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Why travel should be considered an essential human activity

Travel is not rational, but it’s in our genes. Here’s why you should start planning a trip now.

Two women gaze at heavy surf while lying on boulders on the coast.

In 1961, legendary National Geographic photographer Volkmar Wentzel captured two women gazing at the surf off Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. This and all the other images in this story come from the National Geographic image collection.

I’ve been putting my passport to good use lately. I use it as a coaster and to level wobbly table legs. It makes an excellent cat toy.

Welcome to the pandemic of disappointments. Canceled trips, or ones never planned lest they be canceled. Family reunions, study-abroad years, lazy beach vacations. Poof. Gone. Obliterated by a tiny virus, and the long list of countries where United States passports are not welcome.

Only a third of Americans say they have traveled overnight for leisure since March, and only slightly more, 38 percent, say they are likely to do so by the end of the year, according to one report. Only a quarter of us plan on leaving home for Thanksgiving, typically the busiest travel time. The numbers paint a grim picture of our stilled lives.

It is not natural for us to be this sedentary. Travel is in our genes. For most of the time our species has existed, “we’ve lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers moving about in small bands of 150 or fewer people,” writes Christopher Ryan in Civilized to Death . This nomadic life was no accident. It was useful. “Moving to a neighboring band is always an option to avoid brewing conflict or just for a change in social scenery,” says Ryan. Robert Louis Stevenson put it more succinctly: “The great affair is to move.”

What if we can’t move, though? What if we’re unable to hunt or gather? What’s a traveler to do? There are many ways to answer that question. “Despair,” though, is not one of them.

wall-to-wall seaside sunbathers in Ocean City, Maryland

In this aerial view from 1967, wall-to-wall seaside sunbathers relax under umbrellas or on beach towels in Ocean City, Maryland .

During a fall festival, each state shows off its costumes and dances.

A 1967 fall festival in Guadalajara, Mexico , starred traditionally costumed musicians and dancers.

We are an adaptive species. We can tolerate brief periods of forced sedentariness. A dash of self-delusion helps. We’re not grounded, we tell ourselves. We’re merely between trips, like the unemployed salesman in between opportunities. We pass the days thumbing though old travel journals and Instagram feeds. We gaze at souvenirs. All this helps. For a while.

We put on brave faces. “Staycation Nation,” the cover of the current issue of Canadian Traveller magazine declares cheerfully, as if it were a choice, not a consolation.

Today, the U.S. Travel Association, the industry trade organization, is launching a national recovery campaign called “ Let’s Go There .” Backed by a coalition of businesses related to tourism—hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, airlines—the initiative’s goal is to encourage Americans to turn idle wanderlust into actual itineraries.

The travel industry is hurting. So are travelers. “I dwelled so much on my disappointment that it almost physically hurt,” Paris -based journalist Joelle Diderich told me recently, after canceling five trips last spring.

(Related: How hard has the coronavirus hit the travel industry? These charts tell us.)

My friend James Hopkins is a Buddhist living in Kathmandu . You’d think he’d thrive during the lockdown, a sort-of mandatory meditation retreat. For a while he did.

But during a recent Skype call, James looked haggard and dejected. He was growing restless, he confessed, and longed “for the old 10-countries-a-year schedule.” Nothing seemed to help, he told me. “No matter how many candles I lit, or how much incense I burned, and in spite of living in one of the most sacred places in South Asia, I just couldn’t change my habits.”

When we ended our call, I felt relieved, my grumpiness validated. It’s not me; it’s the pandemic. But I also worried. If a Buddhist in Kathmandu is going nuts, what hope do the rest of us stilled souls have?

I think hope lies in the very nature of travel. Travel entails wishful thinking. It demands a leap of faith, and of imagination, to board a plane for some faraway land, hoping, wishing, for a taste of the ineffable. Travel is one of the few activities we engage in not knowing the outcome and reveling in that uncertainty. Nothing is more forgettable than the trip that goes exactly as planned.

Related: Vintage photos of the glamour of travel

tourism purpose of travel

Travel is not a rational activity. It makes no sense to squeeze yourself into an alleged seat only to be hurled at frightening speed to a distant place where you don’t speak the language or know the customs. All at great expense. If we stopped to do the cost-benefit analysis, we’d never go anywhere. Yet we do.

That’s one reason why I’m bullish on travel’s future. In fact, I’d argue travel is an essential industry, an essential activity. It’s not essential the way hospitals and grocery stores are essential. Travel is essential the way books and hugs are essential. Food for the soul. Right now, we’re between courses, savoring where we’ve been, anticipating where we’ll go. Maybe it’s Zanzibar and maybe it’s the campground down the road that you’ve always wanted to visit.

(Related: Going camping this fall? Here’s how to get started.)

James Oglethorpe, a seasoned traveler, is happy to sit still for a while, and gaze at “the slow change of light and clouds on the Blue Ridge Mountains” in Virginia, where he lives. “My mind can take me the rest of the way around this world and beyond it.”

It’s not the place that is special but what we bring to it and, crucially, how we interact with it. Travel is not about the destination, or the journey. It is about stumbling across “a new way of looking at things,” as writer Henry Miller observed. We need not travel far to gain a fresh perspective.

No one knew this better than Henry David Thoreau , who lived nearly all of his too-short life in Concord, Massachusetts. There he observed Walden Pond from every conceivable vantage point: from a hilltop, on its shores, underwater. Sometimes he’d even bend over and peer through his legs, marveling at the inverted world. “From the right point of view, every storm and every drop in it is a rainbow,” he wrote.

Thoreau never tired of gazing at his beloved pond, nor have we outgrown the quiet beauty of our frumpy, analog world. If anything, the pandemic has rekindled our affection for it. We’ve seen what an atomized, digital existence looks like, and we (most of us anyway) don’t care for it. The bleachers at Chicago ’s Wrigley Field; the orchestra section at New York City ’s Lincoln Center; the alleyways of Tokyo . We miss these places. We are creatures of place, and always will be.

After the attacks of September 11, many predicted the end of air travel, or at least a dramatic reduction. Yet the airlines rebounded steadily and by 2017 flew a record four billion passengers. Briefly deprived of the miracle of flight, we appreciated it more and today tolerate the inconvenience of body scans and pat-downs for the privilege of transporting our flesh-and-bone selves to far-flung locations, where we break bread with other incarnate beings.

Colorful designs surrounding landscape architect at work in his studio in Rio de Jainero, Brazil

Landscape architects work in their Rio de Janeiro, Brazil , studio in 1955.

A tourist photographs a tall century plant, a member of the agaves.

A tourist photographs a towering century plant in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, in 1956.

In our rush to return to the world, we should be mindful of the impact of mass tourism on the planet. Now is the time to embrace the fundamental values of sustainable tourism and let them guide your future journeys. Go off the beaten path. Linger longer in destinations. Travel in the off-season. Connect with communities and spend your money in ways that support locals. Consider purchasing carbon offsets. And remember that the whole point of getting out there is to embrace the differences that make the world so colorful.

“One of the great benefits of travel is meeting new people and coming into contact with different points of view,” says Pauline Frommer, travel expert and radio host.

So go ahead and plan that trip. It’s good for you, scientists say . Plotting a trip is nearly as enjoyable as actually taking one. Merely thinking about a pleasurable experience is itself pleasurable. Anticipation is its own reward.

I’ve witnessed first-hand the frisson of anticipatory travel. My wife, not usually a fan of travel photography, now spends hours on Instagram, gazing longingly at photos of Alpine lodges and Balinese rice fields. “What’s going on?” I asked one day. “They’re just absolutely captivating,” she replied. “They make me remember that there is a big, beautiful world out there.”

Many of us, myself included, have taken travel for granted. We grew lazy and entitled, and that is never good. Tom Swick, a friend and travel writer, tells me he used to view travel as a given. Now, he says, “I look forward to experiencing it as a gift.”

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Tourism Teacher

21 reasons why tourism is important – the importance of tourism

Tourism is important, more important than most people realise in fact!

The importance of tourism is demonstrated throughout the world. From the economic advantages that tourism brings to host communities to the enjoyment that tourism brings to the tourists themselves, there is no disputing the value of this industry.

The importance of tourism can be viewed from two perspectives: the tourism industry and the tourist. In this article I will explain how both the industry and the tourist benefit from the tourism industry and why it is so important on a global scale.

What is the importance of tourism?

Enhanced quality of life, ability to broaden way of thinking, educational value, ability to ‘escape’, rest and relaxation, enhanced wellbeing, who are tourism industry stakeholders, foreign exchange earnings, contribution to government revenues, employment generation, contribution to local economies, overall economy boost, preserving local culture, strengthening communities, provision of social services, commercialisation of culture and art, revitalisation of culture and art, preservation of heritage, empowering communities, protecting nature, the importance of tourism: political gains, why tourism is important: to conclude, the importance of tourism: further reading.

When many people think about the tourism industry they visualise only the front-line workers- the Holiday Representative, the Waiter, the Diving Instructor. But in reality, the tourism industry stretches much, much further than this.

As demonstrated in the infographic below, tourism is important in many different ways. The tourism industry is closely interconnected with a number of global industries and sectors ranging from trade to ecological conservation.

The Importance of tourism

Why tourism is important to the tourist

When we discuss the importance of tourism it is often somewhat one-sided, taking into consideration predominantly those working in the industry and their connections.

However, the tourist is just as important, as without them there would be no tourism!

Below are just a few examples of the importance of tourism to the tourist:

Why tourism is important. Importance of tourism.

Taking a holiday can greatly benefit a person’s quality of life. While different people have very different ideas of what makes a good holiday (there are more than 150 types of tourism after all!), a holiday does have the potential to enhance quality of life.

Travel is known to help broaden a person’s way of thinking. Travel introduces you to new experiences, new cultures and new ways of life.

Many people claim thatchy ‘find themselves’ while travelling.

One reason why tourism is important is education.The importance of tourism can be attributed to the educational value that it provides. Travellers and tourists can learn many things while undertaking a tourist experience, from tasting authentic local dishes to learning about the exotic animals that they may encounter.

Tourism provides the opportunity for escapism. Escapism can be good for the mind. It can help you to relax, which in turn often helps you to be more productive in the workplace and in every day life.

This is another way that the importance of tourism is demonstrated.

Rest and relaxation is very important. Taking time out for yourself helps you to be a happier, healthier person.

Having the opportunity for rest and relaxation in turn helps to enhance wellbeing.

Why tourism is important to stakeholders

There are many reasons why tourism is important to the people involved. There are many people who work either directly or indirectly with the tourism industry and who are therefore described as stakeholders. You can read more about tourism stakeholders and why they are important in this post- Stakeholders in tourism: Who are they and why do they matter?

Stakeholders in tourism

The benefits of tourism are largely related to said stakeholders in some way or another. Below are some examples of how stakeholders benefit from tourism, organised by economic, social, environmental and political gains; demonstrating the importance of tourism.

The importance of tourism: Economic gains

Perhaps the most cited reason in reference to the importance of tourism is its economic value. Tourism can help economies to bring in money in a number of different ways. Below I have provided some examples of the positive economic impacts of tourism .

The importance of tourism is demonstrated through foreign exchange earnings. 

Tourism expenditures generate income to the host economy. The money that the country makes from tourism can then be reinvested in the economy. How a destination manages their finances differs around the world; some destinations may spend this money on growing their tourism industry further, some may spend this money on public services such as education or healthcare and some destinations suffer extreme corruption so nobody really knows where the money ends up! 

Some currencies are worth more than others and so some countries will target tourists from particular areas. Currencies that are strong are generally the most desirable currencies. This typically includes the British Pound, American, Australian and Singapore Dollar and the Euro . 

Tourism is one of the top five export categories for as many as 83% of countries and is a main source of foreign exchange earnings for at least 38% of countries.

The importance of tourism is also demonstrated through the money that is raised and contributed to government revenues. Tourism can help to raise money that it then invested elsewhere by the Government. There are two main ways that this money is accumulated. 

Direct contributions  are generated by taxes on incomes from tourism employment and tourism businesses and things such as departure taxes. 

According to the World Tourism Organisation , the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP in 2018 was $2,750.7billion (3.2% of GDP). This is forecast to rise by 3.6% to $2,849.2billion in 2019.

Indirect contributions  come from goods and services supplied to tourists which are not directly related to the tourism industry. 

There is also the income that is generated through  induced contributions . This accounts for money spent by the people who are employed in the tourism industry. This might include costs for housing, food, clothing and leisure Activities amongst others. This will all contribute to an increase in economic activity in the area where tourism is being developed. 

The importance of tourism can be demonstrated through employment generation.

The rapid expansion of international tourism has led to significant employment creation. From hotel managers to theme park operatives to cleaners, tourism creates many employment opportunities. Tourism supports some 7% of the world’s workers. 

There are two types of employment in the tourism industry: direct and indirect. 

Direct employment  includes jobs that are immediately associated with the tourism industry. This might include hotel staff, restaurant staff or taxi drivers, to name a few. 

Indirect employment includes jobs which are not technically based in the tourism industry, but are related to the tourism industry.

It is because of these indirect relationships, that it is very difficult to accurately measure the precise economic value of tourism, and some suggest that the actual economic benefits of tourism may be as high as double that of the recorded figures!

The importance of tourism can be further seen through the contributions to local economies.

All of the money raised, whether through formal or informal means, has the potential to contribute to the local economy. 

If  sustainable tourism  is demonstrated, money will be directed to areas that will benefit the local community most. There may be pro-poor tourism initiatives (tourism which is intended to help the poor) or  volunteer tourism  projects. The government may reinvest money towards public services and money earned by tourism employees will be spent in the local community. This is known as the multiplier effect. 

Tourism boosts the economy exponentially. This is partly because of the aforementioned jobs that tourism creates, but also because of the temporary addition to the consumer population that occurs when someone travels to a new place. Just think: when you travel, you’re spending money. You’re paying to stay in a hotel or hostel in a certain area – then you’re eating in local restaurants, using local public transport, buying souvenirs and ice cream and new flip flops. As a tourist, you are contributing to the global economy every time you book and take a trip.

For some towns, cities and even whole countries, the importance of tourism is greater than for other. In some cases, it is the main source of income. For example, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism accounts for almost 40% of the Maldives’ total GDP. In comparison, it’s less than 4% in the UK and even lower in the US! In the Seychelles the number is just over 26% while in the British Virgin Islands it is over 35% – so tourism is vastly important in these nations.

The importance of tourism: Social gains

The importance of tourism is not only recognised through economic factors, but there are also many positive social impacts of tourism that play an important part. Below I will outline some of the social gains from tourism.

