Student Resource 2.2
Reading: What is Travel Geography?
Graciela and Valeria Velasquez are twins who will graduate from college in June. They will be the first intheir family to graduate from college, and their parents and grandparents have saved up money to sendthem on a celebratory trip. The twins sat down to decide where they wanted to go.“I want to go somewhere warm,” Graciela said. Their college was in Boston, and it was snowing outside.“I miss the sunshine. I also want to go someplace with a great beach,” Graciela said. “I want to get in afew games of beach volleyball.”“You want to find a hot guy,” Valeria said. “We can go anywhere in the world, and all you’re thinking aboutis the beach? Mom and Dad live in Miami. We can go to the beach any time.”“So where do you want to go?” Graciela asked.“I’d like to go someplace really different,” her sister responded. “Maybe someplace in Europe or evenAfrica or Asia. I want to go somewhere where they speak a different language and have a really differentculture. Try unusual foods, learn about their history, listen to the local music—that kind of thing.”“Boring!” Graciela rolled her eyes. “It would be so much better to go someplace that’s really beautiful andwe can just relax and enjoy the scenery. Maybe someplace like Hawaii or the Caribbean, where there arelots of flowers and stuff. I love flowers.”Valeria sighed. Clearly she and her sister would have a lot of talking to do before they could pick a placeto go on the trip.
What is Travel Geography?
Believe it or not, the argument Valeria and Graciela were having was really an argument aboutgeography. Geography is fundamental to travel and tourism. Geography can be defined as “a science thatdeals with the description, distribution, and interaction of the diverse physical, biological, and culturalfeatures of the earth’s surface.” Many people think about geography according to the five themes of geography: location, place, human/environment interaction, movement, and regions. However, there areother useful ways to think about it. In this course, we will consider the six components of travelgeography.Geography can be divided into two major sections: physical geography and human geography.
Physical geography is the study of the physical features of the earth’s surface, such as climate,water, and landforms, and the processes that affect them. Graciela is interested in physicalgeography. She is focused on the weather, beach, the scenery, and the flowers.
Human geography is the study of the characteristics and phenomena of the earth and how theyrelate to or are the result of human activities. Within the category of human geography is
, which is the study of the customs, food, clothing, music, architecture, traditions, andlanguages of a region. Valeria is interested in human geography. She wants to go to a place thathas a different language, culture, and customs.Travel geography examines tourism and tourist destinations with respect to both of these categories.Hospitality professionals study the geography of different types of destinations—international, national,state, and local tourist spots—to identify how and why travelers might be drawn to these places. Inanalyzing how and why tourists are attracted to certain destinations, professionals in hospitality andtourism also consider the six components of travel geography. These are ways of further categorizing thetwo main sections of physical and human geography: