisherman's Wharf & Golden Gate San Francisco, California  United States 13
8 Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea Urayasu  Japan 12.9
9 Notre Dame de Paris Paris  France 12
10 Disneyland Paris Paris  France 10.6
Other selected famous destinations
11 Great Wall of China Badaling  China 10
15 Louvre Paris  France 7.5
18 Eiffel Tower Paris  France 6.7
24 Hong Kong Disneyland Hong Kong  China 5.2
28 Universal Studios Los Angeles  United States 4.7
31 Grand Canyon Arizona  United States 4.4
36 Statue of Liberty New York City  United States 4.24
37 Vatican City Vatican City   Vatican City 4.2
38 Sydney Opera House Sydney  Australia 4
39 The Colosseum Rome  Italy 4
42 Empire State Building New York City  United States 4
44 London Eye London  United Kingdom 3.5
47 Giza Pyramids Cairo  Egypt 3
50 Taj Mahal Agra  India 2.4

Most visited cities

Euromonitor released a ranking of the world's 150 most visited cities by international tourists in 2007.[13] The following are the leading 15 cities, according to Euromonitor's ranking:

Most visited cities by international tourists in 2007[13]
Top 15 ranking cities
Ranking City Country Number of
intl. visitors
Ranking City Country Number of
intl. visitors
Ranking City Country Number of
intl. visitors
1 London  United Kingdom 15.34 6 New York City  United States 7.65 11 Barcelona  Spain 5.04
2 Hong Kong  Hong Kong 12.05 7 Toronto  Canada 6.63 12 Seoul  South Korea 4.99
3 Bangkok  Thailand 10.84 8 Dubai  United Arab Emirates 6.54 13 Shanghai  China 4.80
4 Singapore  Singapore 10.28 9 Istanbul  Turkey 6.45 14 Dublin  Ireland 4.63
5 Paris  France 8.76 10 Rome  Italy 6.12 15 Kuala Lumpur  Malaysia 4.40

However, other sources report Paris as the most visited city in the world with 30 million visitors.[14][15][16][17][18]


Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion temple in Kyoto, Japan.
The Matterhorn, near Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.
The Great Bath at the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset, one of the world's first health tourism sites.

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 Baiae, were popular coastal resorts for the rich. The word tourism was used by 1811 and tourist by 1840.[19] In 1936, the League of Nations defined foreign tourist as "someone travelling 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.[20]

Leisure travel

Leisure travel was associated with the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom– the first European country to promote leisure time to the increasing industrial population.[citation needed] 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.[21]

The British origin of this new industry is reflected in many place names. In Nice, France, one of the first and best-established holiday resorts on the French Riviera, 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 English customers.

Many leisure-oriented tourists travel to the tropics, both in the summer and winter. Places often visited are: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, North Queensland in Australia and Florida in the United States.

Winter tourism

Major ski resorts are located in the various European countries (e.g. Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland), Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Chile and Argentina.

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 began to enjoy the benefits of leisure time.

In the United States, the first great seaside resort, in the European style, was Atlantic City, New Jersey and Long Island, New York.

In continental Europe, early resorts included: Ostend, popularized by the people of Brussels; Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) and Deauville (Calvados) for the Parisians; and Heiligendamm, founded in 1797, as the first seaside resort at the Baltic Sea.

Adjectival tourisms

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.[citation needed] Others are emerging concepts that may or may not gain popular usage. Examples of the more common niche tourism markets include:

  1. Culinary tourism
  2. Dark tourism
  3. Disaster tourism
  4. Ecotourism
  5. Heritage tourism
  6. LGBT tourism
  7. Medical tourism
  8. Nautical tourism
  9. Sex tourism
  10. Space tourism
  11. War tourism

Recent developments

Seoul, one of the most visited cities in Asia.
Prague, one of the most visited cities in Europe.
Buenos Aires– one of the most visited cities in South America.

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.[citation needed] Tourists have higher levels of disposable income and greater leisure time and they are also better-educated and have more sophisticated tastes.[citation needed] 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. 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 Bali and several European cities. Also, on December 26, 2004, a tsunami, caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, hit the Asian countries on the Indian Ocean, including the Maldives. 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)[22]


Medical tourism

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

Educational tourism

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.[citation needed] 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.

Other developments

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[citation needed], who as members of the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS), have directed a number of projects for the European Commission, including cultural and crafts tourism, known as sustainable tourism. They have defined "creative tourism" as tourism related to the active participation of travelers in the culture of the host community, through interactive workshops and informal learning experiences.[citation needed]

Meanwhile, the concept of creative tourism has been picked up by high-profile organizations such as UNESCO, 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.[citation needed]

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)[citation needed] 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.[23]


File:2005xtoursim receipts.PNG
International tourism receipts in 2005
The Hagia Sophia– originally a church, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that international tourism will continue growing at the average annual rate of 4 %.[24] By 2020 Europe will remain the most popular destination, but its share will drop from 60% in 1995 to 46%. Long-haul will grow slightly faster than intraregional travel and by 2020 its share will increase from 18% in 1995 to 24%.[citation needed]