It is the local culture that the tourists are often coming to visit and this is another way to demonstrate the importance of tourism.

Tourists visit Beijing to learn more about the Chinese Dynasties. Tourists visit Thailand to taste authentic Thai food. Tourists travel to Brazil to go to the Rio Carnival, to mention a few…

Many destinations will make a conserved effort to preserve and protect the local culture. This often contributes to the conservation and  sustainable management  of natural resources, the protection of local heritage, and a renaissance of indigenous cultures, cultural arts and crafts. 

The importance of tourism can also be demonstrated through the strengthening of communities.

Events and festivals of which local residents have been the primary participants and spectators are often rejuvenated and developed in response to tourist interest.

The jobs created by tourism can also be a great boost for the local community. Aside from the  economic impacts  created by enhanced employment prospects, people with jobs are happier and more social than those without a disposable income. 

Local people can also increase their influence on tourism development, as well as improve their job and earnings prospects, through tourism-related professional training and development of business and organisational skills.

The importance of tourism is shown through the provision of social services in the host community.

The tourism industry requires many facilities/ infrastructure to meet the needs of the tourist. This often means that many developments in an area as a result of tourism will be available for use by the locals also. 

Local people often gained new roads, new sewage systems, new playgrounds, bus services etc as a result of tourism. This can provide a great boost to their quality of life and is a great example of a positive social impact of tourism. 

Tourism can see rise to many commercial business, which can be a positive social impact of tourism. This helps to enhance the community spirit as people tend to have more disposable income as a result. 

These businesses may also promote the local cultures and arts. Museums, shows and galleries are fantastic way to showcase the local customs and traditions of a destination. This can help to promote/ preserve local traditions.

Some destinations will encourage local cultures and arts to be revitalised. This may be in the form of museum exhibitions, in the way that restaurants and shops are decorated and in the entertainment on offer, for example. 

This may help promote traditions that may have become distant. 

Another reason for the importance of tourism is the preservation of heritage. Many tourists will visit the destination especially to see its local heritage. It is for this reason that many destinations will make every effort to preserve its heritage. 

This could include putting restrictions in place or limiting tourist numbers, if necessary. This is often an example of careful  tourism planning  and sustainable tourism management. 

Tourism can, if managed well, empower communities. While it is important to consider the authenticity in tourism and take some things with a pinch of salt, know that tourism can empower communities.

Small villages in far off lands are able to profit from selling their handmade goods. This, in turn, puts food on the table. This leads to healthier families and more productivity and a happier population .

The importance of tourism: Environmental gains

Whilst most media coverage involving tourism and the environment tends to be negative, there are some positives that can come from it: demonstrating the importance of tourism once again.

Some people think that tourism is what kills nature. And while this could so easily be true, it is important to note that the tourism industry is and always has been a big voice when it comes to conservation and the protection of animals and nature. Tourism organisations and travel operators often run (and donate to) fundraisers. 

As well as this, visitors to certain areas can take part in activities that aim to sustain the local scenery. It’s something a bit different, too! You and your family can go on a beach clean up walk in Spain or do something similar in the UAE . There are a lot of ways in which tourism actually helps the environment, rather than hindering it!

Lastly, there is something to be said for the political gains that can be achieved through tourism.

The tourism industry can yield promising opportunities for international collaborations, partnerships and agreements, for example within the EU. This can have positive political impacts on the host country as well as the countries who choose to work with them.

Tourism is a remarkably important industry. As you can see, the tourism industry does not stand alone- it is closely interrelated with many other parts of society. Not only do entire countries often rely on the importance of tourism, but so do individual members of host communities and tourists.

If you are studying travel and tourism and are interested in learning more about the importance of tourism, I recommend you take a look at the following texts:

  • An Introduction to Tourism : a comprehensive and authoritative introduction to all facets of tourism including: the history of tourism; factors influencing the tourism industry; tourism in developing countries; sustainable tourism; forecasting future trends.
  • The Business of Tourism Management : an introduction to key aspects of tourism, and to the practice of managing a tourism business.
  • Tourism Management: An Introduction : gives its reader a strong understanding of the dimensions of tourism, the industries of which it is comprised, the issues that affect its success, and the management of its impact on destination economies, environments and communities.

Tourism – Definition, Types & Forms, History & Importance of Tourism

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and a major foreign exchange and employment generation for many countries. It is one of the most remarkable economic and social phenomena.

The word ‘tour’ is derived from the Latin word tornus, meaning ‘a tool for making a circle.’ Tourism may be defined as the movement of people from their usual place of residence to another place ( with the intention to return) for a minimum period of twenty-four hours to a maximum of six months for the sole purpose of leisure and pleasure.

According to WTO (1993), ” Tourism encompasses the activities of persons traveling and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes.”

The Rome conference on tourism in 1963 defined tourism as ‘ a visit to a country other than one’s own or where one usually resides and works. This definition, however, did not take into account domestic tourism, which has become a vital money-spinner and job generator for the hospitality industry.

The UNWTO defines tourists as ‘ people who travel to and stay in place outside their usual environment for 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.

According to the Tourism Society of Britain ,” tourism is the temporary short-period movement of people to destination outside the places where they usually live, work; and activities during their stay at these destinations.” This definition includes the movement of people for all purposes.

The development of technology and transportation infrastructure, such as jumbos jets, low-cost airlines, and more accessible airports, have made tourism affordable and convenient. There have been changes in lifestyle – for example, now retiree-age people sustain tourism around the year. The sale of tourism products on the internet, besides the aggressive marketing of the tour operators and travel agencies , has also contributed to the growth of tourism.

27 September is celebrated as world tourism every year. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of UNWTO were adopted. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the role of tourism within the international community.

History of Travel and Tourism

Inbound tourism, outbound tourism, domestic tourism, forms of tourism, classification of tourism, nature of tourism, importance of tourism, economic impacts, social impacts, cultural impacts, environmental impact, industries related to tourism, tourism products.

Travel is as old as mankind on earth. At the beginning of his existence, man roamed about the planet’s surface in search of food, shelter, security, and better habitat. However, with time, such movements were transformed into wanderlust.

About five thousand years ago, climate changes, dwindling food and shelter conditions hostile invaders made the people leave their homes to seek refuge elsewhere like the Aryans left their homes in Central Asia due to climate changes. Perhaps, this leads to the development of commerce, trade, and industry.

Religion, education, and cultural movement began during the Hindu and Chinese civilizations. Christian missionaries, Buddhist monks, and others traveled far and wide carrying religious messages and returned with fantastic images and opinions about alien people.

For centuries movement of people continued to grow due to the efficiency of transport and the assistance and safety with which the people could travel. By the end of the 15th century, Italy had become Europe’s intellectual and cultural center. It represented the classical heritage both for the intelligentsia and the aristocracy.

During the 16th century, travel came to be considered an essential part of the education of every young Englishman. Travel thus became a means of self-development and education in its broadest sense. The educational travel was known as the ‘ Grand Tour .’

The industrial revolution brought about significant changes in the pattern and structure of British society. Thus, the economy of Britain was greatly responsible for the beginning of modern tourism. It also created a large and prosperous middle class. Because of remarkable improvement in transportation systems in the latter half of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th century, an increasing number of people began to travel for pleasure.

Travel was inspired initially by the need for survival (food, shelter, and security), the desire to expand trade, and the quest to conquer. As the transportation system improved, the curiosity for transforming the vast and virgin world into a close neighborhood created a new industry, i.e., Travel and Tourism .

However, the developments of rails, roads, steamships, automobiles, and airplanes helped to spread technology across the globe. Earlier travel was a privilege only for wealthy people, but with the industrial revolution, the scenario altogether changed. Transportation, as well as accommodation, became affordable to middle and working-class citizens.

Essentially, with the development of jet travel, communication, new technology, tourism, and travel became the world’s largest and fastest-growing industry.

Travel and tourism have recently emerged as a dominant economic force on the global scene, accounting for more than 12% of total world trade and growing at 8 percent annually.

Types of Tourism

Tourism has two types and many forms based on the purpose of visit and alternative forms of tourism. Tourism can be categorized as international and domestic tourism .

Tourism has two types and various forms. Based on the movement of people, tourism is categorized into two kinds. These are the following:

International Tourism

When people visit a foreign country, it is referred to as International Tourism . To travel to a foreign country, one needs a valid passport, visa, health documents, foreign exchange, etc.

International tourism is divided into two types; Inbound Tourism & Outbound Tourism.

This refers to tourists of outside origin entering a particular country. Traveling outside their host/native country to another country is called inbound tourism for the country where they are traveling. For example, when a tourist of Indian origin travels to Japan, it is  Inbound tourism for Japan because foreign tourists come to Japan.

This refers to tourists traveling from the country of their origin to another country. When tourists travel to a foreign region, it is outbound tourism for their own country because they are going outside their country. For example, when a tourist from India travels to Japan, it is outbound tourism for India and Inbound tourism for Japan.

The tourism activity of the people within their own country is known as domestic tourism . Traveling within the same country is easier because it does not require formal travel documents and tedious formalities like compulsory health checks and foreign exchange. A traveler generally does not face many language problems or currency exchange issues in domestic tourism.

Tourism has various forms based on the purpose of the visit and alternative forms. These are further divided into many types according to their nature. Forms of tourism are the following:

Some most basic forms of tourism are the following:

  • Adventure Tourism
  • Atomic Tourism
  • Bicycle Tours
  • Beach Tourism
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Industrial Tourism
  • Medical Tourism
  • Religious Tourism
  • Rural Tourism
  • Sex Tourism
  • Space Tourism
  • Sports Tourism
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Virtual Tourism
  • War Tourism
  • Wildlife Tourism

Tourism can be classified into six distinct categories according to the purpose of travel. These are the following:

1) Recreational : Recreational or leisure tourism takes a person away from the humdrum of everyday life. In this case, people spend their leisure time in the hills, sea beaches, etc.

2) Cultural tourism satisfies cultural and intellectual curiosity and involves visits to ancient monuments, places of historical or religious importance, etc.

3) Sports/Adventure : Trips taken by people with a view to playing golf, skiing and hiking, fall within this category.

4) Health : Under this category, people travel for medical, treatment or visit places where there are curative possibilities, for example, hot springs, spa yoga, etc.

5) Convention Tourism : It is becoming an increasingly important component of travel. People travel within a country or overseas to attend conventions relating to their business, profession, or interest.

6) Incentive Tourism : Holiday trips are offered as incentives by major companies to dealers and salesmen who achieve high targets in sales. This is a new and expanding phenomenon in tourism, These are in lieu of cash incentives or gifts, Today incentive tourism is a 3 billion dollar business in the USA alone.

Tourism as a socio-economic phenomenon comprises the activities and experiences of tourists and visitors away from their home environment and are serviced by the travel and tourism industry and host destination. The sum total of this activity experience and services can be seen as a tourism product.

The tourism system can be described in terms of supply and demand. Tourism planning should strive for a balance between demands and supply. This requires an understanding not only of market characteristics and trends but also of the planning process to meet the market needs.

Often tourists from core generating markets are identified as the demand side; the supply side includes all facilities, programs, attractions, and land uses designed and managed for the visitors. These supply-side factors may be under the control of private enterprises, non-profit organizations, and the government. New and innovative forms of partnerships are also evolving to ensure the sustainable development and management of tourism-related resources.

The supply and demand side can be seen to be linked by flows of resources such as capital, labor, goods, and tourist expenditures into the destination, and flows of marketing, promotion, tourist artifacts, and experiences from the destination back into the tourist generating region.

In addition, some tourist expenditures may leak back into the visitors generating areas through repatriation of profits of foreign tourism investors and payment for improved goods and services provided to tourists at the destination. Transportation provides an important linkage both to and from the destination.

For planning purposes, the major components that comprise the supply side are:

  • Various modes of transportation and other tourism-related infrastructure.
  • Tourist information.
  • Marketing and promotion.
  • The community of communities within the visitor’s destination area.
  • The political and institutional frameworks for enabling tourism.

The tourism system is both dynamic and complex due to many factors linked to it and because of the existence of many sectors contributing to its success. These factors and sectors are linked to the provision of the tourist experience and the generation of tourism revenue and markets .

The dynamic nature of the tourism system makes it imperative to scan the external and internal environment of the destinations on a regular basis so as to make changes when necessary to ensure a healthy and viable tourism industry.

Thus, it is now an accepted fact that tourism development can no longer work in isolation of the environment and the local communities, nor can it ignore the social and cultural consequences of tourism.

Tourism and hospitality , which are inextricably linked to each other, are among the major revenue-earning enterprises in the world. They happen to be among the top employers too. There has been an upmarket trend in tourism over the last few decades as travel has become quite common. People travel for business, vacation, pleasure, adventure, or even medical treatments.

Tourism constitutes an important industry today. It has opened up new vistas for the play of economic emancipation. It provides a very potent contribution by strengthening and developing the financial resources of a country. Moreover, it is a process in which mutual material and mental benefits occur. Furthermore,

  • Tourism fetches foreign exchange in the form of invisible exports, which results in the manifold progress of the nation.
  • Tourism generates jobs. These employments are the main contribution of tourism to generating national income. But one should remember that employment in the tourism industry is often seasonal.
  • Tourism often leads to the commercialization of art forms and especially handicrafts. Art items with cultural or religious meaning are sought by tourists as souvenirs. As more and more tourists visit a destination, souvenir production has increased, often leading to mass production. This production also generates income.

Importance of Tourism

With several business-related activities associated with tourism, the industry has a tremendous potential to generate employment as well as earn foreign exchange. Many countries, such as Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, and the Caribbean, whose economies are primarily driven by tourism. Tourism can contribute to the economic growth of a country in the followings ways:

Employment Generation

It creates a large number of jobs among direct services providers (such as hotels , restaurants, travel agencies , tour operators , guide and tour escorts, etc.) and among indirect services providers (such as suppliers to the hotels and restaurants, supplementary accommodation, etc.)

Infrastructure Development

Tourism spurs infrastructure development. In order to become an important commercial or pleasure destination, any location would require all the necessary infrastructure, like good connectivity via rail, road, and air transport , adequate accommodation, restaurants, a well-developed telecommunication network, and, medical facilities, among others.

Foreign Exchange

The people who travel to other countries spend a large amount of money on accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, shopping, etc. Thus, an inbound tourist is an important source of foreign exchange for any country.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predict in 1997 that the twenty-first-century economy would be dominated by three industries: telecommunications, information technology, and tourism. The travel and tourism industry has grown by 500 percent in the last 25 years.

