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Domenii: Engleza, Turism

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1. Introduction to global tourism

The travel and tourism industry is the world’s largest and most diverse industry. Many nations rely on this dynamic industry as a primary source for generating revenues, employment, private sector growth and infrastructure development. Tourism development is encouraged particularly among the developing countries around the world, when other forms of economic development are not commercially viable.

Contributing to the powerful growth tourism has experienced in a short time frame has been the increased accessibility to the many components of the travel experience. Transportation to, from, and within parts of the world once considered remote has become more affordable for, and within the reach of, the majority of residents in many nations. Accommodations and restaurants in assorted budget categories are universally found in major cities, resort locations, adjacent to airports and thoroughfares, and in rural areas. Professional services provided by travel agencies and tour operators, marketing efforts by public sector tourism offices, advanced technology that rapidly brings the tourism components together in a flash for the potential traveler – all make today’s travel experience safe, comfortable, and enjoyable.

2. Historical perspective on travel and tourism

Table 1.1. lists some of the milestones in the development of tourism. Long before the invention of the wheel, travel occurred for a variety of reasons, being confined to fairly small geographic areas, though. There is a rich history of people and cultures that form the foundation of tourism and provides important insights into the reasons for travel and the eventual development of tourism. Therefore, a brief review of tourism’s historical development is in order to fully appreciate today’s modern tourism environment and to understand tourism challenges.

a. Early Ages

While the concept of travel and tourism is as old as civilization itself, history reveals that travel was not always a pleasurable experience. In the past, few people enjoyed leisure time – for ordinary people time off was usually for religious purposes – for holy days – hence the word “holidays”.

Logical travel motivators for people in the prehistoric civilizations focused on gathering food, avoiding dangers and moving to more favorable climates. With the development of humankind, there was a decreasing need for nomadic existence, resulting in another travel motivator – the trade and barter of goods.

The point at which simple travel evolved into more complex activities of tourism is hard to identify. However, tourism as an industry probably began to develop during the Empire Era, which stretched from the time of the Egyptians to the Greeks and finally came to an end with the fall of the Roman Empire.

As ancient world empires grew in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, the infrastructure necessary for travel, such as land routes and waterways was created and vehicles for travel were developed. The beginnings of official government travel were a direct result of rulers who sent their emissaries to observe the progress of wars throughout sprawling empires or to collect taxes from the citizenry.

The Egyptian Kingdoms (4850 – 715 B.C.) were the first known civilization to have consolidated governmental functions at centralized locations. During the Egyptian dynasties, travel for both business and pleasure began to flourish, and hospitality centers were built along major routes and in the cities to accommodate travelers between central government posts and the outlying territories.

During the height of the Assyrian empire, the means of travel were improved, largely for military use, roads were also improved and markers were established to indicate distances. The Persians who defeated the Assyrians made further improvements to the road systems and developed four-wheeled carriages for transportation.

The early Greeks (900 – 200 B.C.) advanced travel and tourism developments in two particular areas. First, through the development of a coin currency, replacing the need for travelers to carry goods to barter at their final destination for other goods and services. Secondly, the Greek language spread throughout the Mediterranean area, making it easier to communicate as one traveled. Since most of the Greek towns and cities were located along the coast, travel was primarily by sea. Travel for government business was kept to a minimum because of the independent nature of the city-state system, but the Greeks liked to visit other cities for pleasure, particularly Athens. They also enjoyed traveling to religious festivals, and events like the Olympic Games held every four years at Olympia.

At the height of the Roman Empire (500 B.C. – 300 A.D.), the ruling patrician class enjoyed their leisure during the periods of relative peace. Like the Greeks before them, they observed their own athletic and religious events and traveled to these sites. Sightseeing was also popular with the wealthy Romans, and many visited Greece. A ten-volume travel guide was published in 170 A.D. by the Greek Pausanias, entitled A Guide to Greece; the guide targeted the Roman tourist market and described the Grecian monuments, sculptures, and the stories and myths behind them. Romans also toured Egypt to see the Sphinx and the Pyramids. Alexandria was a cosmopolitan oasis for Roman aristocracy, since many nationalities were represented there including Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, Ethiopians, Indians, and Syrians. Egypt’s weather was also a travel incentive for the Romans, as it offered a sunny, hot, and dry environment.

The citizens of the Roman Empire also liked to shop when abroad, as most tourists do today. The practice of hiding purchases from custom officials probably originated with this class, a result of high duties, typically 25%, placed on imported purchases.

Many of the hassles to travel to distant places were removed because Roman currency was universally accepted and Greek and Latin were common languages. In addition, a common legal system provided protection and peace of mind, allowing people to travel further away from home for commerce, adventure and pleasure.

Asian civilizations also have a history of leisure travel to resorts, with known examples of second homes or seasonal retreats in China as well as in Japan. Chinese nobility and their guests retreated to the summer pavilions and villas in Suzhou, Hangzhou and other scenic areas.

Table 1.1 Milestones in the development of tourism

Prerecorded history Travel begins to occur out of a sense of adventure and curiosity

4850 B.C. – 715 B.C. Egyptians travel to centralized government locations

1760 B.C. – 1027 B.C. Shang dynasties establish trade routes to distant locations throughout the Far East

1100 B.C. – 800 B.C. Phoenicians develop large sailing fleets for trade and travel throughout their empire

900 B.C. – 200 B.C. Greeks develop common language and currency , and traveler services emerge as city-states become destinations

500 B.C. – 300 A.D. Romans improve roads, inns and the legal system, to further travel for commerce, adventure and pleasure

300 A.D. – 900 A.D. Mayans establish trade and travel routes in parts of Central and North America

1096 A.D. – 1295 A.D. European travel on failed religious crusades to retake the Holy Lands from Muslim control introduced these military forces to new places and cultures

1275 A.D. – 1295 A.D. Marco Polo’s travel throughout the Far East begin to heighten interest in travel and trade

14th – 16th centuries Trade routes develop as commercial activities grow and merchants venture into new territories

1613 A.D. – 1785 A.D. Grand Tour Era makes travel a status symbol for wealthy individuals seeking to experience cultures of the civilized world

18th – 19th centuries Industrial Revolution gives rise to technological advances, making travel and trade more efficient and expanding markets; increasing personal incomes make travel both a business necessity and leisure activity

1841 Thomas Cook organizes first group tour in England

1903 Wright Brothers usher in era of flight with the first successful aircraft flight

1913 Westinghouse Corporation institutes paid vacations for its workers

1914 Henry Ford begins mass production of the Model T

1919 First scheduled airline passenger flight debuts between London and Paris

1945 World War II ends and ushers in new era of prosperity, giving rise to millions of people with the time, money and interest to travel for pleasure and business

1950 Diners Club introduces the first credit card

1952 Jet passenger service inaugurated between London and Johannesburg, South Africa

1978 Competition on routes and fares begins with signing of Airline Deregulation Act

2001 September 11th terrorist attacks heightened security measures for travel across USA

2001 Transportation Security Administration created to ensure airline passenger safety as terrorism threats persist

2002 Introduction of the EURO currency signaling liberalization of travel among member nations of the EU

Source: Cook & al. (2006), Tourism. The Business of Travel, pp. 10

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Alte informatii

REI, Academia de Studii economice Bucuresti, anul III