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Module 1: History of Tourism

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Renaissance and Modern Travel

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Introduction to the Development of Tourism
History of Travel
Renaissance and Modern Travel

Introduction
The Renaissance began a new age of enlightenment in Europe. This period saw people travelling purely to experience higher culture for the first time in centuries.

This unit will explain how upper-class ‘cultural tourists’ developed tourism from the renaissance onwards. It will also explain how the military conflicts of Western Europe indirectly influenced modern tourist activities. Finally, it will detail how the industrial revolution began an era in which middle and working class people could take annual holidays.

The Renaissance
The next important factor in the post-Roman development of travel was the Renaissance. As society moved from a rural to an urban base, wealth grew and more people had the money to travel. Pilgrimages were still important although journeys to Jerusalem declined because of the growth of Protestantism in Europe.

The impetus to travel in order to learn was aided by the arrival of Renaissance works from Italy. Furthermore, the relatively stable monarchical hierarchy of Europe helped assure travellers’ safety.

The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
The beginning of the sixteenth century saw a new age of curiosity and exploration that culminated in the popularity of the grand tour. The tour was initially a sixteenth-century concept brought about by the need to develop a class of professional statesmen and ambassadors. Young men accompanied ambassadors throughout Europe in order to complete their education.

The practice continued into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries eventually becoming a right of passage for young upper-class men . No gentleman's education was complete until he spent from one to three years traveling around Europe with a tutor.

This practice was undoubtedly influenced by the philosophy of John Locke, who believed that human knowledge came entirely from external experience. Locke believed that once an environment was "exhausted" it became necessary to travel on to another.

Thus, travel became a requirement for those seeking to develop the mind and accumulate knowledge.

A typical grand tour for an English gentleman began in France. Here French was studied together with dancing, fencing, riding, and drawing. Next, the student would head for Italy to study sculpture, music appreciation and art. The return was by way of Germany, Switzerland and the “low countries” (Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg).

Travel was by coach and could be rather uncomfortable. It was also necessary to "prove" one's culture and sophistication by returning home with paintings and sculptures, many of which were frauds reserved for unsuspecting travellers.

While the grand tour was primarily an English practice, the aristocracy of Scandinavia and Russia also took up the custom. Though fewer in number, some noble Germans also took the Grand Tour.

The Grand Tour reached its peak of popularity in the mid- eighteenth century, but was brought to a sudden end by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.


The Victorian Era
The Victorian Era
The Industrial Revolution accelerated the movement from rural to urban areas. The cramped living conditions of the cities gave industrial workers a desire for open space. At the same time, the advent of the steam engine provided increasingly effective modes of transport in the steam train and steamship.

These factors led to the growth of two popular types of tourist destination in the Victorian era:
Spas
Seaside Resorts

Spas: The popularising of spas was largely due to the medical profession, which during the seventeenth century began to recommend the medicinal properties of mineral waters.

Spas were initially popular in continental Europe, where they were used in much the same way as the bathhouses of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. However in the 17th century, medical professionals in England began to claim that bathing in mineral water had health benefits.

Following this, members of the British court began to frequent spas making them fashionable amongst the upper-classes. By the end of the seventeenth century, the alleged medical benefits of spas were dismissed. However, spas retained their appeal and were now viewed as places to relax.

Seaside Resorts: The medical profession, the British court, and Napoleon all helped popularise the seaside resort. The original motive for sea bathing was for health reasons. Dr Richard Russell argued that bathing in sea water was effective at combating multiple illnesses including cirrhosis, gout, gonorrhoea, and scurvy. He insisted that people drink a pint of it daily.

The growth of the seaside resort was stimulated by the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It was no longer safe for noblemen to travel to in mainland Europe. These wars effectively ended the practice of the Grand Tour. The now fashionable seaside resorts were the alternative.

In Britain, different seaside resorts rose in popularity as they were visited by members of the British court. Brighton's fame was assured after it was visited by George IV. Similarly, Southend and Cowes became associated with Princess Charlotte and Queen Victoria respectively.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century the seaside resorts became popular with the working classes. This was due to the introduction of paid holidays and higher wages.

The term holiday comes from "holy days“. Holy days are days of religious observances and have existed in many different cultures for centuries. Ancient Rome featured public holidays for great feasting. As Europe became Christian certain saints' days and religious festivals became holy days when people fasted, prayed and refrained from work.

After the Industrial Revolution, religious holidays gradually became secularised. At the same time, employers began offering vacation to their staff. The vacation was negotiated between the employer and the workers and was granted as a result of increasing pressure from trade unions.

It made sense to take the holidays during the warmer summer months. For the employer it was advantageous to close the entire factory down for one week rather than face the problems of operating with small groups of people absent over a longer period of time.

END OF UNIT:
Renaissance and Modern Travel