Now withstanding this bright outlook and prospects, the tourism and hospitality industries are very vulnerable to the fluctuations of national economies and happenings in the world, especially terrorist attacks that have at times dealt severe blows to business.

In recent years, there have been a few setbacks in tourism, such as the terrorist siege of the Taj and Oberoi in Mumbai, India (26 November 2008); the attack on the World Trade Centre in the United States of America (11 September 2001); bombing in a hotel on the Indonesian island of Bali (12 October 2002); tsunami in Southeast Asia and South Asia on 26 December 2004, in which thousands of the lives where lost and consequently tourism was hit. Nonetheless, the sector is now getting back to business.

Impacts of Tourism

Tourism is a multi-dimensional activity. The scope of tourism activities is so wide and varied that it cannot be restricted to any particular field of activity. Tourism has ramifications in almost all sectors and is influenced by the performance of each of these sectors directly or indirectly. Tourism in any country can be an apt reflection of the nation’s economic and social endowment apart from its natural wealth.

Tourism has vast potential to bring about changes in the country’s economic, environmental, societal, and cultural edifice. Tourism has two basics: the supply of facilities and the demand for participation. The twin market forces of supply and demand interact to produce tourism patterns. These patterns are associated with economic, social, cultural, environmental, and ecological impacts.

Impact of Tourism

Establishing or developing a tourism industry involves expenditure, gains, costs, and benefits. If these impacts are considered from the outset of planning, strengths and opportunities can be maximized while weaknesses and threats can be minimized.

Each destination will be different in terms of tourism characteristics . The cost and benefits of tourism will vary in each destination and can change over time, depending on tourism and other activities in a destination’s local and regional context.

Tourism activities impact the economy of the country as well as the local economy of the destination.

Economics Benefits

  • Tourism generates local employment, directly in the tourism sector and in the support and resource management sectors.
  • Tourism stimulates profitable domestic industries, hotels and other lodging facilities, restaurants and food services, transportation systems, handicrafts, and guide services.
  • Tourism generates foreign exchange for the country and injects capital and new money into the local economy.
  • Tourism helps to diversify the local economy.
  • Improved tourism infrastructure.
  • Increase tax revenues from tourism.

Economic Costs

  • Higher demand created by tourism activity may increase the price of land, housing, and a range of commodities necessary for daily life.
  • Demands for health services provision and police service increase during the tourist seasons at the expense of the local tax base.

Tourism also affects the society of the destination in good as well as bad ways. It benefits and costs the local communities.

Social Benefits

  • The quality of a community can be enhanced by economic diversification through tourism.
  • Recreational and cultural facilities created for tourism can be used by local communities as well as domestic/international visitors.
  • Public space may be developed and enhanced through tourism activity.
  • Tourism Enhances the local community’s esteem and provides an opportunity for greater understanding and communication among people of diverse backgrounds.

Social Costs

  • Rapid tourism growth can result in the inability of local amenities and institutions to meet service demands.
  • Without proper planning and management, litter, vandalism, and crime often accompany tourism development.
  • Tourism can bring overcrowding and traffic congestion.
  • Visitors bring with them material wealth and apparent freedom. The youths of the host community are particularly susceptible to the economic expectations these tourists bring which can result in complete disruption of traditional community ways of life.
  • The community structure may change, e.g. community bonds, demographics, and institutions.
  • The authenticity of the social and cultural environment can be changed to meet tourism demands.

Tourism activities also affect the culture of the host country. There are many positive and negative cultural impacts of tourism.

Cultural Benefits

  • Tourism can enhance local cultural awareness.
  • Tourism can generate revenue to help pay for the preservation of archaeological sites, historic buildings, and districts.
  • Despite criticism about the alteration of cultures to unacceptable levels, the sharing of cultural knowledge and experience can be beneficial for hosts and guests of tourism destinations and can result in the revival of local traditions and crafts.

Cultural Costs

  • Youth in the community begin to emulate the speech and attire of tourists.
  • Historic sites can be damaged through tourism development and pressures.
  • There can be long-term damage to cultural traditions and the erosion of cultural values, resulting in cultural change beyond a level acceptable to the host destination.

Tourism impacts the environment in positive as well as negative ways. These impacts are following below.

Environmental Benefits

  • Parks and nature preserves may be created and ecological preservation supported as a necessity for nature-based tourism.
  • Improved waste management can be achieved.
  • Increased awareness and concern for the environment can result from nature-based tourism activities and development.

Environmental Costs

  • A negative change in the physical integrity of the area.
  • Rapid development, over-development, and overcrowding can forever change the physical environment and ecosystems of an area.
  • Degradation of parks and preserves.

Over the years, tourism has become a popular global activity. Depending upon the nature and purpose of their travel, tourists, need and demand certain facilities and services. This has given rise to a wide range of commercial activities that have acquired industry proportions. Thus travel and tourism nowadays represent a broad range of related industries.

Hotels are a commercial establishment that provides accommodation, meals, and other guest services. In the travel and tourism industry, the hotel industry plays a very significant role, as all tourists need a place to stay at their destinations, and require many more services and facilities to suit their specific needs and tastes.


Restaurants are retail establishments that serve prepared food and beverages to customers. In the travel and tourism industry, restaurants and other food and beverage outlets are very important as tourists like to experiment with the local cuisines of the places they are visiting.

Retail and Shopping

The retail industry is very important as tourists shop for their day-to-day necessities as well as look for mementos and souvenirs. In recent years, some cities in the world have been promoted as shopping destinations to attract people with a penchant for shopping by offering various products, such as garments, electronic goods, jewelry, and antiques. New York, Paris, London, and Milan in Italy are famous as fashion havens of the world.


It is the movement of people and goods from one place to another. A well-developed transport industry, as well as infrastructure, is integral to the success of any travel and tourism enterprise.

Travel Agencies

A travel agency is a retailing business that sells travel-related products and services, particularly package tours, to customers on the behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise liners, hotels, railways, and sightseeing.

Travel agencies play a very important role as they plan out the itinerary of their clients and make the necessary arrangements for their travel, stay, and sightseeing, besides facilitating their passport, visa, etc.

Tour Operators

A tour operator assembles the various elements of a tour. It typically combines tour and travel components to create a holiday. Tour operators play an important role in the travel and tourism industry.

Tourist Destinations

A tourist attraction is a place of interest for tourists, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, nature or building beauty or amusement opportunities. These are the basic fundamentals of the tourism industry.

Cultural Industries

Cultural or creative industries are responsible for the creation, production, and distribution of goods and services that are cultural in nature and usually protected by intellectual property rights. As tourists like to visit places of cultural significance and soak in the culture of the area, the cultural industry is very important to travel and tourism.

Leisure, Recreation, and Sport

Leisure or free time is a period of time spent out of work and essential domestic activity. Recreation or fun is spending time in a manner designed for therapeutic refreshment of the body or mind. While leisure is more like a form of entertainment or rest, recreation requires active participation in a refreshing and diverting manner.

As people in the world’s wealthier regions lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, the need for recreation has increased. These play a significant role in the travel and tourism sector.

A tourism/tourist product can be defined as the sum of the physical and psychological satisfaction it provides to tourists, during their ‘traveling and sojourn’ en route at the destinations.

Since the travel and tourism industry is an agglomeration of too many sectors that promote travel-related services. These sectors are referred to as travel vendors and their services and goods are called ‘travel products’. A tourism product includes five main components such as physical plant, services, hospitality, freedom of choice, and a sense of involvement.

Thus, whatever the natural and man-made resources and services brought about the consumption of tourists are called tourism products .

Charecterstatics Of Tourism Products

By now, you must have understood what a tourism product is. Now let us look at some of its characteristics:-

1) Intangible : Tourism is an intangible product means tourism is such a kind of product that can not be touched or seen and there is no transfer of ownership, But the facilities are available for a specified time and for a specified use. For e.g. a room in the hotel is available for a specified time.

2) Psychological : The main motive to purchase a tourism products is to satisfy the psychological need after using the product, by getting an experience while interacting with a new environment. And experiences also motivate others to purchase that product.

3) Highly Perishable : Tourism product is highly perishable in nature means one can not store the product for a long time. Production and consumption take place while a tourist is available. If the product remains unused, the chances are lost i.e. if tourists do not purchase it.

A travel agent or tour operator who sells a tourism product cannot store it. Production can only take place if the customer is actually present. And once consumption begins, it cannot be stopped, interrupted, or modified. If the product remains unused, the chances are lost i.e. if tourists do not visit a particular place, the opportunity at that time is lost. It is due to tourism reason that heavy discount is offered by hotels and transport-generating organizations during the offseason.

4) Composite Product : Tourist product is a combination of different products. It has not a single entity in itself. In the experience of a visit to a particular place, various service providers contribute like transportation The tourist product cannot be provided by a single enterprise, unlike a manufactured product.

The tourist product covers the complete experience of a visit to a particular place. And many providers contribute to the tourism experience. For instance, the airline supplies seats, a hotel provides rooms and restaurants, travel agents make bookings for stay and sightseeing, etc.

5) Unstable Demand : Tourism demand is influenced by seasonal, economic political, and other factors. There are certain times of the year that see greater demand than others. At these times there is a greater strain on services like hotel bookings, employment, the transport system, etc.

​Can purposeful travel help us change the way we see the world in 2022?

Daniel Fahey

Feb 24, 2022 • 13 min read

Ethiopia. Rear view of a senior ethiopian man carrying his stick over his shoulder and watching the milky way in a starry sky.

We all share one planet. Can purposeful travel improve how we see it? © Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

As a number of countries begin to reopen their borders to foreign tourists and pre-departure COVID-19 requirements become more uncommon, 2022 looks like it may be the year travel bounces back. But should we fire it up the way it was? Or can it change for the better? Travel community Trippin is hopeful for the latter.

To celebrate his 24th birthday, Nate Agbetu flew to Tokyo. The creative strategist from East London hadn’t picked Japan for its Sensō-ji temple or to see its pink cherry blossoms , instead, he’d chosen it so he could be fully immersed. 

“I wanted to go on my first solo trip and I wanted to go somewhere where I'd like to be entirely culturally shocked,” Agbetu says. 

Through his creative studio Play Nice , Agbetu’s work typically focuses on creating intersections between communities, such as the film he made for the Electronic exhibition at London’s Design Museum : not only does the movie recognize the contribution of the Black community to the musical genre, but Agbetu also launched an initiative that gives away free tickets to individuals underrepresented in the arts. Now his vocation was influencing his travels too.

A black man stands outside traditional Japanese architecture and smiles for the camera

“I was working on a spatial design brief and the way the Japanese think about space and design is just beautiful,” he says. During a week-long trip, Agbetu took in exhibitions, ate “some of the most hearty rāmen” he’d ever had at Afuri in Ebisu, and met a number of local people – but it was an introduction to the ‘zine scene that enthralled him the most.

“They have a big culture of just making different ‘zines, using paper as a kind of architectural piece,” he says. “It's not just about what's in it, but it's also about how it's folded up and how it comes together. I found out a lot about that from some of the art kids that I met over there.”

By actively pursuing a trip with the intention of learning through local interaction in a mutually beneficial way, Agbetu was engaging in purposeful travel, a polysemy that has differing definitions for each traveler but is described by Trippin as a “mindset”.

This was true for Agbetu. His vacation in Japan and a second trip to the Palestinian Territories were about widening his understanding of the world rather than ticking something off a bucket list. “Both trips were more for me to understand how people socialize in different places, and understand a bit more about the way we interact and learn from what it means to live inside of another culture and to adapt to it without being voyeuristic or exploitative.”

An inside spread of the Trippin report, with the headline "purposeful travel and the creative traveler" and breaking down data of followers

What is purposeful travel?

So could purposeful travel be the future? A report commissioned by London’s public research university UCL for the travel community Trippin suggests it could. But it will require an overhaul by brands and introspection by travelers.

“We always say [purposeful travel is] a change in mindset,” says the co-founder of Trippin, Kesang Ball. “Traveling the world is amazing: It’s there to be explored, cultures are there to be connected to, and I think that it brings us together. By understanding people's differences, we can understand more of our own.” 

Trippin started as a Facebook group in 2016 before it expanded into a website that blended articles, films, and podcasts with city guides curated by local cultural icons – such as the top spots in Beijing as picked by the DJ Yu Su , or exploring Medellín with the producer Verraco.

“Our destination insights and guides are written by local journalists and cultural figures who can offer different lenses on how to experience their city and culture,” says Ball, “ensuring stories from both sides of the lens are always present.” 

By partnering with local creators, Trippin publishes inclusive, intentional, and hyper-local work, designed to empower travelers to have rich, sustainable travel experiences. Ball argues that travel writing by Western media publications can distort authentic narratives in a destination, creating unrealistic expectations for travelers.

“Trips and experiences are different for each traveler which is something I've always been conscious of as someone from a mixed heritage background,” she says. When Trippin relaunches in 2022, purposeful travel will be at its heart. Should other travel publications follow suit?

An selfie of an Asian woman on a beach

Travel needs to be more diverse and inclusive

A Reuters report from 2021 found that there are no non-white editors in top roles across the top ten news outlets, both online and offline. The report concluded that white people are “significantly over-represented among top editors,” and “and non-white people are significantly under-represented.” 

The Diversity in Journalism Report in 2021 found much of the same. It revealed that 92% of journalists are white – a drop of 2% compared with the same survey in 2017 – and a figure higher than the proportion for the UK workforce as a whole (88%).

Meera Dattani, the Senior Editor of – now publishing again following a nine-month hiatus due to COVID-19 – is one of only a handful of non-white travel editors in the UK. She believes that the lack of representation in the travel media is bad for travelers.

“It’s so important for travel media to have more diverse voices – it’s this variety of personal experiences, background, and perspectives that bring a much-needed different, refreshing angle to the table,” says Dattani. “There’s less chance of othering and exoticizing when you have this inclusivity as the approach to travel isn’t from the same type of person,” she adds.

Dattani believes the industry needs diversity from the top down, including editorial teams who make decisions about what gets published and how copy is presented. The Unpacking Media Bias newsletter , which Dattani co-founded with fellow travel journalist Shivani Ashoka in 2020, shines a light on this very issue. Since its inception, she believes there  has been a small shift in editorial sensitivity.

"There are more open, honest conversations around language and why we might not use certain words or why we need to provide more context if we do," says Dattani "[This] doesn’t mean everyone is having this debate, but certainly it feels like more editors, publications and travel companies are."

Sophie Lam, Travel Editor of the i newspaper , is one of them. She has often spoken out about using a variety of voices and publishing inclusive work. Lottie Gross and Steph Dyson who run the Talking Travel Writing newsletter have argued that the genre needs to be decolonized and that LGBTQ+ inclusion needs to improve.

