What Were the Main Attractions of Tourism in Early Days?

(ii) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, sometimes including the walls of Babylon and the Palace, in what is now Iraq

(iii) The Tomb of Mansolus at Halicarnassus, in what is now Turkey

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(iv) The Statue of Zeus at Olympia in Greece

(v) The Collosus of Rhodes in the Harbor at Rhodes, an island belonging to Greece

(vi) The Great Lighthouse (Pharos) in Alexandria, Egypt

(vii) The Temple Artemis (also called the Temple of Diana) at Ephesus – at that time part of Greece, now in Turkey.

Whilst in bygone times, the tourists travelled to see these wonders, modern tourists make their way to appreciate natural marvels like Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone, Niagara Falls, the oceans, the Great Lakes as well as the man-built spectacles such as great cities, museums, archaeological sites, dams, monuments, and above all Disney Land, the Global Tourism Product – a fine blend of imagination and technology.

Spas, Baths, Seaside Resorts:

Another appealing facet in the history of tourism was in terms of the development of spas in Britain and on the continent, which was originally practised by the Romans. These were not only the medicinal features but also the activities such as social events, games, dancing and gambling associated with it due to which spas proved to be a la mode among members of the high society in the eighteenth century.

Consequently, it led to the establishment of spa at Bath, England, which was one such thriving health and social resort of the time. Almost, at the same time, sea bathing also came to be favourite owing to the fact that some held that salt water treatment in the open sun was relatively more healthful than was that at the upcountry spas.

Soon there was a change in attitude and seaside resorts at Brighton, Margate, Ramsgate, Worthing, Hastings, Weymouth, Blackpool, and Scarborough became celebrated and widely known in Britain.

Nevertheless, by 1861 these emerged only a held back demand for vacation travel at these seaside resorts. However, most visitors made only day- excursions as patronage of the hotels was confined to the affluent and the elite.

Tourism thus, is to be under an obligation to medical practitioners who recommended the intrinsic medicinal value of mineral waters and advised their patients to visit places where mineral springs were located.

Later on, sea bathing also fell in the same category i.e., having therapeutic value and started getting recommended by the physicians. Interestingly, spas and seaside resorts which initially gained currency from health perspective, before long turned into centres of entertainment, recreation, and gambling.

This particular age of tourism brings home that the success or failure of any business depends upon not only on one factor but on a multiplicity of factors. Presently, hot springs may not be on the high priority but do hold some appeal for the travellers.

Some of the major attractions of the type in America are Hot Springs, Arkansas; French Lick, Indiana; and Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The coastal areas, especially in the Sunbelt, go on to hold a telling appeal and is one of the principal influences in tourism development, which is blatant and clear by the tourist traffic to Hawaii, Florida, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

The First Travel Intermediaries/Travel Agents:

Robert Smart of Bristol, England, declared himself as the maiden steamship agent in early nineteenth century i.e., 1822, and started making reservations of passengers for steamers to various Bristol Channel ports and to Dublin, Ireland.

Again, Thomas Cook installed a historic and memorable excursion train, considered to be the first publicly advertised excursion train, from Leicester to Loughborough (in England), a trip of 12 miles at a round-trip price of one shilling per passenger in July, 1841.

According, Cook can befittingly be acknowledged as the pioneer in rail excursion travel agency business that had set the track for others to follow suit the world over. Cook’s enterprise gradually started providing agency services in the form of escorted tours not only to the continent but also to the United States and throughout the world.

The organization is holding its position even now as being one of the world’s largest travel organizations. However, in the context of individual inclusive travel, the basic function of a travel agent, the credit of being the foremost professional goes to Thomas Bennett (1814-1898).

Bennett, in his capacity as Secretary to the British Consul-General in Oslo (Norway), many a time organized individual sightseeing tours for visiting British nobility. He established a business of his own as a trip organizer in 1850 and got under way to making available itineraries, carriages, supplies and a travelling kit to individual tourists. And for ensuring an efficient supply to the clients, he ordinarily used to make beforehand provisions for horses and hotel rooms.

Transportation Advances:

A significant and one of the most relevant elements in the tourism equation is in terms of transportation. In fact, this essential factor has also passed through a long process comprising a full range of stages i.e., from man’s feet to horses, stagecoach, water transport, railroad, automobile and motorcoach transport and finally air transport.

Accordingly, the tourists in the ancient times travelled on foot, on animals mainly used for carrying load, by boat and on wheeled vehicles. The development of travel and the growth of transport are not only mutually dependent but also go hand-in-hand; travellers call for transport that is safe, fast, comfortable and convenient besides being affordable.

