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What is the definition of Tourism?

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Tourism is the practice and concept of bringing, hosting, and welcoming tourists to a place. It is an international system of trade and tourism developed by and for governments and other organized groups. The word came from the Greek words tou meaning “tourist,” and iatreia meaning “attraction.” In modern times, tourism has been widely applied to many activities in which a tourist may participate. These activities include air, land, sea, and mountaineering, sportive pursuit, aquatic life, culture and wildlife, and sports.


Tourism generates employment in most countries, both directly and indirectly, providing secondary employment as well as providing a base of income for agriculture, small-scale business, and construction. Tourism generates economic output equivalent to the output of various domestic industries, with direct and residual effect on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The bulk of tourism expenditure goes for travel and related expenses such as air fares, hotel accommodations, meals, tickets, etc. Tourism generates revenue by the sale of goods and services, consumption of excess supply of goods and services, and investment in tourism infrastructure. Tourism increases development opportunities in the destination country and improves the standard of living.

Tourism encompasses a broad range of activities that have direct and/or indirect economic impact on the host country. It can, for example, result in direct employment for the people who work in tourism infrastructure, the local residents, visitors and other tourists, and suppliers of products and services used by the tourists. Tourism results in indirect employment due to the remittance received by the host country’s industry, government, and various other organizations and institutions. Tourism can be directly or indirectly important to a country’s political, social, cultural, educational, health, technological and other vital sectors.

Tourists are normally drawn to certain destinations, either for its natural features or for the pleasant weather. Certain destinations draw more tourists than others, depending on factors such as accessibility by road, accommodation options, ease of transportation, entertainment options, proximity to important attractions, recreation options, the general condition of the place, etc. Some of the places outside the usual environment, such as the Highlands, are also popular with tourists because of the romantic weather, breathtaking scenery, etc. High season is generally busier than other seasons.

The most important reason why tourists visit a particular destination is to see and experience the typical environment. A city like Amsterdam, which has beautiful scenery, historic buildings, modern and art museums, parks, restaurants, and other places outside the usual environment is visited by more travelers than any other destination. If we consider the total number of tourists visiting a city, then the percentage of those who visit the city for leisure and recreational purposes is very high. Tourists are attracted not only to the beautiful sites but also to the culture, lifestyle of the locals, hospitable support system, etc.

In conclusion, tourism comprises inbound tourism, outbound tourism, residual tourism, mixed tourism, tourist influx, and indigenous tourism. Residual tourism comprises such activities as caravanning, horse riding, camping, fishing, yurts, etc., performed by tourists not staying in hotels. Mixed tourism can be categorized as such activities as shopping, dining, night life, etc., performed by tourists coming from outbound countries as well as by residents of the country of reference, whether it is an urban or rural area. As stated above, tourist influx can be either inbound or outbound.

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