Tourism as a Major International Industry- Essay

Adding to the convenience and attractiveness of long-distance tourism were the availability of traveller’s cheques, which reduced the risks of travel; the incentive of reduced fares by way of Eurail passes, issued by Europe’s state-owned railway systems; the growth in the United States of reduced-fare charter flights for groups; deferred payment plans; travel packages that combined several different kinds of transportation options in addition to meeting the tourist’s preferences in hotel accommodations and guided tours; and a wide variety of specialized group tours catering to interests as diverse as gardening, archaeology, wine tasting, country churches, hunting and fishing, Mogul art and architecture, wild-animal photography safaris, theatergoing in London’s West End, and simply meeting and socializing with people. Since the 1960s the nationals of most European countries, once again prosperous after a postwar economic struggle of 15 to 20 years, and of Japan have also shared in these travel trends.

The two studies discussed above give a fair idea about the evolution of tourism since the ancient times. The one incorporated in Chambers’s Encyclopaedia highlights the presence of touristic activities in the ancient Greece and tries to relate it with the first ever Olympics.

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The purpose of visit being mainly confined to pilgrimage for different sects of the society in different regions of the globe. However, it was not before the 18th century when there was a change in attitude of the populations in terms of giving value to things which were no good or of no earthly use earlier, especially nature.

Again, the reading in Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia “Tourism from Ancient Times through the Eighteenth Century” focuses, among others, on the concept of ‘Grand Tour’. Interestingly, the two references brought out in different continents emphasize mainly on the respective regions in respect of tourism development.

Nevertheless, the two studies do agree and conform that the travel in the good old days was not a pleasure rather that was hazardous and tiresome due to poor infrastructure, means of communication and transport, in general.

These have largely been the technological advances in transport and the elements of travel trade – be it the stagecoach, steamships, railways or motor coaches and travel intermediaries especially in the nineteenth century – that added to the convenience and magnetism/attractiveness of the long-distance travel.

With the background of foregoing dimensions and the other literature available, a generalized study of evolution of tourism comprising different aspects can be described as under.

From ancient times, people travelled, for the most part impelled and propelled by hunger or to circumvent jeopardy; their remains are widespread. For instance, fossil remains of Homo erectus (the first true people) have been found in Western Europe, Africa, China and Japan.

This fact, in itself, rightly bespeaks the conspicuous faculty of such early people to make long-haul travel under prehistoric conditions. The discovery of money by the Sumerians (Balylonia) and the development of trade, beginning about 4000 B.C., in all likelihood characterize the beginning of the modern era of travel.

The Sumerians deserve to be accredited as the father of the travel business as they not only coined the idea of money but also invented cuneiform (of or using writing composed of wedge-shaped marks) writing and the wheel.

Apart from this, almost as early as five thousand year ago, cruises were arranged and conducted from Egypt. In all probability, the maiden journey ever made with the object of peace and tourism was the one by Queen Hatshepsut to the lands of Punt (believed to be the present Somalia) in 149 B.C. and one can find the descriptions of this tour recorded on the walls of the Temple of Deity Bahari at Luxor.

The colossi Memnon at Thebes have on their pedestals the names inscribed of Greek tourists of the fifth century B.C.”The revelations made by the recorded history reveal that the Phoenicians were most likely the first real business travellers in the modern sense that they travelled from one place to another as traders. Travel in the early times in the Orient, specifically in China and India, was also mainly on account of trade.

Oceanians:

Out of early voyages, those in Oceania are electrifying. Small dugou canoes, not more than 40 feet in length, were used for voyages from Southeast Asia southward and eastward through what is now known as Micronesia across the Pacific to the Marquesas Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago and the Society Islands.

Around 500 A.D., Polynesians from the Society Islands travelled to Hawaii, a stretch exceeding 2000 miles, with hardly anything in the form of navigation facilities; it was carried out by conforming to the position of the sun and stars, ocean billows and tides, clouds, and bird flights. This type of sea travel was, indeed, amazing especially in view of the problems of fresh water and food supplies.