A number of tour operators have started to implement change too. In 2021, Intrepid Travel published an Ethical Marketing Policy to show openly how they are trying to sell destinations in more diverse, equal, and transparent ways. 

“Modern travel writing is generally based on the writing genre that emerged during colonization, so this European-centric colonial gaze means we end up promoting that observation-led style of travel, rather than genuinely engaging with people,” says Dattani. “If we don’t challenge the narratives that are fed to us, we will just keep telling the same old stories even through travel writing.”

Dattani says a number of "really bold journalists" are already beginning to change the stories being told and "tell it as it is". She points to Lebawit Lily Girma writing about vaccine equity for Skift and Zoey Goto on the discovery of the last known slave ship, the Clotilda ,  for BBC Travel as just two examples.

A shot of an open suitcase with two burgundy British passports on the top, and some Trippin-branded stickers

Time to think about both people and the planet

The Trippin report says that for purposeful travel to work, it has to be both sustainable and available to all. “To us, purposeful travel considers the pillars of sustainable tourism but also the intersectionality of a traveler’s identity,” it reads. 

The report suggests that travelers should not only think about the environmental implications of how they travel, and the social and economic impact of their visits – choosing where they stay, how they interact with locals, where they spend their money – but it also calls on the travel industry to create sustainable solutions for the future that are far more inclusive and to consider the intersectionality of the person traveling too.

Developed by lawyer and philosopher Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality refers to race, class, and gender as interlocking systems of oppression. “This conceptual model, when applied to the travel industry, shines a light on how uneven its landscape is and helps us think about how power, oppression, resistance, privilege, benefits, and disadvantages are systematically distributed,” reads the report.

Joycelyn Longdon is the founder of Climate in Colour , an education platform that aims to make climate conversations more accessible and diverse, agrees that the way we travel needs to change.

“It is also important for marginalized people to not be deterred from traveling but to unapologetically show up,” she says. “I think that by more people of color, people with disabilities, and queer people showing up and taking space in travel sectors, the more intersectional the space will become.

A Black male wearing make up, large hoop earrings and an off-the-shoulder white top

The way we choose to travel is important as well. “We cannot continue into the future with our current travel habits,” says Longdon. “Our planet and environment are under so much pressure as it is and it's only going to get worse. We need to reimagine what travel is, before the destinations we want to jet-set to disappear underwater or are ravaged by ever more powerful and destructive hurricanes.”

According to the University of Sydney , tourism accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to make informed choices about traveling sustainably. The UN's Environment Programme (UNEP) has been advocating that travelers engage in slow, low-carbon travel for decades, and whilst consumers can make some small changes themselves, the industry as a whole needs to seriously think about its environmental impact.

“We need to stop buying last-minute flights,” says Longdon. “Our travel should be planned more intentionally and we should advocate for change in the workplace in terms of how we take holiday,” she adds. “It also means advertising less frivolous, impulsive experiences and really showing the destination through a local's eyes rather than tourists.”

A Ghanaian woman poses for a photo close to Elmina Castle in Ghana.

Travel with intention 

So how can travelers engage positively and with purpose? “I think travelers should meditate over the reasons for their travel before pressing the book button,” says Longdon. “We book flights like we order Deliveroo, and while I love spontaneity, I don’t think we meditate enough over why we are traveling, what we want to get out of it, how we can travel authentically, and even take some time to learn about the destinations culture, history, and people before flying.”

Longdon believes that purpose comes from intention, something that Gabby Beckford, founder of the Young Travelers Network says she sees in the choices of Millennials and Generation Z travelers.

“Gen Z travels specifically for social reasons, for self-awareness reasons, for self-improvement, for discovery and identity,” says Beckford, who is also part of the Black Travel Alliance , a group of Black travel content creators that looks to increase the representation of Black people in the travel industry. “The way that we travel is more intentional.” 

Beckford believes that travelers born after 1980 are more likely to base their decisions on the harm a trip could do to the planet. “Generation Z is like the FBI when it comes to research,” she says. “[They’ll ask]: ‘What's my carbon emissions in flying versus taking a train for 48 hours?’”

A black woman wearing an orange dress with matching sneakers poses for the camera

Think local and watch where your money is going

Many young travelers crave authenticity as well. “Authenticity is very important, without authenticity, the culture, character, and life of a place are erased and replaced with a, usually, Western-centric ideal,” argues Longdon. “It's about fostering opportunities to see the destination through a local eye.”

This means interacting with locals, eating in the same restaurants as they do, drinking in the same bars. “I think each traveler defines what is authentic to themselves [...] but in general it is engaging with the reality that never leaves the destination,” she adds.

It could mean rethinking our accommodation options as well. “I think purposefully traveling, which is like truly interacting with people in their environment, is a much greater way of learning anything or experiencing anything than going to a resort,” says Nate Agbetu, who argues that fly-and-flops to foreign-owned hotels fuels an outdated system of capitalism and shows an idea of travel that has been sold to travelers via the media.

A 1990 study into tourism ‘leakage’ by the Thai Institute for Development and Administration estimated that 70% of all money spent by tourists ended up leaving Thailand and went to foreign-owned businesses. A report from Bali in 2017 showed that the highest percentage of tourism ‘leakage’ came from 4- and 5-star chain hotels (55.31%), while local, non-star hotels only leaked 2%.

"With COVID-19, resorts, hotels, restaurants became pretty desperate to get locals into their properties,” says Ashlee Constance, a social media marketing specialist from Barbados . “At first it was exciting to think, finally I’ll be able to afford such experiences or be a tourist in my own country but at some point you begin to question: Is this possible because they see us as valued customers or it is because they have no other choice?”

A woman leans against a pillar posing for the camera

Travel with purpose when exploring close to home too

Kesang Ball thinks that we all need to travel with purpose locally too. "My recent trips have all been local,” she says, “so I've focused on choosing a more sustainable method of transport getting there.”

In 2021, one of Trippin’s co-founders, Sam Blenkinsopp, visited Pembrokeshire in Wales . “Long hikes along the coastline geared up in as much Goretex as humanly possible to protect from the sideways rain, followed by takeaway fish and chips in the car,” he says. “For some that could sound like a nightmare but for me it's a nostalgic one, reminding me of trips with my family growing up.”

Blenkinsopp decided to go to Wales because it was close to home. He also suggests traveling off-season and buying from locally-owned businesses as purposeful ways to travel.

The Trippin team echoes this in how they commission and create their own content too. “We went out to Lagos to document the local creative scene and the people out there who are moving culture forward,” says Ball. “With every piece of content we create, it’s important for us to ensure we are authentically representing the culture of that destination. So in Lagos, we made sure that our crew, even down to the producers on the ground, scouts and the director of photography were all from Nigeria. You always create the best content that way.”

Ball believes that depicting each destination in a way that locals would want it to be seen gives younger people a genuine glimpse into a culture. “Traditional media platforms that publish travel stories have frequently perpetuated and distorted cultural narratives,” she says. “They influence tourists on what to expect of cultures when they arrive. Putting cultures and communities across into ‘digestible buckets’ [that are] palpable for the Western lens. This has so many negative impacts on cultural exchange and honestly, young people are over it.”

You might also like: Black Gotham walking tours will lead you through New York's untold history Why travel is important to Generation Z    What are the most welcoming destinations according to black women travelling solo?

This article was first published Dec 21, 2020 and updated Feb 24, 2022.

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UN Tourism | Bringing the world closer

Tourism – an economic and social phenomenon, share this content.

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Why Tourism?

Over the decades, tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening ‎diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. ‎Modern tourism is closely linked to development and encompasses a growing number ‎of new destinations. These dynamics have turned tourism into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress.‎

Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income ‎sources for many developing countries. This growth goes hand in hand with an ‎increasing diversification and competition among destinations.‎

International tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew 4% in January-March 2019 compared to the same period last year, below the 6% average growth of the past two years.

This global spread of tourism in industrialised and developed states has produced ‎economic and employment benefits in many related sectors - from construction to ‎agriculture or telecommunications.‎

The contribution of tourism to economic well-being depends on the quality and the ‎revenues of the tourism offer. UN Tourism assists destinations in their sustainable ‎positioning in ever more complex national and international markets. As the UN agency ‎dedicated to tourism, UN Tourism points out that particularly developing countries stand to ‎benefit from sustainable tourism and acts to help make this a reality.‎

Who’s a tourist? How a culture of travel is changing everyday life

tourism purpose of travel

Professor of Sustainable Tourism and Director Griffith Institute for Tourism, Griffith University

Disclosure statement

Susanne Becken does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Griffith University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

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tourism purpose of travel

Every year, on September 27, the global tourism community celebrates World Tourism Day . This year’s theme is about community development and how tourism can contribute to empowering people and improve socio-economic conditions in local communities.

But who are the people who might visit “communities” and what does it mean – these days – to be a tourist?

There are many tourist stereotypes – an overweight Westerner in shorts with a camera dangling around their neck, or maybe a trekking-shoed backpacker hanging out in the Himalayas. Many people think of “tourism” and “holidays” as distinct times of the year when the family travels to the seaside or the mountains.

World Tourism Day is an opportunity to discuss how much more encompassing the phenomenon of tourism is than most people might think.

What is a tourist?

People are more often a “tourist” than they realise. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation broadly defines a tourist as anyone travelling away from home for more than one night and less than one year. So, mobility is at the core of tourism.

In Australia, for example, in 2013 75.8 million people travelled domestically for an overnight trip – spending 283 million visitor nights and $51.5 billion.

Reasons for travel are manifold and not restricted to holidays, which makes up only 47% of all domestic trips in Australia. Other reasons include participation in sport events, visiting a friend or relative, or business meetings.

Some of the most-visited destinations in the world are not related to leisure but to other purposes. For example, pilgramage tourism to Mecca (Saudi Arabia) triples the population from its normal 2 million during the Hajj period every year.

tourism purpose of travel

Travel, work and leisure: what’s the difference?

Tourists are not what they used to be. One of the most pervasive changes in the structure of modern life is the crumbling divide between the spheres of work and life. This is no more obvious than in relation to travel. Let me test the readers of The Conversation: who is checking their work emails while on holiday?

A recent survey undertaken in the US showed that 44.8% of respondents check their work email at least once a day outside work hours. Further, 29.8% of respondents use their work email for personal purposes.

Post-modern thinkers have long pointed to processes where work becomes leisure and leisure cannot be separated from work anymore. Ever-increasing mobility means the tourist and the non-tourist become more and more alike.

The classic work-leisure divide becomes particularly fluid for those who frequently engage in travel, for example to attend business meetings or conferences. Conferences are often held at interesting locations, inviting longer stays and recreational activities not only for participants but also for spouses and family.

Further, city business hotels increasingly resemble tourist resorts: both have extensive recreational facilities such as swimming pools and spas, multiple restaurants and often shopping opportunities (e.g. Marina Bay Sands, Singapore ). And, of course, they offer internet access – to be connected to both work and private “business”.

Understanding how people negotiate this liquidity while travelling provides interesting insights into much broader societal changes in terms of how people organise their lives.

For some entrepreneurial destinations these trends have provided an opportunity; namely the designation of so-called dead zones – areas where no mobile phone and no internet access are available. Here the tourist can fully immerse in the real locality of their stay.

Fear of missing out

The perceived need to connect virtually to “friends” (e.g. on Facebook) and colleagues has attracted substantial psychological research interest, with new terms being coined such as FOMO (fear of missing out) addiction, or internet addiction disorder.

A recent Facebook survey found that this social media outlet owes much of its popularity to travel – 42% of stories shared related to travel. The motivations for engaging in extensive social media use and implications for tourism marketing are an active area of tourism research.

Thus, understanding why and what people share while travelling (i.e. away from loved ones, but possibly earning important “social status” points) might provide important insights into wider questions of social networks and identity formation, especially among younger people.

Tourism and emigration

The increasingly global nature of networks has been discussed in detail by sociologist John Urry and others. They note the growing interconnectedness between tourism and migration, where families are spread over the globe and (cheap) air travel enables social networks to connect regularly.

As a result, for many people local communities have given way to global communities, with important implications for people’s “sense of place” and resilience. The global nature of personal networks extends to business relationships where the degree to which one is globally connected determines one’s “network capital”.

Urry also noted that mobility has become a differentiation factor between the “haves” and “have nots”, with a small elite of hypermobile “connectors”. Thus travel and tourism sit at the core of a potentially new structure of leaders and influential decision makers.

The global ‘share economy’

Engaging in this global community of tourists is not restricted to those who travel actively. The so-called Share Economy , where people rent out their private homes (e.g. AirBnB), share taxi rides or dinners, has brought tourism right into the living rooms of those who wish to engage with people who they may not meet otherwise.

Potentially this parallel “tourism industry” provides a unique opportunity for bringing people together and achieving peace through tourism (see International Institute for Peace through Tourism ). A whole new area for research travellers, “guests and hosts” and their economic impacts, is emerging.

In a nutshell, tourism is much more than the service industry it is usually recognised for, both in practice and as a field of academic enquiry. Tourism and the evolving nature of travellers provide important insights into societal changes, challenges and opportunities. Engaging with tourism and travel also provides us with an excellent opportunity to better understand trends that might foster or impede sustainable development more broadly.

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Chapter 1. History and Overview

1.1 What is Tourism?

Before engaging in a study of tourism , let’s have a closer look at what this term means.

Definition of Tourism

There are a number of ways tourism can be defined, and for this reason, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) embarked on a project from 2005 to 2007 to create a common glossary of terms for tourism. It defines tourism as follows:

Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2008).

Using this definition, we can see that tourism is not just the movement of people for a number of purposes (whether business or pleasure), but the overall agglomeration of activities, services, and involved sectors that make up the unique tourist experience.

Tourism, Travel, and Hospitality: What are the Differences?

It is common to confuse the terms tourism , travel , and hospitality or to define them as the same thing. While tourism is the all-encompassing umbrella term for the activities and industry that create the tourist experience, the UNWTO (2020) defines travel as the activity of moving between different locations often for any purpose but more so for leisure and recreation (Hall & Page, 2006). On the other hand, hospitality can be defined as “the business of helping people to feel welcome and relaxed and to enjoy themselves” (Discover Hospitality, 2015, p. 3). Simply put, the hospitality industry is the combination of the accommodation and food and beverage groupings, collectively making up the largest segment of the industry (Go2HR, 2020). You’ll learn more about accommodations and F & B in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 , respectively.

