Various definitions have been brought forward about tourism. According to the free dictionary, tourism may be defined simply as the nature of traveling for leisure and pleasure. It can also be seen as traveling for recreation, or leisure. Therefore tourism has to have the aspect of traveling, purpose and the destination in order to fit the description. Tourists can be said to be one who travels and stays away from their usual places for at least 24 hours for recreational purposes. They are different from executioners, who stay at the destination for less than 24 hours. The definition of 1937 by a committee of statistical experts at the League of nations which defines tourist as “one who travels for a period of 24 hours or more in a country other than that he usually resides in” and the purpose of visit is define as business, pleasure, health or family reasons. However, the stay was limited to not more than one year. Tourism in the past was perceived to be for the rich, famous and wealthy, so that they can explore the world and experience art, languages and cultures.
Tourism can either be international tourism which involves traveling beyond the borders or domestic tourism which is confined within the national boundaries. Recently, tourism has evolved to cater for everyone and the purpose of touring have become diverse. This has brought about the emergence of a vibrant and high earning sector for the world economies with tourism being practiced globally. There has been an increased in service provision for the tourism which has several sectors to facilitate its growth. These services and departments include travel and tour operators and accommodation. The components that affect a tourist markets are affected by the demand and supply of the tourist products and services.
On the demand side, there are motivations to take the tour due to physical, cultural, social or just fantasy or due to perceptions which may include past experiences, tastes, preferences and hearsay, or expectations of the tourist which may be due to the tourist image. On the supply side, there are experience of the tourists’ products, capital of the tourist which includes facilities, accessibility and infrastructure and the resources of the tour sites. Attractions and hospitality will influence the final decision of the tourist to a destination. Factors influencing visitation levels include the time availability and the distance traveled as described by the distance decay theory.
Theories and their critical interpretation
The Tourist Gaze” theory by John Urry, states that “people want to experience and live in the exotic and are thus attracted to foreign places.
When in a foreign environment, people see the world differently and ‘gaze’, therefore, instead of just seeing a street, tourists will see a beautiful, historic pathway that deserves being photographed”. This theory insists on the fact that when one is accustomed to a particular place the boring nature of human is likely to develop and hence the urge to see (gaze) new sites. The site seeing and experience go hand in hand and the place is the most asserted in the theory. Most people are very keen to see hence the gazing theory; the gazing may go along with photographs and strolling to see more. To eliminate boredom one may need to see various sites and sceneries, including the plants e.g. vases of flowers, or flower beds.
Another theory states that the distance traveled is inversely proportional to the tourism attraction. This theory can be disputed in modern times where distance is no longer an issue since convenient means of transport are available, but for the people who cannot afford this fast means of travel then the theory can apply. Talking about space where few people are allowed to board the space craft this will definitely make the place a dream tourist destination for many. Mostly time availability has a major effect on the quality and depth of experience sought. Most people are always busy making ends meet through the day to day activities and therefore have less time for tourism.
Romantism, which is an artistic intellectual movement that originated during the second half of the 18th C, had some shifts in values. There was more emphasis on emotions, sensation and on poetry as compared to intellectual clarity, and hedonistic expressions. Its effects were feelings of emotions in nature and scenes. It implied that those who resided in new towns could reap benefits from spending less time away from them experiencing natural scenery. It led to scenic tourism and coastal tourism.
Tourism is very diverse in nature, and a general view of it in the tourist gaze imagines of a vernacular, heritage and an urban rural landscape.
In respect to seeing and being seen emerges the mass tourism which is a major character of the modern society. It is expected to develop when changes in economic, urban, roads and water and attitude transform society to a social experience of the large populations. There are two forms of mass consumption, and post-fordist consumption. The nature of tourism has undergone tremendous change in the recent past years, relating to holidays with increase in the niche, organization and purchasing, forms of tourism, which include physical, natural, culture, or educational experience. The types of tourism include; winter sports, cultural and educational tourism, eco tourism, medical tourism, creative tourism, and dark tourism.
The niche tourism include physical activity or sports oriented, which are adventures, mountaineering, hiking and major sports e.g. football events world cup. Learning-oriented tourism includes educational tourism and creative tourism workshops. Lifestyle-oriented includes; gourmet tourism. Other forms of niche tourism include; dark tourism, drug tourism, free independent traveler, pop culture tourism, perpetual tourism, pilgrimage tourism, sacred tourism, sex tourism, and space tourism. All these forms of tourism have been evolving daily and they are all in sight to the new developing forms.
All the forms have developed due to the nature of human to explore new things and new places. All the theories included in the tourism sectors; theory of walking, gazing, photographing, and Remembering aim at adventuring new places through walking or strolling, through staring, through taking pictures of places, and the experience encountered in various places. The types of tourist developing nowadays involve sight seeing places such as ancient, historical sites. These types as stated earlier are described by the place you visit. Dark tourism involves visiting sites of horror, war or chaos and death. Pilgrimage tourist visits religious sites, e.g. Mecca for the Muslims and Jericho or Egypt for the Christians, Space tourism where one uses space shuttles to move to space to explore the planets and satellites; all these types explain the place factors of a tourist place. The tourism place is rather more important than the experience since the place can be chosen while the experience sought after may be hard to get and every one experience situations in his/her own way.
The place can however not be available for visits due to factors such as war, inaccessibility because of inadequate infrastructure or even climatic conditions. Places such as Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, are less likely to be visited due to war and places like the Antarctica may cause limits due to climate. Given the advantage of the world’s different areas tourism may have very diverse areas, since exhausting the whole worlds site would be a dream, not forgetting the tales of around the world in forty days. The people and cultures may also be the other cause of visiting a place, seeing cultures and people different from yours make the uniqueness of the traveling. The red Indians are found in the south of America hence one will only have to travel to South or the Cherokee to see the cultures and behaviors of the red Indians. The place may also be limited in the case of an event e.g. the FIFA world cup will be in South Africa in 2010, hence the only place to be to catch the action live.
In conclusion the place forms the basic part of touring since it give the various ranges of terrain, climates, cultures, people, and diversity. In view of the theories known about tourism there is more to see in terms of the development of tourism, this can be explained by the fact that every new day a new invention is made and more people would like to know, see and experience the invention. Most of us are traveling the world through the internet (armchair tourism) and we are virtually getting the second hand experience of places, and cultures. It is no doubt that tourism is not about to end, and the more we expect the more we invent and the need to see and experience more will lead to more inventions, no wonder necessity is the mother of all inventions. Tourism has evolved and the diversity in it is limitless, this makes tourism endless and the ventures in it fruitful and sweet. The world economies have been supported by tourism with tourism being the major income earner for some economies. Tourism cannot be said to be discovered since all individuals like and enjoy it, but the facilitating markets and the improved services have made the tourism industry vibrant and more fun to venture into. The first class chartered planes that make distances shorter, the cuisines of different tastes, the first class accommodation hotels and most importantly the unique experience at each place, makes tourism the best relaxing, stress free adventure of a lifetime. By taking a tour one leaves his/her tedious routines and enjoys his/herself in the best way possible.