Chapter 1: What is tourism and who are tourists?
First of all, some definitions. Tourism is defined in the Concise Oxford EnglishDictionary as “the commercial organisation and operation of holidays and visits to placesof interest”. A tourist is defined in the same dictionary as “a person who travels forpleasure”. The World Tourism Organisation defines a tourist as someone who travels atleast eighty kilometres (fifty miles) from home for the purpose of recreation.Because one cannot travel for whatever purpose whatsoever unless one has the meansand time to do so, a tourist is generally someone who has the disposable income and thefree time to engage in travelling. In days of yore this put the concept of tourism beyondthe reach of the average man-on-the-street (or, going back to more agrarian days, theman-on-the-farm). Only emperors and aristocrats could afford to play tourists in ancienttimes; it would be a stately affair involving a glorious retinue of humans and animals thatwould draw admiring or resentful (depending on the state of governance at the time)crowds everywhere they went.In the 19
century new transport technology made travelling easier for more people.More European ladies and gentlemen could finish their education or simply “see theworld”, going on a grand tour of exotic places, taking steamships and trains. In drab andrainy Britain, it became fashionable to visit spas in Europe for health reasons. Britainwas also yielding what came to be defined as “the middle class”, a group of people whohad earned their money and leisure courtesy of the Industrial Revolution – manufacturersand traders dealing with the new factory-made goods – who could afford, and wanted totreat themselves, to a holiday somewhere out of town. The paid statutory holiday,introduced in the UK by the Bank Holiday Act of 1871
, extended the privilege toworkers who, while not able to afford a trip abroad, could at least take the train to a(usually seaside) resort nearby. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the operator of thefirst package tours in the world – Thomas Cook – was a Briton. Eventually the need toaccommodate these leisure travellers led to the development of hotels and the touristindustry was born when more varied and deliberate ways of taking advantage of themoney-spinning potential of such people came into being, in the form of souvenir shops,“tourist spots”, travel guides, etc.“The commercial organisation and operation of holidays” refers to this phenomenon.However, while many tourists fit the World Tourism Organisation's definition of a“tourist”, someone from the southern city of Guangzhou who cross over to Hong Kongfor a spot of shopping and sightseeing may tell you that you don't always have to travelmore than eighty kilometres to qualify as a tourist. I will define “tourist” as someonewho travels for the specific purpose of recreation or the experience of things that have anovelty value for him/her, as a form of entertainment (as against those who may do sowith the express purpose of acquiring knowledge or a better understanding of a differentculture). He/she is not an explorer or gypsy scholar, nor a person who is travellingbecause of work or family, but a consumer abroad, armed with travellers' cheques or