Introduction to the Development of Tourism
Modes of Transport
As stated in the previous module, the modes of transport available to people have a huge effect on the places people choose to travel.
This unit will explain how specific modes of transport influenced people’s travel behaviour as well as their vacationing habits.
Stagecoaches were invented in Hungary in the 15th century. The word coach comes from the Hungarian town of Kocs. The first coaches were closed carriages suspended on leather straps between four wheels. The straps acted as suspension to compensate for the poor condition of the roads.
The need to rest horses every few kilometres led to the development of posting houses where the animals could drink and eat. Posting houses also provided food and accommodation for travellers. The poor state of most roads meant that travel was very uncomfortable. Posting houses offered stagecoach travellers a place to rest. Over time posting houses evolved into taverns.
A major development in travel by road came in the early nineteenth century when John McAdam and Thomas Telford invented a new type of road surface that greatly improved the common dirt roads found throughout Europe.
The technique consisted of laying small broken stones on the ground and ensuring that there was suitable drainage on each side of the road. It is said that McAdam insisted that no stone be used if it could not fit into the mouth of the labourer laying it down. The roads created with this method were much more comfortable to travel by stagecoach.
The first railway was opened in England in 1825. Rail travel was both faster and cheaper than travel by stagecoach. Train journeys cost one penny a kilometre and trains travelled at 30 kilometres per hour. Railways made coastal areas more accessible than ever. As a result there was an accelerated growth in the popularity of English seaside resorts.
First-class cars were lit by oil lamps and had comfortable accommodations. Second-class coaches had roofs but no sides, while third-class passengers rode in open cars. Early trains had unreliable brakes. The rails were also untrustworthy, spikes often came loose causing the rail to buckle. Rail spikes could pierce the car, injuring or killing passengers.
The first common carrier railway in America was opened in 1826. American rail travel was different from that in England because of the long distances covered. American rail companies had to begin accommodating the needs of long distance travellers.
From the 1860s food was served on American trains. A common salon car menu would include buffalo, elk, beefsteak and mutton with each costing $1. In 1864, George Pullman invented the Pullman sleeping car. The overnight car was developed to be a sleeping carriage that the middle classes could afford. A stay in a Pullman car was $2 a night
The American model of long distance rail travel provided inspiration for mainland Europe. The Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (International Sleeping-Car Company) was founded in 1862 and pioneered overnight travel in Europe. Their routes included the famous Orient Express, which ran from 1883 to 2009.
By the early 20th century a private railroad car was a sign of prestige in the USA. However, these became very uncommon following the stock market crash of 1929. Today, some private rail cars have been restored to their former glory and are now used for special tours.
Rail was the most popular form of transport for approximately 100 years, from the 1830s to the 1930s. Following this, competition from cars, buses and air travel ensured a steady decline in travel by train. For the past few decades most rail lines in the United States have been used primarily for hauling freight. Since freight trains are long, heavy, and slow there has been no need to update the major railways in the USA. Rather, these railways are simply maintained.
Although not as popular as it once was, a demand for rail travel has remained in Europe and Asia where modern railway systems are capable of supporting high speed trains. This is especially true in Japan where shinkansen or “bullet trains” reach a speed of 320 km/h.
Water travel had existed for thousands of years before the invention of railways. However, the advent of the ocean liner in the early 19th century was the first time that ships could be used to travel long distances in a short amount of time. The first regular and reliable ocean liner service was the RMS Britannia. The ship had its maiden voyage in 1840 and travelled from Britain to the United States in 12 days. By the 1890s ocean liners could cross the Atlantic in 6 days.
As with rail travel, air travel led to a dramatic fall in the number of people using ocean liners. In 1957 over one million passengers crossed the Atlantic Ocean on liners. The following year more people crossed the Atlantic by plane than by ship. Between 1960 and 1975, passenger departures from New York fell from 500,000 a year to 50,000. Since the mid-20th century most ocean liners have been retired or refitted to become cruise ships. At present there is only one transatlantic ocean liner operating, the RMS Queen Mary 2.
Henry Ford's Model T of 1908 started a revolution in American tourism. Until that point, tourist destinations developed only in locations accessible by forms of mass transit. Posting houses, railroad hotels and seaside resorts all developed along transport routes.
As cars became affordable, tourist destinations became more dispersed, rather than being concentrated in a few places. The economic benefits of tourism were now available to much more places than before. As well as opening up new areas to tourists, automobiles also allowed people to travel on their own schedule.
Like the forms of transport that preceded it, new forms of accommodation were created to cater to people travelling by car. In the 1950s and 60s motor hotels or “motels” were extremely popular in the United States. Motels were overnight accommodation designed with motorists in mind. They were cheap, accessible and situated by major road routes. In the 1970s chain hotel groups began to create budget roadside hotels for motorists. Today, over 90 % of all pleasure trips in the United States are taken by automobile.
Following World War II, a revolution in passenger air travel took place. Large bomber aircrafts began to be converted to commercial planes. In 1956, the USSR’s Aeroflot became the first airline to offer regular jetliner services. The introduction of transatlantic jet travel in 1958 reduced the travel time from Britain to the USA to 8 hours. Air travel was initially expensive and it became associated with the wealthy. The term “jet-set” was created to describe people who would travel internationally for social events.
Since the late 1970s, air travel has become increasingly affordable. In 1978 the US government de-regulated the airline industry; this reduced the barriers to establishing a new airline. As a result, a large number of budget airlines were created, making air travel more inexpensive than ever. In Europe, the deregulation of European Union aerospace in 1990 has also led to the rise of budget airlines.
END OF UNIT:
Modes of Transport