Definition of Tourist and Excursionist

Building on the definition of tourism, a commonly accepted description of a tourist is “someone who travels at least 80 km from his or her home for at least 24 hours, for business or leisure or other reasons” (LinkBC, 2008, p.8). The United Nations World Tourism Organization (1995) helps us break down this definition further by stating tourists can be:

  • Domestic (residents of a given country travelling only within that country)
  • Inbound (non-residents travelling in a given country)
  • Outbound (residents of one country travelling in another country)

Excursionists  on the other hand are considered same-day visitors (UNWTO, 2020). Sometimes referred to as “day trippers.” Understandably, not every visitor stays in a destination overnight. It is common for travellers to spend a few hours or less to do sightseeing, visit attractions, dine at a local restaurant, then leave at the end of the day.

The scope of tourism, therefore, is broad and encompasses a number of activities and sectors.

Spotlight On: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible “for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism” (UNWTO, 2014b). Its membership includes 159 countries and over 500 affiliates such as private companies, research and educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations. It promotes tourism as a way of developing communities while encouraging ethical behaviour to mitigate negative impacts. For more information, visit the UNWTO website .

NAICS: The North American Industry Classification System

Given the sheer size of the tourism industry, it can be helpful to break it down into broad industry groups using a common classification system. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was jointly created by the Canadian, US, and Mexican governments to ensure common analysis across all three countries (British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, 2013a). The tourism-related groupings created using NAICS are (in alphabetical order):

  • Accommodation
  • Food and beverage services (commonly known as “F & B”)
  • Recreation and entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Travel services

These industry groups (also commonly known as sectors) are based on the similarity of the “labour processes and inputs” used for each (Government of Canada, 2013). For instance, the types of employees and resources required to run an accommodation business whether it be a hotel, motel, or even a campground are quite similar. All these businesses need staff to check in guests, provide housekeeping, employ maintenance workers, and provide a place for people to sleep. As such, they can be grouped together under the heading of accommodation. The same is true of the other four groupings, and the rest of this text explores these industry groups, and other aspects of tourism, in more detail.

Two female front desk employees speak to a male guest in a hotel lobby.

It is typical for the entire tourist experience to involve more than one sector. The combination of sectors that supply and distribute the needed tourism products, services, and activities within the tourism system is called the Tourism Supply Chain. Often, these chains of sectors and activities are dependent upon each other’s delivery of products and services. Let’s look at a simple example below that describes the involved and sometimes overlapping sectoral chains in the tourism experience:

Tourism supply chain. Long description available.

Before we seek to understand the five tourism sectors in more detail, it’s important to have an overview of the history and impacts of tourism to date.

Long Descriptions

Figure 1.2 long description: Diagram showing the tourism supply chain. This includes the phases of travel and the sectors and activities involved during each phase.

There are three travel phases: pre-departure, during travel, and post-departure.

Pre-departure, tourists use the travel services and transportation sectors.

During travel, tourists use the travel services, accommodations, food and beverage, recreation and entertainment, and transportation sectors.

Post-departure, tourists use the transportation sector.

[Return to Figure 1.2]

Media Attributions

  • Front Desk by Staying LEVEL is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 Licence .

Tourism according the the UNWTO is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.

UN agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism worldwide.

Moving between different locations for leisure and recreation.

The accommodations and food and beverage industry groupings.

someone who travels at least 80 km from his or her home for at least 24 hours, for business or leisure or other reasons

A same-day visitor to a destination. Their trip typically ends on the same day when they leave the destination.

A way to group tourism activities based on similarities in business practices, primarily used for statistical analysis.

Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC - 2nd Edition Copyright © 2015, 2020, 2021 by Morgan Westcott and Wendy Anderson, Eds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Discover, Budget, Thrive: Unveiling Travel Wisdom at Every Turn!

What is the Purpose of Travel? Exploring the Motivations Behind Our Wanderlust

tourism purpose of travel

Travel has been a part of human experience for centuries. People travel for various reasons, including leisure, work, education, and exploration. The purpose of travel has evolved over time, and it means different things to different people. Some people travel to escape their daily routine, while others seek adventure or cultural immersion. Understanding the purpose of travel is essential to plan a fulfilling trip that meets one’s expectations.

Travel can be a transformative experience that broadens one’s perspective, enhances personal growth, and provides a break from the monotony of routine life. For some, travel is a way to explore new places, learn about different cultures, and try new things. For others, it is an opportunity to relax, unwind, and recharge. Whatever the purpose of travel may be, it is essential to recognize that it can have a profound impact on one’s life.

In this article, we will explore the purpose of travel and its significance in today’s world. We will examine the different reasons why people travel and how it can benefit them. We will also discuss some of the challenges and drawbacks of travel and how to overcome them. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or someone planning your first trip, this article will provide valuable insights into the purpose of travel and how to make the most of your journey.

Understanding the Purpose of Travel

Table of Contents

Traveling has become an integral part of people’s lives. People travel for various reasons, such as exploring new cultures, personal growth, and professional development. Understanding the purpose of travel is crucial for planning a successful trip.

Cultural Exploration

One of the main reasons people travel is to explore new cultures. Traveling to different countries and experiencing their unique traditions, cuisines, and lifestyles can broaden one’s perspective and help them appreciate diversity. Traveling also allows people to learn about the history and art of different countries, which can be enlightening and enriching.

Personal Growth

Traveling can also facilitate personal growth. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone and experiencing new things can boost confidence and self-awareness. Traveling can also help people develop new skills, such as language proficiency, adaptability, and problem-solving. Moreover, traveling can be a great way to take a break from the daily routine and recharge one’s batteries.

Business and Professional Development

Traveling can also be beneficial for business and professional development. Attending conferences, meetings, and workshops in different countries can provide networking opportunities and exposure to new ideas and trends. Traveling for work can also help people develop cross-cultural communication skills and gain international experience, which can be valuable for career advancement.

In conclusion, understanding the purpose of travel is essential for planning a successful trip. Whether it is for cultural exploration, personal growth, or business and professional development, traveling can be a life-changing experience that broadens one’s horizons and enriches their life.

Types of Travel

When it comes to travel, there are various types of trips that people can take. Each type of travel has its own unique purpose and characteristics. Here are some of the most common types of travel:

Leisure and Recreation

Leisure and recreation travel is perhaps the most common type of travel. It involves going on a trip for the purpose of relaxation and enjoyment. This type of travel can include activities such as sunbathing on a beach, visiting theme parks, or going on a cruise. People who engage in leisure and recreation travel usually have a specific destination in mind and plan their trip around that destination.

Adventure and Exploration

Adventure and exploration travel is for people who seek excitement and new experiences. This type of travel can include activities such as hiking, camping, and backpacking. Adventure and exploration travelers often seek out destinations that are off the beaten path and offer unique experiences that are not available in their daily lives.

Visiting Friends and Relatives

Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel is when people travel to visit their friends or family members who live in another location. This type of travel is often done for personal reasons, such as attending a wedding or reunion. VFR travel can also be a way for people to reconnect with their roots or cultural heritage.

Educational Journeys

Educational journeys are trips that are taken for the purpose of learning and personal growth. This type of travel can include language immersion programs, cultural tours, and study abroad programs. Educational journeys can be formal or informal, and they often provide travelers with a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Overall, the purpose of travel varies depending on the type of trip and the individual traveler. Whether it’s for leisure, adventure, visiting loved ones, or education, travel can provide people with new experiences and perspectives that can enrich their lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main reasons people choose to travel.

People travel for various reasons, including adventure, relaxation, exploration, cultural immersion, and personal growth. Some people travel to escape their daily routine, while others seek new experiences and challenges.

How does travel fulfill personal growth and learning objectives?

Travel can help broaden one’s perspective and expose them to new cultures, beliefs, and ways of life. It can also help develop skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, and communication. Travelers can learn new languages, try new foods, and gain a better understanding of the world and themselves.

In what ways does travel contribute to cultural understanding?

Travel allows people to experience different cultures firsthand and gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of them. It can help break down stereotypes and promote empathy and respect for others. By interacting with locals, travelers can learn about their customs, traditions, and way of life.

What role does travel play in strengthening relationships and creating new connections?

Travel can bring people closer together and create lasting memories. It provides an opportunity to bond with friends and family and create shared experiences. It can also help people make new connections and form friendships with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

How is travel significant for leisure and relaxation?

Travel can provide a much-needed break from the stresses of daily life and offer a chance to unwind and recharge. It can also provide an opportunity to pursue hobbies and interests, such as hiking, skiing, or sightseeing.

What should one consider when explaining their motivation for travel during a visa application process?

When applying for a visa, it is important to provide a clear and honest explanation of the purpose of travel. This can include details such as the itinerary, planned activities, and intended length of stay. It is also important to demonstrate ties to one’s home country and a willingness to return after the trip.

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Sustainable travel , travel , travel stories, how purposeful travel is shaping the future of tourism.

Purposeful travel: golden hour on the beach.

  • Published April 16, 2019

Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend was once a tranquil site on the Colorado River. Despite lying only seven miles from the Grand Canyon, the natural landmark enjoyed shades of anonymity for decades. But thanks to the geotagging of camera-wielding visitors, attendance to the area skyrocketed. About five years ago, this U-shaped bend received as few as 1,000 visitors annually. In 2019, the site welcomes at least 4,000 visitors daily.

To manage the increase in visitors, the site’s parking lot needed to be expanded. Railings, signs, and other features had to be built to complement visitors’ experiences and amplify the area’s safety measures. What was once a wild place was transformed into a manufactured destination.

But this story isn’t unique. It seems to be a telling tale of the times.

Since its outset, tourism has been considered a good-natured activity. It has revitalized rural communities, restored historic cities, supported populations in the wake of disasters, and helped conserve critically endangered species. But it’s necessary to acknowledge that overtourism can have harmful side effects and destinations ought to counterbalance the effects of the increased numbers of visitors.

Understanding Overtourism

tourism purpose of travel

This isn’t to say that travel, or the desire to see more of the world, inherently results in all of the above; the lesson here is that tourism can have both positive and negative impacts. It has the power to build up, but also to tear down. And with global tourist numbers set to accelerate at an even faster rate in coming years, we need to consider the ways in which our choices affect the world at large and be more intentional with our travel.

This is where purposeful travel comes into play. Though purposeful travel has many different interpretations, at its core, it is rooted in meaningful connections between people and places.

Traveling with Purpose

tourism purpose of travel

How can you help promote purposeful travel?

  • Support local businesses by buying directly from artisans and co-ops, seeking out knowledgeable guides, staying in locally owned accommodations, eating at restaurants that serve locally sourced food, and traveling in ways that benefit the local populations.
  • Center community-based exchanges at the heart of your travel, and choose quality over quantity, fulfillment over checklists, and significant experience over service.

Taking more meaningful trips not only allows us to have a positive impact on the places we visit, encourages integrating our passions into our travel and ultimately get more out of our trips , it also results in more sustainable travel patterns . When combined, these actions add up to a new era of tourism, which will help us learn from our past patterns and manage overcrowding in destinations around the world.

tourism purpose of travel

That said, the problem is far from solved. The World Travel and Tourism Council recently published a study on the effects of overtourism and narrowed the results down to five major challenges: alienated local residents, degraded tourist experience, overloaded infrastructure, damage to the natural environment, and threats to culture and heritage.

How can we be a part of the solution? We can explore our own backyards , plan our adventures for the off-season , live more sustainably , and inform others about the global effects of overtourism .

Though it will also take smarter decision-making by governments, tour operators, and responsible tourism NGOs to manage the environmental impacts of overtourism, we, as individual travelers, can push for change through our actions and speak out about the importance of purposeful travel.

The Future of Tourism

Purposeful travel is about creating better places to live in and visit. It’s centered on experiences that benefit both the traveler and the location, and it prioritizes progress for the benefit of local communities. By infusing our journeys with purpose, we can maximize the benefits of tourism and minimize the negative, all while fostering stronger bonds between cultures and a greater respect of natural environments.

When we take the time to truly curate our travels and align our passions and curiosities with the destinations on our boarding passes, we become closer with the soul of a place. When we connect with the soul of a place, we come home with more meaningful stories. And when we come home with more meaningful stories, we can’t help but share them with others. Our personal narratives contribute to a greater conversation, encouraging those around the world to view travel differently.

Traveling with intention may require more heart, thought, and time, but it gives back, twofold, what it takes. By putting in that extra effort, we can repair the damage done by overzealous travel, and give our journeys a purpose once more.

We’d love to hear how purposeful travel has shaped your perception of tourism — share your stories with us using #MeaningfulMoments .

As Capital One Purpose Project partners, we are excited to be a part of the conversation to showcase how people are rethinking the power of travel. Find more tips on how to travel with purpose on the Capital One Purpose Project Hub , in collaboration with The Points Guy.

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What next for travel and tourism? Here's what the experts say

In many countries, more than 80% of travel and tourism spending actually comes from the domestic market.

In many countries, more than 80% of travel and tourism spending actually comes from the domestic market. Image:  Unsplash/Surface

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Stay up to date:.

  • In 2020 alone, the travel and tourism sector lost $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs globally.
  • But as the world recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel and tourism can bounce back as an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient sector.
  • Two experts highlight some of the key transformations in the sector going forward during the World Economic Forum's Our World in Transformation series.

The Travel & Tourism sector was one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving not only companies but also tourism-driven economies severely affected by shutdowns, travel restrictions and the disappearance of international travel.

In 2020 alone, the sector lost $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs, impacting the living standards and well-being of communities across the globe. Moreover, the halt in international travel gave both leisure and business travellers the chance to consider the impact of their choices on the climate and environment.

Amid shifting demand dynamics and future opportunities and risks, a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient travel and tourism sector can be - and needs to be - built.

The World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021 finds that embedding inclusivity, sustainability and resilience into the travel and tourism sector as it recovers, will ensure it can continue to be a driver of global connectivity, peace and economic and social progress.

We spoke to Sandra Carvao , Chief of Market Intelligence and Competitiveness at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and Liz Ortiguera , CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association in Thailand (PATA), and asked them to highlight some of the key areas of risk and opportunity in the sector during an episode of the World Economic Forum's Our World in Transformation series.

Have you read?

Travel & tourism development index 2021: rebuilding for a sustainable and resilient future, towards resilience and sustainability: travel and tourism development recovery, how can we really achieve sustainability in the travel sector, what are some of the top global trends you're witnessing currently in the travel and tourism sector.