Mediterranean Peoples:

In the ancient cradle of Western civilization, travel for trade, commerce, religious purposes, health designs, or education motive developed at an early date. The recorded history in the Old Testament is full of plentiful citations of caravans and traders.

Ancient Rome:

In Asia Minor, beginning with the setting up of a populist republican government in Ephesus by Alexander the Great in 334 B.C., some 0.7 million tourists would throng into Ephesus (now Turkey) in a single season to be entertained by the acrobats, animal feats, jugglers, magicians, and prostitutes who overspread and crowded the streets. Ephesus also became an important trading centre and, under Alexander, was one of the most important cities in the ancient world.

Europeans:

The fall of the Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries amounted to calamity and cataclysm for pleasure travel and tourism in Europe. During the period from the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, 476A.D. to the onset of the modern era, 1450 A.D., known as the Dark Ages, these were only the most adventurous who would dare to travel as travel was very hazardous and vulnerable.

Whilst throughout this period, the most outstanding anomaly in Europe was the crusades; these were the European pilgrims who were taking a trip to the religious shrines on that content, by the close of the Dark Ages. Besides, in close to 982 A.D., Epic sea travels by the Scandinavians to Greenland and North America were, in fact, big-time exploits of seamanship and nerve.

The Grand Tour:

The “Grand Tour” to Europe (mainly urban areas in France and Italy) of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was affected by diplomats, businessmen, and scholars. It became all the rage for scholars to study in Paris, Rome, Florence, and other cultural centres.

Even though, making the Grand Tour started with the perspective of an educational experience, but it soon turned into a simple pleasure seeking activity. A characterization of Grand Tour is well interpreted in a study on A Geography of Tourism by Robinson (1976), which states that “one of the interesting aspects of the Grand Tour was its conventional and regular form.

As early as 1678 Nohn Gailhard, in his Compleat Gentlemen, had prescribed a three-year tour as customary. A generally accepted itinerary was also laid down which involved a long stay in France, especially in Paris, almost a year in Italy visiting Genoa, Milan, Florence, Rome and Venice, and then a return by way of Germany and the Low Countries via Switzerland.

Of course, there were variations to this itinerary but this was the most popular route: it was generally believed that there was little more to be seen in the rest of the civil world after Italy, France and the Low Countries, but plain and prodigious barbarism”.

The term Grand Tour even stands firm in modern times, and the trip to Europe – the continent can be traced back to the early Grand Tour. However, the modern concept is much different in the sense that the tour is most probably to be of three weeks duration rather than three years.

Americans:

These were the Spanish who in the first place traversed the great continent of North America (largely in what is now Florida and in the Southwest) as early as in the sixteenth century. This involved extraordinarily long journeys and that, too, on horse back, many a time subject to bitter and fierce conditions.

The horse, an animal that was strange and outside one’s experience of the American Indians up to that time. In the East, Cape Cod was discovered by Gosnold in 1602 and the Plymouth Cold was found in 1620. Like other regions of the globe, early travel was not pleasurable in America, too.

In order to have access to the interior of the country, one had to depend on one’s feet or horse or at the most small boat or canoe. With the passage of time as roads were built, stagecoach travel and ordinaries (small hotels) gathered widespread usage.

However, the phenomenal travel to the West across the Great Plains involved the use of covered wagon. Again, the installation of railroads network across the country, with the first transcontinental link being at Promontory, Utah in 1869, made rail travel available to all.

One of the most crucial phenomena hardly ever seen in any other country but in America’s travel history is the volume of travel made by servicemen and women during World War II. Most of the Americans serving in the armed forces between 1941 to 1945 were given assignments at places such as the European and Pacific war theaters, far away from their usual places of residence.

This made the military personnel conversant with the different and most of the time fascinating, unfamiliar places. Moreover, lengthy and spacious domestic travel was common. Travel thus, came to be an element of their life experience.

Subsequent upon the war, a substantial increase in travel occurred as a result of the removal of gasoline rationing and restarts of the manufacture of automobiles. Thereby, air, rail, and bus travel got augmented as well.

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