With the advent of e-commerce, tourism products have become one of the most traded items on the internet.[citation needed] 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.[25] 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.[citation needed]

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

Latest trends

As a result of the economic crisis of 2008, 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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5]. However, some travel destinations have experienced growth during hard economic times, drawing on low costs of living, accessibility, and friendly immigration laws permitting tourists to stay for extended periods of time. Recession tourism, a phrase coined by Matt Landau in his research about Panama, has evolved as an alternative escape option for nervous crisis-goers in 2009.[citation needed]

Negative impacts

Tourism is the issue that nearly every city faces. It is worldwide and a threat to beaches, famous landmarks,holy areas and also resorts. Attracting a high volume of tourists can have negative impacts, such as the impact of 33 million tourists a year on the city of New York,[26] or the potential to impact fragile environments negatively,[27] or the impact of the December 26, 2004 tsunami on the tourists themselves.[28] The environment can be affected negatively by cruise ship pollution in many ways, including ballast water discharge, and by pollution from aircraft.


Grockel is a dialect term used in the West Country ie the west of England to describe outsiders, especially tourists. The word is little known outside the area so West country people can grumble about Grockels without the tourists realizing they are being got at. Grockels are seen as outsiders who don’t know the area and can be exploited. Frequently the term grockel is used in a way that is mildly disparaging but it can be insulting and rarely can involve real abuse.

We call them grockels round here. Holiday people, people who wear shorts when the weathers shite, push prams with buckets and spades hanging off them, and sit on the beach when its mortal cold. Grockel bashing was my idea. The first one was a fat bloke with massive Eric Morecambe shorts carrying a bag of pop for his kids. We tripped him up outside Boots and pelted him with seaweed. Next was a woman with three kids. We told her this empty garage was where you bought flying-swing tokens then locked them in for four hours. Then we pushed this little bloke with nine ice creams into a load of shell ornaments, smashing the lot.

[29] [30] [31]

See also


  1. ^ "World Tourism Barometer" (PDF). World Tourism Organization. 2007. p. 8. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  2. ^ Tourism Directorate (France) (2007). "Key facts on tourism" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  3. ^ "UNWTO technical manual: Collection of Tourism Expenditure Statistics" (PDF). World Tourism Organization. 1995. p. 14. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer June 2008" (PDF). World Tourism Organization. 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-01. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)Volume 6 No. 2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "WTO2008" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ a b c d World Tourism Organization (2008). "UNWTO World Tourism Barometer October 2008" (PDF). UNWTO. Retrieved 2008-11-17. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help) Volume 6, Issue 3
  6. ^ Werner Hunziker and Kurt (1942). Grundriss der allgemeinen Fremdenverkehrslehre. OCLC 69064371.; cf. Hasso Spode in Günther Haehling (ed.): Tourismus-Management, Berlin 1998
  7. ^ International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism. "The AIEST, its character and aims". Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  8. ^ a b c "UNWTO Tourism Highlights, Edition 2007" (PDF). World Tourism Organization. 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  9. ^ Touristik report. January 2008 (German)
  10. ^ "Monthly Market Report: Germany" (PDF). Tourism Australia. 2008. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  11. ^ a b Forbes Traveller (2007-04-25). "Top 50 Most Visited Tourist Attractions". Retrieved 2008-03-29.CS1 maint: Date and year (link)
  12. ^ The Hopeful Traveler (2007-07-29). "Forbes Traveler 50 Most Visited Tourist Attractions". Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  13. ^ a b Caroline Bremner (2009-01-07). "Trend Watch: Euromonitor International's Top City Destinations Ranking". Euromonitor International. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
  14. ^ "Paris - World's Most Visited City - Leisure and Statistics". January 09-2008. Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  15. ^ "Paris Is The Most Visited City In The World". January 09-2008. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. ^ "Paris: Most visited and most expensive city in the world". January 09-2008. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ "Number One Tourist Destination is Paris". January 09-2008. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ Travel tour France
  19. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary: tour". Retrieved 2008-03-01.
  20. ^ Theobald, William F. (1998). Global Tourism. p. 10. ISBN 0750640227.
  21. ^ "Cox & Kings Website".
  22. ^ Sustainable Tourism
  23. ^ Tourism Principles and Practice, C. Cooper, J. Fletcher, A. Fyall, D. Gilbert, S. Wanhill, Pearson Education, Third edition, Madrid 2005
  24. ^ "Long-term Prospects: Tourism 2020 Vision". World Tourism. 2004.
  25. ^ "airports & tourists". Global Culture. 2007.
  26. ^ Kirby, David (September 27, 1998). "The Tourist Trap; With All Those Visitors Trampling the Welcome Mat, Can New York Be the Host With the Most for Everyone?" (Web). News Article. New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  27. ^ Nicholls, Henry (April 19, 2006). "The tourist trap (The Galapagos islands are the world's prime eco-tourism destination. Now the sheer number of visitors is endangering their future )" (Web). News article. Guardian. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  28. ^ Kurlantzick, Joshua (January 9, 2005). "The True Meaning of the Tourist Trap" (Web). News article. Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  29. ^ grockel*
  30. ^ Grockel bashing
  31. ^

External links