Liz Ortiguera: Given the extended lockdown that we had on travel with the pandemic, vacation for friends and relatives (VFR) is now a high priority for people who haven’t been in touch for a long time thanks to the pandemic. So, people are reconnecting. And that kind of links to the second trend, which is multi-purpose or blended travel. Never before, particularly now that we can connect digitally through Zoom, has the ability to work from anywhere enabled travellers to cover multiple purposes, like visits with friends and multiple business trips. So, we'll find that the duration of travel and the length of stay is longer. And third is the continued high focus on safety and wellness which is top of mind for travellers due to the pandemic. All travel is wellness-related now.

Sandra Carvao: I think there is a bigger concern with sustainability, which is very welcome in our industry. Consumers, particularly the younger generation, are much more aware of the impact they have, not only on the environment but also socially and on the communities they live in. We've also seen an increase in expenditure per trip, so I think people are very eager to go outside, and they're staying longer. And on the other side, I think there are some challenges: we’re seeing a rise in late bookings because restrictions can change at short notice and that’s having an impact on the decisions of travellers. This is putting pressure on the industry in terms of planning and anticipating fluctuations in demand.

Social media surveys have shown that travellers who have immersive experiences are more likely to post about them, which is good for the industry.

What is community-based tourism and why is it important?

Sandra Carvao: One of the positive impacts of the pandemic is that people are looking for local experiences and are spending more time with communities. So, the concept of community-based tourism is obviously one that puts the community at the core of every development, ensuring that it's engaged and empowered and that it benefits. At the UNWTO, we worked with the G20 and the Saudi presidency back in 2020 and produced a framework for tourism development in communities, which states that communities need to be part of the planning and management of tourism activities. We need to go beyond traditional definitions of community to a point where the industry leans on partnerships between the public and private sectors and communities.

Liz Ortiguera: In July 2022, PATA is hosting a destination-marketing forum and one of the key themes is community-based tourism. The purpose is really to put the community and authenticity-in-culture activities at the heart of the travel experience. There are benefits for all stakeholders. One is that travellers can have an authentic experience. They're not in overcrowded, touristic locations and they experience something new and unique within the community. These experiences are designed in partnership with communities who get the benefit of financial inclusion, and if activities are designed properly, the reinforcement of their cultural heritage. Governments also engage in economic development more broadly across countries. Another interesting trend is creative tourism, which means you create an experience for tourists to participate in, like a dance lesson, or a cooking lesson. Social media surveys have shown that travellers who have these kinds of immersive experiences are more likely to post about them online and that's good for the industry.

It is important to emphasize that virtual experiences, while they are a fun tool, can never replace visiting a destination.

How is technology and innovation helping to leverage cultural resources?

Sandra Carvao: One interesting trend we’re seeing is that more and more people are booking trips directly, so communities need to be supported to digitize their systems. Education and upskilling of communities are important so that they can leverage digital platforms to market themselves. From the tourists’ perspective, it is important to emphasize that virtual experiences, while they are a fun tool, can never replace visiting a destination.

Liz Ortiguera: People have been living virtually for more than two years. Amazing innovations have emerged, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, and all kinds of applications and tools. But the important thing is the experience. The destination. Real-world experiences need to remain front and centre. Technology tools should be viewed as enablers and not the core experience. And when it comes to staff, technology can really democratize education. There’s an opportunity to mobilize a mobile-first approach for those who are on the frontlines, or out in the field, and can’t easily access computers, but need to get real-time information.

tourism purpose of travel

How is the sector dealing with labour shortages and re-employment of the workforce?

Liz Ortiguera: Labour shortages are much more dynamic in North America and in Europe. But it’s having a knock-on effect on Asia. If, for example, their air carriers are limited by staff and they have to cancel flights, which we're very much seeing out of Europe, seating capacity then becomes a limiting factor in the recovery of Asia Pacific. That's the main constraint right now. And compounding that is the rising price of fuel. But people in the Asia Pacific are keen to get reemployed.

Sandra Carvao: Labour shortages are a priority for the sector in countries around the world. Many workers left the sector during the pandemic and the uncertainty that surrounded the measures taken to contain it left many people unsure of whether the sector would recover. It is time to address things like conditions, scheduling, and work/life balance, all things which have been top of mind for workers during the pandemic. As the sector recovers, we need time to bring new hires on board and to train them to take over where those who switched jobs left off.

Are we seeing a growing trend towards domestic tourism?

Sandra Carvao: We’re talking about 9 billion people travelling within their own countries. And in many countries, for example in Germany, more than 80% of the tourism spending actually comes from the domestic market, similarly in countries like Spain and even smaller economies. Whenever it's possible to travel again, domestic markets tend to be more resilient. They kick off first mostly due to perceptions of safety and security issues. As the world economy recovers from the pandemic, there is a good opportunity for nations to rethink their strategy, look at the domestic market in a different way, and leverage different products for domestic tourists.

tourism purpose of travel

When it comes to sustainable tourism, how quickly could we mainstream eco-friendly modes of transportation?

Sandra Carvao: Transport is one of the key contributors to energy impacts and tourism. But it's also important that we look at the whole value chain. The UNWTO together with the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme just launched the Glasgow Declaration, which includes green commitments from destinations and companies. We’re seeing a strong movement in the airline industry to reduce emissions. But I think, obviously, technological developments will be very important. But it's also very important to look at market shifts. And we can't forget small islands and developing states that rely on long-haul air travel. It’s important to make sure that we invest in making the problem much less impactful.

Liz Ortiguera: 'Travel and tourism' is such a broad encompassing term that it’s not fair to call it an industry: it is actually a sector of many industries. The pandemic taught us how broad the impact of the sector is in terms of sustainability. There's a big movement in terms of destination resilience, which is the foundation for achieving sustainability in the journey to net-zero. We now have standards to mitigate that impact including meetings-and-events (MIE) standards and standards for tour operators. There are multiple areas within our industry where progress is being made. And I'm really encouraged by the fact that there is such a focus not just within the sector but also among consumers.

This interview was first done at the World Economic Forum's studios in Geneva as part of 'Our World in Transformation' - a live interactive event series for our digital members. To watch all the episodes and join future sessions, please subscribe here .

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The Purpose of Travel: 18 Reasons People Travel

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Are you ready to take the plunge and explore the world around you? Traveling is an enriching experience that can open up new perspectives, teach us more about ourselves, and help us develop a greater appreciation for the world.

Purpose of Travel-Enjoying the beach in Riviera Maya, Mexico

But what is the purpose of travel? What can travel do for you? If you have these questions on your mind, we are here to chat with you about them because it is something we think about all the time.

What is the main purpose of travel?

The main purpose of travel is to gain new experiences, broaden one’s horizons, and explore the world around them. That is the quick and easy answer.

However, travel can also provide an opportunity for self-discovery by providing a refreshing perspective and allowing us to step outside our everyday routine.

It can be an educational experience as you explore different cultures, try unique foods, and learn about unfamiliar landscapes. Overall, traveling is an amazing way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn about yourself and the world around you.

18 Reasons why people travel

There are many reasons why people travel. Some you may resonate with, and some you may not. And that is ok. We all travel for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. To experience different cultures

One of the most popular reasons people travel is to experience new cultures. Learning about other cultures’ customs, traditions, and lifestyles can be a gratifying and eye-opening experience.

Through travel, you can discover food you never thought existed, immerse yourself in fascinating history and stories, and gain insights from locals to help shape how you view the world.

It’s a great way to immerse yourself and learn about a new culture in a way you won’t get from reading about it in a classroom or seeing photos on Instagram.

2. To learn something new

Traveling can be an incredible opportunity for personal growth and learning. It’s a great way to learn about new places, pick up new skills or hobbies, and challenge yourself.

Learning new languages, for example, can be a great way to broaden your horizons and develop a deeper appreciation for the diversity of our world.

You can also take it further and volunteer abroad to teach language classes or build homes for those in need. This can be a gratifying experience where you will learn a new skill, boost your self-confidence as you grow and develop, and help others along the way.

3. To gain knowledge and understanding

Traveling can also be a great way to gain knowledge and understanding of the world around you. From learning about different political systems to trying authentic local cuisine, there are many ways to broaden your horizons and gain an appreciation for cultural differences.

Through travel, you can gain an understanding of the different lifestyles and societies on our planet, leading to a better appreciation for other cultures.

4. To explore nature, wildlife, and the outdoors

Traveling is also a great way to explore nature and the outdoors. While you can do this close to home there is something about taking in nature and outdoors in an unfamiliar place.

Whether you’re trekking through the jungle or snorkeling in the sea, there are countless opportunities to explore and appreciate the beauty of our planet.

Witnessing beautiful landscapes of other countries, getting up close to wildlife in a new place, or exploring nature while traveling can be a unique and humbling experience.

5. For relaxation and leisure

Traveling can also be a great way to relax and take some time off from the stresses of everyday life. Taking a break from your daily routine is essential to keeping yourself healthy and happy, so why not make it extra special by exploring somewhere new?

Whether relaxing on a beach in Thailand or taking in the breathtaking views from a mountaintop in the Rockies, many destinations can help you unwind and escape it all. Planning trips to a new destination is a wonderful way to live in the moment and really take the time to slow down.

Purpose of Travel-For adventure, exploration and discovery

6. For adventure, exploration, and discovery

Traveling can be an incredible adventure and a great way to explore the unknown. From exploring ancient ruins in Peru to climbing Mt. Everest in Nepal, there are countless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Adventure travel can also provide an opportunity to challenge yourself mentally and physically in ways you never thought possible.

7. To build relationships with friends or family members

Traveling to connect with family and friends is a great way to deepen relationships. Whether a short visit or an extended stay, the time spent together can create lasting memories and foster a greater sense of understanding.

It might be challenging to get away from work and other daily responsibilities at times, but traveling as a group can provide plenty of opportunities for fun and conversation, helping build bridges between people separated by geography.

In addition, sharing the experience of these new and fascinating places creates special bonds that last for years.

8. To take a break from everyday life

Many people often turn to travel to escape the monotony of their day-to-day routines. With familiar sights and sounds left behind for foreign lands, an unfamiliarity can bring both surprise and exploration far away from the comfort zones of the home.

Traveling allows us to break from the stress and worries that can drain us mentally and physically while providing us with invigorating new experiences that leave us feeling refreshed and energized.

Whether alone or with friends, there are many reasons why people travel: to explore different possibilities, meet new people, discover cultures, sample local cuisine, or reconnect with nature – it’s all out there, ready to be taken in by the open-minded traveler. Such journeys are invaluable in helping expand our perspectives on life itself.

9. For spiritual growth and development

People travel for spiritual growth and development for many reasons. They seek to explore their faith, find new perspectives on their beliefs, and learn more about different cultures and traditions.

Exploring unfamiliar places and ways of life can give travelers fresh insight into their beliefs, allowing them to view their culture with new eyes. For those looking to deepen their faith, traveling can provide the opportunity to connect with others who share similar values and experiences.

It can also open up possibilities for expanding one’s understanding of what faith can look like in different parts of the world. Ultimately, travel enriches us through the diverse ways we express our shared humanity through faith.

10. To create memories that will last a lifetime

Traveling is a great way to create lasting memories you and your family will never forget. Exploring different cultures, sampling unique cuisines, and embarking on remarkable adventures often generate fond recollections that can be shared with future generations.

When I reflect on my travels, I remember the people I have met along the way and the experiences that shaped me. Each journey allows us to learn something new or discover something about ourselves, making every trip worthwhile.

Purpose of Travel-To create memories that will last a lifetime

11. For physical and mental health benefits

Traveling allows us to discover new places, experiences, and perspectives. While it can broaden our horizons and provide a well-needed break from the routine of daily life, it also provides us with real mental and physical health benefits.

Studies have shown frequent travelers tend to have lower levels of stress hormones and improved immune system function.

For example, traveling encourages activity with outdoor exploration, which leads to better cardiovascular health and increased core strength.

For those looking for a mental boost, traveling can bring structure or relaxation into our lives despite our chaotic world. Exploring other cultures, cuisines, and unfamiliar surroundings helps to stimulate creativity, which can provide a long-term boost in career performance and problem-solving skills which is an added bonus.

12. To pursue creative or recreational activities

One of the reasons why people choose to travel is to pursue creative or recreational activities. From taking a photography class in Paris or camping in Yosemite National Park, travelers can pursue new activities that help them grow and develop personally.

By visiting places worldwide, individuals can challenge themselves physically, mentally, and creatively – whether through painting classes in Ireland or mountain biking down the Swiss Alps.

Traveling doesn’t just broaden one’s view of the world but also gives people an opportunity to enrich and enhance their lives through pursuing meaningful and diverse experiences.

13. To attend personal, professional, or educational events

Personal, professional, and educational events are another purpose for travel. There are many reasons for individuals to take a trip, from conferences to workshops to educational tours. Attending such events offers the chance to meet new people with similar interests or goals, which can open up a world of professional and personal possibilities.

For students, traveling provides an opportunity to explore different cultures and educational opportunities in a hands-on approach. For professionals, attending conferences can introduce them to new ideas and market trends that may help advance their careers, as well as opportunities for networking with others in their field from around the world.

14. To visit historical sites of interest

Traveling is a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate aspects of history that we might never experience daily. From majestic castles, tombs, and ancient ruins, exploring historical sites can bring us insight into the lives of past generations.

By interacting with these sites up close and personal, we can develop connections with the cultures and stories that reside within them. Each step I take through hallowed grounds worldwide reminds me that people are far more connected than we sometimes realize.

And it is this underlying understanding of our collective story as humanity that drives many people to travel and experience all there is to learn from these historically significant places.

15. To explore new cities and countries

Traveling worldwide allows people to explore new and exciting cultures, sights, and experiences. There is something special about the feeling of awe and wonder that comes with embarking on an adventure and immersing yourself in places different from your own home environment.

Every city has its unique architecture, cuisine, history, fashions, festivals, and customs, all of which offer incredible opportunities for personal growth, learning, and appreciation of diverse ways of living.

tourism purpose of travel

16. To experience different lifestyles

Traveling can be an enriching experience for people of all ages and backgrounds. It allows us to expand our horizons and develop a greater appreciation for the wide variety of cultures, customs, and lifestyles around the world.

By exposing ourselves to these environments, we can gain valuable insights into different ways of life and better understand our own lives in comparison.

Additionally, travel can open up new opportunities for exploration and adventure that would otherwise be unavailable in our everyday lives, enabling us to discover more about ourselves while sharing unforgettable experiences with friends or family.

17. To gain exposure to arts, music, and other forms of culture

One of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a person can have is travel because it allows us to explore other cultures, appreciates the arts, and experience new forms of music.

