Every year on September 27, The Tourist industry around the world commemorates World Tourism Day. This year’s theme is community development and how tourism can help people become more empowered and improve socioeconomic conditions in their communities.
But who are the people who might go to these “communities,” and what does it mean to be a tourist these days?
Many tourist stereotypes, such as an overweight Westerner in shorts with a camera dangling around their neck or a backpacker in trekking shoes hanging out in the Himalayas. Many people associate “tourism” and “holidays” with separate seasons when the family vacations to the beach or the mountains.
World Tourism Day is an opportunity to discuss how much broader the tourism phenomenon is than most people realize.
People are more often than they realize “tourists.” A tourist, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Is anyone who travels away from home for more than one night but less than a year. As a result, tourism revolves around mobility.
In Australia, for example, 75.8 million people spent an overnight trip within the country in 2013. Spending 283 million visitor nights and $51.5 billion.
The reasons for travel are numerous and are not limited to holidays. Which accounts for only 47% of all domestic trips in Australia. Participation in sporting events, visiting a friend or relative, or attending business meetings are other reasons.
Some of the world’s most popular destinations are not for leisure but for other reasons. Pilgrimage tourism, triples the population of Mecca from its usual 2 million during the Hajj period every year.
Tourists are no longer what they once were. The blurring of the lines between work and life is one of the most pervasive changes in modern life’s structure. This is especially true when it comes to travel. Let me put a question to The Conversation’s readers: who is checking their work emails while on vacation?
According to a recent survey in the United States. 44.8% of people check their work email at least once a day outside of work hours. Also, 29.8% of respondents use their work email for personal reasons.
Work becomes leisure. And leisure cannot be separated from work, as post-modern thinkers have long pointed out. With ever-increasing mobility, tourists and non-tourists are becoming increasingly similar.
For those who travel frequently, such as to attend business meetings or conferences, the traditional work-leisure divide becomes incredibly blurry. Discussions are commonly held in exciting locations. Inviting not only participants but also spouses and family members to stay longer and participate in recreational activities.
In a nutshell, tourism is much more than the service industry, it commonly associated with both in practice. And as a field of study. Tourism and the changing nature of travelers offer valuable insights into societal changes, challenges, and opportunities. Engaging in tourism and travel also gives us an excellent opportunity to learn more about trends that could help or hinder sustainable development in general.