And until the dawn of the nineteenth century, the transport did not meet any of the qualifications. The only form of transport, excepting the private carriages of the moneyed affluent, before the advent of the stagecoach which itself is not recognized or distinguished for its comfort, was the carrier’s wagon – a slow speed transport.

In addition to the problem of transport, the road conditions were frightening, horrible and unnerving. These, in fact, were poorly constructed, rutted, and in the rainy and/or winter season gravely cut and grooved by the wagon rolls which moulded the whole track into a mass of slime and sludge.

Furthermore, the journey was not only uncomfortable but also unsafe as footpads and highwaymen that posed a continual risk to travellers and globetrotters swarmed the major routes.

It was the fag end of the seventeenth century when a critical advance in terms of speed only i.e., time but not in price was brought about with the arrival of the stagcoach and just before the end of the eighteenth century, the mailcoach which by means of conscientious organisation and the setting up of suitable staging posts where horses could be changed, resulted in reducing the journey of smaller distance as compared to the present from a matter of days to hours.

Although poor road surfaces continued to make travel uncomfortable but the increased speed compensated to some extent as the hardship was relatively of shorter span. The problem of ill-made roads, however, could be overcome only with the introduction of macadamised surfaces in the early nineteenth century i.e., after 1815.

Fortunately, the railways appeared within the next two decades as a respite for the common man with the promise of a measure of comfort and that, too, at an affordable price. A brief account of the transport development can be described as follows:

Stagecoach Travel:

Drawing on the documented history, it is revealed that such coaches were devised in Hungary as early as in the fifteenth century and used to provide regular service on laid down routes.

However, stagecoach travel had turned out to be quite in favour in other regions of the globe, especially in Great Britain by the 1800s. This further resulted in the development of the well-known English tavern meant to provide overnight accommodation needed by stagecoach passengers.

Water Travel:

The Duke of Bridgewater is believed to be the initiator of water transport service between Manchester and London Bridge (near Warrington) in 1772. These boats were in the form of market boats and used to pick up passengers as well as goods on ship canals in England.

Each boat contained a coffee room for sale of refreshments by the Captain’s wife. By 1815, steamboats emerged and were plying on the Clyde, the Avon, and the Thames. An advertisement giving out steamboat excursion trips from London appeared in 1833.

Gradually, the steamship excursions on the Thames became so well organized and settled by 1841 that a weekly Steamboat Excursion Guide was being brought out by a publisher on regular basis.

Rail Travel:

Originally, it was in 1825 when railways were put up in England, but were put into practice as passengers’ carriage only in 1830. The just done railway between Liverpool and Manchester promoted characteristic provisions for passengers.

It was the representative passenger fare of only one penny per mile by rail that led to the generation of a quite large level of demand for rail travel – much to the delight of rail companies.

The rail travel being much cheaper as against the stagecoach travel could well attract passengers even from low income strata. However, early rail travel in Britain was also not without its belittlers and muckrakers who openly propagated that the new forms of rail locomotion were improvised gadget of the Devil.

And when a rail track was planned for London Woolrich to take passengers at a speed of 18 miles per hour, one horror- struck reporter to the Quarterly Review wrote, “We should as soon expect the people of Woolrich to be fired off upon one of Congreve’s ricochet rockets as trust themselves to the method of such a machine going at such a rate”. While another columnist considered the railroads passenger transportation as “visionary schemes unworthy of notice”.

Automobile and Motorcoach Travel:

Automobiles entered the travel arena in the United States when Henry Ford launched his much-publicized Model T in 1908. The somewhat low-priced and economical tin lizzie’ completely changed travel in the U.S. warranting better roads.

An extensive network of roads became ready for use by 1920 that led to the automobile present-day dominance of the travel industry. The auto traveller gave rise to the early tourist courts in the 1920s and 1930s which overtime have matured into the motels and motor hotels of the modern times.

Motorcoaches, too, came to be practised shortly after the automobiles gained mass appeal and remain a leading mode of transport.

Air Travel:

Practically 16 years after the airplane’s first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903, systematic and periodic scheduled air service commenced in Germany. This was the Berlin-Leipzig-Weimar route, and the carrier subsequently came about to be known as Deutsche Lufthansa, which is a major international airline today.

Charles A Levine was the first trans-atlantics passenger, who took to the air with Clarence Chamberlin nonstop from New York to Germany in 1927. This was not long after Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight from New York to Paris.