Submerging oneself in a different place allows one to observe firsthand how their culture functions, including architecture, cuisine, music, and art forms. Traveling can provide a thorough education on what makes cultures unique and why they continue to influence the world in meaningful ways.

If a traveler is also interested in participating in the culture they are visiting and studying it from an academic perspective, they will come away with an enriched experience of life that only international travel can offer.

18. To sample the local cuisine

Traveling is the perfect time to expand your palate. Though often intimidating due to unfamiliar flavors and spices, daringly sampling the local cuisine can be incredibly rewarding. You may have heard of certain dishes before, but nothing beats experiencing them firsthand in the places they originated.

Trying out a seafood paella while on vacation in Spain or tasting a variety of new street food while backpacking through Thailand can infuse your travels with exciting flavor profiles and offer you a true sense of connection between you and an unknown culture.

Purpose of Travel- Wine and Food

What does travel mean to you?

From exploring new cities and countries to sampling local cuisine, there are countless reasons why people travel. It allows us to expand our horizons and develop a greater appreciation for different cultures, customs, and lifestyles around the world.

Traveling can be both enjoyable and educational, allowing us to discover more about ourselves and share unforgettable experiences with friends or family.

Ultimately, no matter what purpose of travel you have in mind—be it business or pleasure—travel has something unique to offer to everyone who takes part in its journey.

So if you’ve been dreaming of traveling abroad but haven’t taken that first step yet, consider this your call to action! Start planning today so that tomorrow you can embark on a life-changing adventure filled with wonderment at every turn.

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About Taima Ramsey

Taima, a dedicated attorney by day and an adventurous travel blogger by night, has fearlessly explored over 40 countries across 5 continents while juggling a full-time job. Despite the constraints of limited time and finances, she has conquered these challenges with her expertise in time management, budgeting, and creating unforgettable experiences. Now, she is eager to share her invaluable knowledge with you.

Welcome to 'Poor In A Private Plane', where you will discover invaluable insights on seamlessly planning your trips and making them affordable. Let Taima do the groundwork, so you can embark on your own extraordinary adventures hassle-free.

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It’s great that you talked about how traveling could be an incredible opportunity for personal growth and learning. My friends and I want a change of pace, so we are planning to travel next month. So for that, we are thinking of taking a colorado springs adventure package.

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Thank you for reading and commenting. That sounds like a lot of fun. I love Colorado Springs.

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tourism purpose of travel

10 Reasons Why People Travel

People travel for many different reasons ranging from a desire to discover the world, experience cultures and food, get some nice weather, or just to chill out. Experience every type of break for every reason we say. Travel is more than that though, it’s a mindset. Also, travel doesn’t just include international trips abroad but also discovering what is right there on your doorstep.

There are some main reasons why people choose to travel in general but also personal ones too. Here are some reasons why people choose to travel:

  • Visit family & friends
  • Educate yourself & experience different cultures
  • Change in perspective
  • Escape the routine
  • Challenge yourself
  • Self-discovery
  • Learn an activity
  • Have an adventure
  • Relax, recharge & rejuvenate
  • Experience a different climate

Travel means something different to everyone. But it can also be a very personal journey. People have different preferences for how they travel. Whether that’s quitting your job and backpacking across the world or taking shorter breaks throughout the year, travel can be tailored to your circumstances and life. That is the great thing about travel, you can make it what you want it to be!

1. Visit Family & Friends

In the world we live in today, the number of airlines, travel agents and so on have made it so easy to research and book a trip. The movement of people around the world has meant that people have settled in different countries that they were born in or grew up in for a variety of reasons, such as work opportunities.

People want to maintain their relationships that they have fostered and this is a great reason to travel to catch up and reconnect with family and friends in a different setting. Also, since they would now be classed as ‘locals’, you can take advantage and get a local perspective!

We both have close family and friends all over the world, such as, Canada, America, Tanzania, India, Singapore so we have been lucky to combine visiting friends and family during our vacation and we’re lucky to have even been invited to destination weddings, which is just a great, unique experience in itself!

tourism purpose of travel

2. Educate Yourself & Experience Different Cultures

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your normal routine, 9-5 job, and catching up on chores and life admin. People want to have a bit of excitement in their lives and break away from this routine once in a while and learn about different countries and cultures. And what’s the best way to do this? Well, visit of course!

The first things you should notice when you visit a different country are the differences from how the country operates and people’s way of life. This is one of our favorite things because it’s a chance to see what the people in the country do well, and sometimes you can adopt some of the behaviors in your own life.

We would love to travel more but for the countries, we have visited so far, we’ve enjoyed talking to the locals, learning about their history, way of life and fun facts! For example, did you know Durians (a type of (smelly!) fruit is banned on Singapore public transport because the smell is so bad?! You can actually get fined for this!

Cultural differences across the world are what makes the world an interesting place. Whether it’s the major festivals celebrated in a particular country or authentic food to try, this is a must-do when visiting any country. It gives the greatest insight into a country and creates the most memorable moments!

Whenever we book a trip, we will also try to find out if there are any major events occurring at the time we’re planning on being there. Taking in local life is the best way to experience a country.

We LOVE food. We’d say the food is probably number 1 on our list when it comes to visiting another country. We always want to try the local food and make it a huge part of every day when we’re on holiday. We always say the best way to experience a country is to EAT IT!

In fact, our recent trip to Thailand, we booked a Thai Cooking Class and made 4 authentic dishes from scratch. A great instructor combined with delicious recipes, what’s not to love?!

Needless to say, the dishes turned out brilliantly, and the cooking school also kindly gave us a certificate for participating as well as a beautifully designed recipe book of the dishes we had made so we could recreate them at home. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Check out what else we got up to in Thailand here .

tourism purpose of travel

3. Change in Perspective

Traveling can change your perspective in life. Opening your eyes to essentially a different world can mean you truly appreciate your own life more but it also can be a reminder to be on a path to fulfill your own goals and dreams.

We think a change in perspective can definitely make you rethink some things that maybe you had a strong opinion previously on and can increase your understanding generally. But that’s the great thing, right? Travelling can give you that worldly knowledge and you can have interesting conversations with everyone, whether that’s family, friends or a local!

tourism purpose of travel

4. Escape the Routine

Everyone can relate to this. Most people have a routine like a 9-5 job, dropping/picking up kids from school, going to the gym, visiting family and friends. At some point, most people will get bored with the monotony of this, and they will want a break in this routine. Of course having a routine is important too to have some stability in your life, but once in a while people just want to get away from it. Who can blame them?!

Going to work or running your own business – these are of course important and allow you to build a life and ultimately gives you the ability to afford your trips , whether that’s locally or internationally.

Although some people absolutely love their job and are super passionate about it, we think it’s safe to say there are a lot of people out there that work because they have to, so they can fund whatever their own, personal passions are in life, such as traveling.

Escaping the routine once in a while is a definite must! It allows you to take a step back and reassess your life goals or at a minimum give you a different scenery!

tourism purpose of travel

5. Challenge Yourself

Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or a group, it’s great to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Challenging yourself and succeeding gives you great accomplishment and sense of achievement. This shouldn’t be underestimated. Giving you this boost can give you a huge confidence boost and allow you to take on your goals and dreams with a positive attitude!

Whether this is challenging yourself by traveling solo or going to a country that doesn’t speak your language, it’s surprising what you can achieve when you have to.

We have to admit, this is something we definitely want to do more off (once the pandemic is over of course!).

Challenging yourself can also open your eyes to more opportunities. We are a great example here! We both work full-time but have a passion to travel as much as we can. We know a lot of couples in the same boat and that is why we emphasize travel not only internationally but discover what’s on your doorstep and ultimately travel within your means. This led to us starting this blog to not only preserve our memories from our trips but share with you all useful tips and interesting travel topics we discover along the way that could really benefit all of you.

tourism purpose of travel

6. Self-Discovery

This is a BIG point and ties in well with the point above. The biggest impact self-discovery can have is on those who backpack travel around the world. You must have heard so many stories of people who have completely changed their lives through travel.

They have saved loads of money, quit their jobs, and began an adventure of a lifetime. But what drives them to make this huge decision? Often it’s something major that has happened in their life, such as losing a loved one, a failed relationship, or just the drive, determination and passion to travel.

Travel should not be underestimated here. We think it’s great for your mental health. But it doesn’t just apply to backpackers, it can apply to all. It also means taking the time out to go on short breaks and even staycations or day trips. It all counts!

Going on a journey of self-discovery can really help heal those wounds but also discover who you are as a person, what you like, don’t like, what are your goals, what person you want to become.

tourism purpose of travel

7. Learn an Activity

Part of traveling also means discovering activities that maybe you can’t pursue in your own country or maybe there’s just a limitation on how much you can learn and experience, for example, diving. If you have a passion for certain activities, this can mean you move to that country to fullyimmerse yourself in learning and training in that activity.

We know of people who have pursued something like this, trained in it professionally, and ultimately made the permanent move to that country and become instructors themselves. Your passion for learning activities can take you anywhere in the world!

tourism purpose of travel

8. Have an Adventure

Lots of people travel purely to have an adventure. We would definitely say there are three types of people – those that love adventure and want to pack out their diary with sight-seeing and doing activities, those that just want to relax, recharge and rejuvenate (see below point) and those that like doing a mix of both.

Routine can be mundane, so getting out in the world, locally or internationally, doing something that shakes things up a bit and creates a bit of excitement is just what some people need. It creates the best memories and makes the most of the country you’re in.

We know we definitely feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after returning from a trip when looking at all of our photos knowing we really made the most of your trip.

tourism purpose of travel

9. Relax, Recharge & Rejuvenate

As described in the above point, there are some people who have busy enough lives in their day to day life that when going away for a vacation, this means completely changing the pace of life i.e. total relaxation.

We think it’s important to have this aspect on holiday. Packing in everything as much as you can with the time you have is not always the best decision. Will you enjoy everything or is it just to tick things off your list? ENJOYMENT – This is what you need to keep at the front of your mind at all times! What will make you happy on this trip?

Travel for everyone means something different and as long as YOU get out from it what YOU want, then it’s a successful trip right?

Personally, our perfect trip means a mix of both adventure and relaxation, although the relaxation part is something we both have to fight for as we both have a tendency to want to do more and more!

tourism purpose of travel

10. Experience a Different Climate

Depending on where you live, you’ll be used to a particular climate. We’re from the UK, which is known for having unpredictable weather – one minute the suns out, the next it’s pouring down with rain. And don’t even get us started on the temperature – you’ll be fine in shorts and t-shirt one day and the next day you’ll be needing a winter coat just to go outside!

Needless to say, a big part of choosing where we go on holiday normally revolves around the weather – mainly how hot is it going to be? People from the UK are definitely known for jetting off to warmer climates around the world when choosing where to vacation.

That being said, we have friends in warmer climates of the world and they welcome the cooler UK weather. We guess it’s a case of wanting the opposite of what we have.

tourism purpose of travel

Post-Lockdown Travel – The ‘New Normal’

At the time of writing this article, we are in the midst of an international lockdown. Something that no country can avoid. Travel after the pandemic is going to bring some major changes. The main one being travel safety. We’ve written an article on tips on travel after the pandemic which you can check out here .

As the spread of infection slows, the economy slowly starts to rebuild and the travel industry begins to pick up pace, there will understandably be some uncertainty to begin traveling again locally as well as internationally.

Travel is such a huge passion for some but also a necessity for mental well-being. And although travel anxiety at the start will certainly be an issue, we need to remain optimistic as the world gets back to a ‘new normal’. We think it’s a great time to start booking your trips. If you want to know why, check out our article here .

We’ve also made some predictions on how we think travel is going to look like in the future. To see what we think, check out our article here .

tourism purpose of travel

What is Our Top Reason to Travel?

DISCOVERY! We love to learn about different countries. The world has so much to offer! We want to enrich our lives by seeing and doing things that create the best memories.

The most amazing thing about traveling to a different country is to see how it operates, the different cultures, and food. There’s so much you can take back with you, physically and mentally!

Of course, we relate to every one of the reasons we’ve listed above and also forms part of why we travel too.

tourism purpose of travel

Travel is a Personal Journey

So, there you have it, the reasons why people travel. Travel is such a unique thing and means different things to different people. For some people, it’s something they priortize in their life to do more of and for some people, it’s not on the top of their list but still tries to make the most of their free time.

Whatever the reasons why people travel, we think it’s definitely beneficial to do it for your well-being. Like we said before, it doesn’t just mean traveling to an exotic destination across the world, but discovering what’s around locally – you may be surprised!

We’ve been living in our house for almost 3 years and we make time to visit our local attractions through day trips and weekend trips and there’s still plenty of places to need to discover!

tourism purpose of travel

Let us know below in the comments why you love to travel. We’d love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed this article and want to know more – check out some more of our content that we have linked to below:

  • The Future Of Travel – How Much Is It Going To Change?
  • 8 Tips On How To Prepare For Travel Post-Pandemic – Prep Is Key
  • How To Organize Travel Documents With These 5 Easy Tips
  • How To Plan For Your Once In A Lifetime Trip
  • Why Thailand is Worth Visiting. Everything You Need to Know
  • Cultural Diversity in the UK – Why The UK is so Multicultural

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tourism purpose of travel

What is purpose of tourism?

What is purpose of tourism?

Exploring the Essence of Tourism

Tourism is a multifaceted industry that caters to diverse interests and preferences. It allows people to unwind, learn, and grow by experiencing different cultures, landscapes, and cuisines. The purpose of tourism is not just limited to leisure and relaxation; it encompasses various aspects that contribute to personal and societal growth. In this article, we will delve deeper into the different purposes of tourism and how they enrich our lives.

Experiencing Different Cultures

Traveling to new places exposes us to different cultures and traditions, allowing us to experience the world from a fresh perspective. We learn about the history, language, customs, and beliefs of the people we encounter, which in turn broadens our understanding and appreciation of the world. This cultural exchange also fosters tolerance and empathy, as we become more open to embracing the differences that make each culture unique.

Personal Growth and Self-Discovery

Travel can be a transformative experience that fosters personal growth and self-discovery. It pushes us out of our comfort zones and challenges us to adapt to unfamiliar environments. By navigating new situations, we develop problem-solving skills, resilience, and a greater sense of independence. Moreover, immersing ourselves in different cultures leads to introspection, helping us better understand our values, beliefs, and aspirations.

Escaping the Mundane

One of the most obvious purposes of tourism is to provide an escape from the monotony of daily life. Traveling to new destinations allows us to break free from our routines and experience new adventures. Whether it's exploring a bustling city, relaxing on a tropical beach, or trekking through a dense jungle, these experiences can rejuvenate us and provide a much-needed break from the stresses of everyday life.

