1. Growth in Tourism

Step 1: Read the key terms list below. Make sure that you understand and could give a definition to somebody else.

Step 2: Read the information in Section 1. Answer the exam questions here – 13.1

What is a tourist?

A tourist is person who stays in a place for more than one day for leisure, business or other purposes.

What is the tourism?

Tourism is travel for recreation, leisure, religious, family or business purposes, usually for a limited duration. Tourism is commonly associated with international travel, but may also refer to travel to another place within the same country.

How has tourism grown?

The graph below shows the growth in international tourism (tourism involving travelling from one country to another).

Figure 1. International Tourism Trends

Figure 1. International Tourism Trends. Source – UNWTO


Why has tourism grown?

There are a number of reasons why tourism has grown. These can be categorised as social/economic, technological improvements and increased holiday choice.

There are a range of social and economic reasons why tourism has grown. These include:

  • People are becoming wealthier as jobs are better paid. Also, the majority of families have two working parents nowadays whereas in the past it was just one.
  • People have more leisure time as the number of hours people work per week has decreased. Also, people have more holiday leave from 2 weeks in the 1950s to 4-6 weeks today. This is now paid leave whereas in the past people were generally not paid during holidays.
  • Life expectancy is now higher and more people are retired. These people usually receive a good pension which can be used to fund travel.

There are a range of improvements in technology that explain why tourism has grown. These include:

  • Travel is quicker and easier today due to improvements in transport. Flights are cheaper and easier to book e.g. online
There has been a significant increase in the types of holidays people can take.

  • The growth of package holidays has led to a greater choice of holidays. Holiday destinations have also increased due to the development of smaller, regional airports. Traditional destinations such as coastal resorts have seen a decline in visitors due to low cost flights and package holidays.

Tourist Attractions

There are a range of different factors which pull people to different tourist destinations. People are pulled by the natural landscape, for example the Alps in Europe and the beautiful coastline along the Mediterranean. Cities such as London, Paris and Barcelona attract people because of the cultural attractions such as shopping, art galleries, restaurants, museums and  architecture.