Short Essay on the Nature and Concept of Tourism (1366 Words)

It is further backed up by the fact that one does find the expressions like ‘journeying’ ‘travel’ and its original form ‘travail’ along with the terms denoting particular forms of travel such as ‘pilgrimage’ in the travel literature of the medieval era.

Leiper comes out with an appealing but searching hypothesis, called the ‘tie la tour’ hypothesis respecting the etymology of tourism that the word tourism was evolved from a family name, from an unsigned article in ‘International Tourism History’.

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The essay reveals that the Duke of Burgundy signed a business treaty with England in 1516 which led to an unforeseen increase in the number of the English travelling across the channel.

The Duke favoured a family named ‘de la tour’ by granting it a monopoly in the lucrative venture relating to effecting provision for travel and accommodation as representative of the visiting English. Shortly, the English travellers were found giving voice to ‘taking a tour’ which over time turned into ‘tour-ist’ and ‘tour-ism’.

It is also believed that the word ‘tour’ in the context of tourism became established in the English language by the 18th century. On the other hand, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word tourism first came to light in English in the early 19th century (1811) from a Greek word ‘tornus’ meaning a round shaped tool. However, if the de la tour hypothesis is true, it suggests that the pre-arranged packaged tours did exist even in those days.

Travel is deep-seated in the primaeval days of yore but tourism is a phenomenal occurrence of contemporary origin. According to Burkart and Medlik (1974), travel implies “journeys undertaken from one place to another for any purpose including journeys to work and as a part of employment, as part of leisure and to take up residence.

All tourism includes some travel but not all travel is tourism”. The concept and/or percept of travel customarily signify the movement of people. Ritchie, Brent and Goeldner (1984) in their title ‘Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Research’ highlight that “It is common practice to use the words ‘travel’ and ‘tourism’ either singly or in combination to describe three types of concepts: (a) the movement of people; (b) a sector of economy or an industry; and (c) a broad system of interacting relationship of people, their needs to travel outside their communities, and services which attempt to respond to their needs”.

In other words, tourism, which is often in common parlance synonymised with travel, is, in fact, much more than that. While, of course, travel is an essential ingredient of tourism, the latter concept encompasses much more than travel alone, i.e. tourism term is somewhat a recent phenomenon distinguishable from travel by its mass character.

A person may, and often does, travel for a wide variety of purposes, of which tourism is only one. However, if purposely handled, part of the travel for non-tourism purposes can be motivated into travel for tourism as an additional purpose alongside the initial, primary purpose.

For example, a person on a journey for some other purpose to a metropolis or some other location with one or more tourist attractions – a lake, a spot of scenic beauty or of historical significance, a cultural or religious centre, a pilgrimage, an architectural or national wonder, etc. – can be induced to spare some time and money for a short and long visit and/or stay for tourism purpose alone.

In this sense, every traveller is a ‘potential’ tourist, it now depends upon the managers of the industry to tap this potential and convert the ‘potential’ into ‘actual’ tourist. Nevertheless, of late, there is a growing recognition and general agreement towards greater use of the term ‘tourism’ either by itself or jointly with ‘travel’ to detail the study concerned with travel outside the local community.

Also, the international organizations like the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the Tourism Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) use the concept/notion ‘tourism’ and not ‘travel’.

Furthermore, in the developed countries like the United States (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) there has been a favourable shift in the attitude towards the use of the term ‘tourism’. However, in respect of area, the majority is of the view that it should be described as ‘travel and tourism”.

Concept of Tourism:

Notionally, tourism as a phenomenon means the movement of people (both within and across the national borders). But it seems that even up to the present clear-cut disagreements, contradictions and contrasts do exist on the conceptual meaning of tourism amongst different groups whereas the term originated much earlier.

Wahab (1975) opines about the anatomy or structural framework of the phenomenon as that “it is basically composed of three elements, namely, man (the human element as the author of the act of tourism), space (the physical element to be necessarily covered by the act itself), and time (the temporal element which is consumed by the trip itself and the stay at the distribution)”.

Of the three, the time element, however, is variable in line with the distance between the points of departure and the destination areas/countries, modes of transport used and the duration or length of stay at the destination, etc.

These three elements, indeed, comprise the crucial conditions for the life of tourism phenomenon as there could hardly be any such activity in the absence of even any one of these.

In addition, the other factors characterizing tourism as distinct from simple feat of travelling pinpointed by Wahab relate to the purpose, the pro tempore (here today and gone tomorrow) nature of displacement, utilization of facilities and the underlying notions of pleasure and recreation. Nonetheless in cases, viz. business tourists and students, pleasure and recreation is somewhat peripheral.

On the whole, the precept of tourism is typified by:

(i) A movement of people to different destinations having two key elements: one, the journey and two, the stay, both of which come off not within but outside the normal area/place of domicile and work;

(ii) The movement is primarily of a temporary nature and for relatively a short duration making it different from migration;

(iii) It brings about activities dissimilar to those of the host population of the place visited;

(iv) The prime purpose for participation in tourism is by and large recreation and certainly not the purpose of seeking permanent residence or employment remunerated from within the place visited and, finally;

(v) Tourism, in an abstract sense, is basically a pleasure activity implying a use of readily disposable incomes and of free time of one’s own free will.

An inherent feature of difference between tourism and other forms of leisure, pleasure and recreation is in terms of the travel component. Moreover, money grossed in one’s acknowledged domicile is spent at the destination and en route to it.

According to Burkart and Medlik, “tourism, in this sense, represents a particular use of leisure and a particular form of recreation, but does not include all uses of leisure nor all forms of recreation.

Conceptually, tourism is, therefore, distinguished in particular from the related concepts of leisure and recreation, on the one hand and from travel and migration, on the other hand”.

Further, in an economic and commercial sense, tourism can also be characterized from other forms of leisure activity 011 the basis of the travel and stay attitudes of tourism. These, in turn, generate several service demands which are provided by different segments of the tourism industry.

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