Creating Lasting Memories

Traveling, especially with friends and family, creates lasting memories that we cherish for a lifetime. These shared experiences strengthen our bonds with our loved ones and provide us with stories to reminisce about for years to come. Moreover, capturing these moments through photographs and videos allows us to preserve these memories and share them with future generations.

Supporting Local Economies

Tourism plays a vital role in supporting local economies, as it generates income and creates employment opportunities. When we travel, we contribute to the local economy by spending on accommodation, food, transportation, and various attractions. This financial boost helps improve infrastructure, fund public services, and ultimately improve the quality of life for local residents.

Promoting Environmental Conservation

Eco-tourism, which focuses on responsible travel to natural areas, plays a crucial role in promoting environmental conservation. By visiting protected areas and supporting eco-friendly initiatives, we contribute to the preservation of ecosystems and wildlife. Furthermore, our experiences in nature can inspire us to become more environmentally conscious and take action to protect our planet for future generations.

Enhancing International Relations

Tourism helps build bridges between nations by fostering cultural exchange and understanding. When we visit other countries, we have the opportunity to form friendships and connections with people from different backgrounds. These interactions contribute to breaking down stereotypes and promoting goodwill, ultimately fostering a more peaceful and interconnected world.

In conclusion, the purpose of tourism is multifaceted and extends beyond leisure and relaxation. Travelling allows us to experience different cultures, promotes personal growth, and helps us escape the mundane. Additionally, it creates lasting memories, supports local economies, promotes environmental conservation, and enhances international relations. As we continue to explore the world, let us embrace the many benefits that tourism has to offer and strive to be responsible travelers.

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  • 7 Types of Purposeful Travel and Why You Should Consider Them

tourism purpose of travel

In the world of travel and tourism, purposeful travel is the exciting new trend. But you might be wondering what it means. Doesn’t all travel have a purpose? Yes, but purposeful travel goes beyond the purpose of – say – sitting on a beach, reading a book and topping up your tan. Purposeful travel is travelling with a particular goal in mind, typically either self-improvement, from summer schools to meditation retreats, or improvement of the world around you, from putting up fences in a national park to getting newly-hatched turtles into the sea. Some purposeful travel is mostly hard work; other options balance work and play so you also get something of a holiday. In this article, we’ve looked at some of the key types of purposeful travel available for school and university students, who they’re intended for, what they achieve and why you might like to consider them.

1. Academic summer school study

tourism purpose of travel

Imagine a classic Oxford summer school and you’re probably thinking of academic summer school study. This is where you go away to some exciting academic destination for a couple of weeks to study subjects that you might also have encountered at school or university, but from a fresh perspective. Some academic summer schools take a “crammer” approach, in order to fill you up fast with knowledge ahead of exams; others are focused much more on giving you time to enjoy yourself, and learn through discussion, debate, excursions and practical activities to bring the subject to life. When you choose your summer school , which approach they take should be top of your list of things to consider. These two approaches to academic summer schools demonstrate two of the reasons that someone might choose this form of purposeful travel. Many students find that their day-to-day academic study is dominated by thoughts of exams and assessments. One reason to travel to a summer school is to prepare for these exams – whether they’re school exams or university entrance exams . Having fun while learning can be a secondary consideration, with the main aim being to get your marks up – and fast. The content will reflect what you’ve learned at school or university, as that’s what you’ll be tested on. The other reason is to get a break from that cycle of hard study, revision and exams; to enjoy learning for learning’s own sake and reignite your enthusiasm for your favourite subjects. This is the approach taken by Oxford Royale Academy ’s academic courses. The content is designed to be excitingly different to what you might encounter in the usual course of your studies. And there’s a lot more emphasis on having fun doing activities and going on excursions outside of class as well.

2. Vocational summer courses

tourism purpose of travel

But you can choose a summer school approach to purposeful travel without necessarily studying the same subjects that you’ll encounter in school or university. It’s also possible to travel to study a vocational course, whether that’s focused on a skill like coding or a career like Law , Medicine or Engineering . The content and approach of a vocational summer course is a lot like the more relaxed kind of academic course, and you can expect some academic study to be included. But the focus will be different: this isn’t just learning for the sake of learning, it’s learning to develop a skill or achieve a particular career goal. For some of us, having that goal in mind – rather than something vaguer like gaining knowledge about a topic – can make purposeful travel in pursuit of vocational learning that much more motivating. And it can be satisfying knowing that by the end of the course, you’ll have learned how to code an app or build a robot , or written a great personal statement for the university course you’ve always wanted to study. As with academic courses, you can choose a vocational course on the basis that it will lead you to the career of your dreams or just something that you think might be interesting to gain skills in for a week or two. Additional activities outside of the classroom complement your learning and turn your travel into a holiday as well as an opportunity for self-improvement.

3. Longer pre-university study

tourism purpose of travel

It might be that the week or two of a summer school course isn’t enough for what you want to achieve, whether that’s learning about a new subject, gaining a new skill, preparing for university or bringing your grades up a notch or two. Another approach to purposeful travel is to travel in order to study for a longer period, such as on Oxford Royale Academy’s Gap Year and Pre-University Foundation courses. Why might you choose a course like this? Typically, they’re taken by students who want to get a head start before embarking on university study, whether at undergraduate or in some cases at postgraduate level. It might be that you’re moving between countries with very different education systems, so there are gaps in your knowledge that your professors might not expect (as well as areas that you might have studied while the rest of your class hasn’t). You might also want to make sure that the skills you’ll need as a student are sharp, such as essay-writing, research skills or public speaking. And you might also want to learn all of this while availing of the opportunity to practise your English, see a new part of the world and make new friends. Oxford Royale Academy’s versions of these courses last for a term of 10 weeks, but with other providers you might study for even longer. What’s important is that at the end of your studies, you feel confident about your ability to keep up with your peers in your forthcoming time at university. .

4. Artistic retreats

tourism purpose of travel

Outside of the world of academia lies the wide range of purposeful travel opportunities that can be grouped under the vague heading of ‘artistic retreats’. These can take all kinds of forms, but the overall aim is that you travel in order to have a relaxing holiday while also having the opportunity to learn and develop new creative skills. The classic artistic retreat is a painting or sketching holiday: going somewhere beautiful with a group of people and an instructor to spend your days painting or sketching what you see around you. Some people do this out of a strong desire to improve their artistic technique, but for others going away and painting for a week or two is relaxing, and if they produce a decent artwork in the process, then that’s a bonus. But a painting holiday isn’t the only form of artistic retreat that you might choose. There are retreats for just about any kind of creative activity, whether that’s visual art, poetry, scriptwriting, filmmaking, woodworking or just about anything else. There’ll typically be some excursions and evening activities, but the focus is on your chance to get away from it all and express your creativity. If you like the sound of this, but it seems a bit slow-paced for you, you might want to consider Oxford Royale Academy courses such as Film Academy or Architecture and Design , both of which combine elements of the artistic retreat with a vocational focus so you can put your new skills to use. Similarly, courses such as Creative Arts allow you to combine a creative option with academic study.

5. English-language study

tourism purpose of travel

Every year thousands of people travel in order to study languages, with English as the most common language they choose to study. It’s easy to see why the opportunity to study a language is such a popular form of purposeful travel; indeed, many people who are travelling with a different purpose will also hope to improve their language skills at the same time, perhaps choosing their destination country on that basis. Studying a language in your own country isn’t the same as studying it somewhere where that language is native and being spoken around you every day. It’s even better if you’re learning alongside people from different countries with different native languages themselves, so the process of making friends with your fellow students incentivises you to get better at your target language and represents an opportunity to practise it. There’s almost every kind of programme for studying English as a foreign language that you can imagine, from intensive weekends of one-to-one study designed for executives with little time on their hands, to two-week courses that combine classroom study with activities and excursions, to courses over weeks or even months that might allow you to work a part-time job or carry out other study at the same time. The beauty of any of these options is that once you’ve travelled to an English-speaking country, almost everything you do will help you learn: whether that’s reading road signs, buying something from a shop, chatting to your fellow students, or seeing the sights.

6. Voluntourism

tourism purpose of travel

Voluntourism is a particular form of volunteering (more on general volunteering in a moment). It’s where you follow a planned-out package that includes some volunteering work, such as teaching schoolchildren, building necessary infrastructure like schoolrooms or wells, conservation or animal rescue work. Alongside your volunteering, there’ll be planned sightseeing trips and opportunities to socialise and have fun with your fellow volunteers. Typically, the fee for voluntourism will put profits back into the communities or activities you’re supporting. Voluntourism has a bad reputation, and that because some voluntourism is decidedly unethical. For instance, the charity Lumos has criticised voluntourism trips to orphanages, as they encourage the development of orphanages rather than the use of foster homes (which have better outcomes) and can increase an already traumatised child’s sense of abandonment as they form a connection with a series of volunteers, only to be left behind when the trip comes to an end. Other voluntourism can seem more ethical, but takes jobs away from local communities and saps their ability to support themselves. That’s not to say that voluntourism should be avoided altogether. It can be a great way to enjoy yourself in often beautiful surroundings while making the world a better place. You can separate the good from the bad by asking questions like whether a local worker would be paid to carry out the activity in the absence of a volunteer working for free, breaking down where the money goes from your fee, not doing anything you wouldn’t be qualified to do at home, and asking what the impact has been of the work of previous volunteers.

7. Volunteering

tourism purpose of travel

The less-organised cousin of voluntourism, volunteering is any activity that you do for an organisation without pay; typically, for a charity, though some volunteers choose to go and work in non-charitable organisations like schools or hospitals instead. Travelling to volunteer differs from voluntourism in a number of ways: first, it’s seldom packed so neatly that you can hop in for a week or two and then leave again; second, you’re not paying for excursions and social activities, so you’ll have to organise them (and sometimes even your food and lodging) for yourself; third, because you’re not giving the organisation any money, just time, they’ll typically want to make sure that you’re worth their investment, so there might be a job interview and vetting process. But the counterpoint to this is that while voluntourism is a way to have fun while helping others, volunteering can go far beyond this in teaching you new skills and enhancing your CV . While a short volunteering commitment is still valuable, organisations are typically looking for longer-term volunteers and that’s usually when you get to do something more interesting; you’ll need to be trained before you can do something that isn’t entry-level, and that takes time. What you could be doing at that point could be anything from volunteering in an animal sanctuary, to working in a charity shop, to supporting the elderly in a hospital, to helping children with special educational needs in a school. Choose the volunteering opportunity that plays best to your strengths and interests, and it can be a very rewarding form of purposeful travel.

Image credits: airport ; Fiji ; dog .

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Our Approach

At the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), we’re passionate about transforming the way the world travels. Our mission is to serve as a center of tourism knowledge, empowerment, and action for destination communities. We envision a world where travel benefits both people and the planet, fostering a sustainable, inclusive, and environmentally responsible future for all.

We understand that irresponsible tourism can exacerbate pressing challenges, such as overtourism, climate change acceleration, inequality and poverty, and the loss of biodiversity and cultural heritage. To tackle these issues, we’ve developed a comprehensive 4-pillar approach:

  • Applied Research : We are a dynamic hub for groundbreaking and practical tourism research. We bridge the gap between academia and the private sector, providing practitioners with accessible resources, cutting-edge tourism trends, and tools to more responsibly manage their destinations, community nonprofits, and businesses.
  • Destination Stewardship : We champion the cause of responsible tourism by encouraging destinations to prioritize stewardship over mere management and marketing. Our hands-on approach to destination stewardship planning, implementation, and fundraising fosters community participation, sustainable development, and environmental conservation.
  • Advocacy & Systems Change : By uniting diverse tourism stakeholders, we strive to transform the industry’s paradigm and promote more responsible practices. We cultivate meaningful dialogue, advocate for progressive regulations, and nurture powerful cross-sector partnerships to drive collective action.
  • Education & Events : Lifelong learning is at the heart of our mission. Through speaking forums, events, and our academic affiliates network, we foster knowledge-sharing, capacity-building, and resource development for leaders and community members across the tourism value chain.

With this approach, we are dedicated to helping communities, businesses, and destinations adopt responsible tourism policies and practices. Our strategic collaborations, meticulous research, and community-driven field projects aim to make a lasting, positive impact on the tourism industry.

We invite you to join us on this journey towards a more sustainable, equitable, and environmentally conscious future for travel. Explore our website to learn more about our initiatives, and discover how you can become a part of the movement for responsible tourism.

Together, we can create a world where travel truly benefits communities and the environment.

Sustainable Tourism: An Introduction

  • First Online: 29 June 2024

Cite this chapter

tourism purpose of travel

  • Thomas Walker 5 ,
  • Ender Demir 6 ,
  • Gabrielle Machnik-Kekesi 5 &
  • Victoria Kelly 5  

As with countless other sectors and industries, tourism—be it local, domestic, or international—was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This watershed event resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of travelers, with the closure of international borders and travel bans. Since then, the industry has started to recover; with this recovery, so, too, have conversations reemerged regarding the need for more sustainable travel-related practices and frameworks. Conventional tourism, in spite of contributing to economic growth, has several disadvantages, including negative environmental impacts and the erosion of cultural heritage landmarks as well as the harming of relationships with local communities to whom such sites are of historic and/or spiritual value. This edited collection explores the myriad and multi-scalar ways that sustainability can be infused into modern tourism. The different chapters featured in this book suggest, respectively, alternative frameworks, timely innovations, and sustainable solutions to existing travel-related challenges, as well as recommendations for viable policies and practices moving forward.

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Berno, T., & Bricker, K. (2001). Sustainable tourism development: The long road from theory to practice. International Journal of Economic Development, 3 (3), 1–18.

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Davies, T., & Cahill, S. (2000). Environmental implications of the tourism industry . Retrieved May 12, 2024, from

United Nations Environment Programme, & World Trade Organization (WTO). (2005). Making tourism more sustainable: A guide for policy makers .

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2020). International tourism growth continues to outpace the global economy . January 20. Retrieved November 6, 2022, from

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2022). T ourism grows 4% in 2021 but remains far below pre-pandemic levels . Retrieved November 6, 2022, from

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2024).,estimated%201.3%20billion%20international%20arrivals

World Travel & Tourism Council. (2022). Travel & tourism economic impact: World travel & tourism council . Retrieved November 6, 2022, from,21.7%25%20rise)%20in%202021

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Walker, T., Demir, E., Machnik-Kekesi, G., Kelly, V. (2024). Sustainable Tourism: An Introduction. In: Walker, T., Demir, E., Machnik-Kekesi, G., Kelly, V. (eds) Sustainable Tourism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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