The first U.S. airline known as Varney Airlines was inaugurated in 1926, which provided scheduled airmail service. Just after 11 days, another airline, Western Airlines was established, which started providing service on April 17, 1926.

Thereafter, Varney Airlines converged with three other airlines to bring about United Airlines while Western Airlines became lost in Delta Airlines on April 1, 1987. Initially only one passenger could be carried along with the mail and that also if the load conditions permitted.

The first international route looks like to have been Pan American Airways’ flight from Key West, Florida to Havana, Cuba on October 28, 1927. The development of the DC-3 and the Boeing 314 A Trans-oceanic Clipper in the early 1940s set up paying passengers traffic and resulted in far-reaching recognition of air travel.

The jet engine, conceived and designed in England by Frank Whittle, was used on B-52 military planes while the Boeing 707 was the first American commercial jet plan. The first United States transcontinental jet flight was operated by American Airlines on 25 January, 1959 from loss Angeles to New York City, and the Jumbo jet age began in January, 1970 when using the new Boeing 747 equipment Pan American World Airways carried 352 passengers from New York to London.

At present, air travel in terms of revenue passenger miles, is the principal mode of public transportation owing to its features such as speed, comfort, and safety.

Accommodations:

One needs to consider the proposition that the development of transport is simply one side of the coin while the other in the form of provisioning of accommodation at the traveller’s destination is not only significant but is equally relevant as well.

The traditional hospices (travellers’ house of rest kept by the religious order) for travellers catering accommodation segment were the monasteries which were evanesced during the rule of Henry VIII.

The resulting blank acted as a further deterrent to travel for the majority except those planning to visit their friends and relatives. And then came the gradual development of and improvement in lodgings in the ale-houses of the time in the form of inns (house providing lodging etc. for payment, especially for travellers), purposely built to cater the needs of the mailcoach passengers.

Expectedly, the shortage of accommodation facilities outside the major centres of population resulted in towns such as London, Exeter and York to be the first centres to attract visitors for pleasure purposes, while the social life of these cities acted as a pull force for the leisured classes.

The earliest type of accommodation for travellers was the guest rooms, a part of private lodgings, and the travellers were treated informally i.e., just like members of the family.

On the commercial lines, Caravansaries and inns in the Middle East, China, India and in the Orient revert to the distant past. In relatively modern times, first the stagecoach, and then railroads, steamships, the automobile, motorcoach and airplane blew up the need for requisite provision for accommodation.

The railroad engendered the down-town city hotel, the automobile and motorcoach contributed to the motel, and the airplane resulted in an upsurge in accommodations within or near airports i.e., Airtel or Airport Hotel. And in the contemporary world, Hotel Industry is one of the leading service industries at the national as well as the global levels.

Early Economic References:

There is no denying the fact that the movement of the tourists whether to see pyramids, visit spas or seaside resorts, attend festivals or athletic events, required food and lodging, and for that the tourists spent money like traders.

The measurement of economic impact of tourists’ expenditures was as difficult as at present. This is witnessed in the writings of Thomas Mun (1620) in England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade, quoted by George Young (1973), “There are yet some other petty things which seem to have a reference to this balance of which the said officers of His Majesty’s Customs can take no notice to bring them into account; as mainly, the expenses of the travellers”.

On the contrary, a late statement touched on by John Hamilton, Robert Clerindon, and Quentin Claugh (1970) reads “Today we have moved from tourism being an accounting nuisance to the largest item in the world trade and for many countries the principal source at foreign exchange earnings”.

One can put one’s finger on two sets of prerequisites to be there with a view to buoy up private travel: One, travel facilitators (empowering conditions) and two, travel motivators.

Of the former, two crucial requirements are time and discretionary income (i.e., income left after paying for the necessaries of life – housing, food and clothing). Right through the good old days, till the present-day, both have been the privilege of small nobility and aristocracies in societies.

One could hardly talk of travelling for leisure and holiday of the best part of the population when one had to toil day and night for mere survival. For the urban, Sunday, of course, was a holiday on account of being regarded as a religious day. On the other hand, for the development of travel for pleasure, equally relevant is the provisioning of travel facilities.

Apart from transport and accommodation, there were other constraints as well. These were mainly in the form of low public health standards leading to risk of disease which was further intensified if travelling overseas; inconsistent and fallible exchange facilities for foreign currency with erratic exchange rates required the traveller to carry huge sums and thus become an easy victim to highwaymen; travel documents to avoid political wariness and dubiety which normally delayed the travel schedule.

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