Tourism Industry – Sectors and Career Development
The Tourist Industry
Tourism. This encompasses everything from the planning of the trip, travel to the destination, the stay itself and the return journey.
It also includes the activities the traveller undertakes as part of the trip, the purchases bought and the interactions that occur between host and guest. In summation, tourism is all of the activities that occur when a visitor travels.
When talking about tourism it is important to differentiate tourism from recreation. The term "recreation" overlaps in many ways with tourism.
Recreation is a pleasurable activity that is engaged in during leisure time. This might involve either active or passive pursuits, indoor or outdoor activities.
The difference between recreation and tourism is that tourism involves travelling and takes time. There is no time or distance aspect to recreation. A round of golf three kilometres from home would constitute recreation while a weekend trip to a golf resort would be considered tourism.
All definitions of tourism include the word “tourist”. Therefore, it is very important to define the word. A variety of definitions exist for tourist. In the tourism industry, it is extremely important that the meaning of the word is made clear. Similarly, it is important to define the types of travellers that are not tourists. Such terms are essential for creating and understanding statistics on tourism. Furthermore, categorising travellers will help entrepreneurs to create business plans and revenue projections for tourism-based businesses.
This section will explain the various terms used for travellers and tourist, as defined by tourism and intergovernmental organisations. It will also explain how these definitions have been expanded upon and developed over time.
Definitions of International Tourists
League of Nations: The League of Nations (LN) was the first organisation to create a formal definition of tourists in 1937. Their definition of "foreign tourist" was largely one of time. Foreign tourists were people that stayed in the country for more than 24 hours. The only exception to this definition was people visiting on a cruise stopover for less than 24 hours.
According to the LN, the motivations for travel as a tourist were rather diverse. The term “tourist” included people visiting for pleasure and business. Similarly, people staying in a representative capacity were also deemed to be tourists.
The LN also created a list of travellers they did not consider to be tourists. Notably, they did not create terms for these travellers. Such people included those arriving in a country to work, live or study as well as people living in one country and working in an adjoining country. Other people considered non-tourists were those who travelled through a country en route to a destination. This included people whose journey may take longer than 24 hours.
The League of Nations’ classifications and definitions were highly influential and provided a framework for other organisations to expand upon.
International Union of Official Travel Organizations: In 1950, the International Union of Official Travel Organizations (IUOTO), which later became the World Tourism Organization, defined the different types of people who travelled to foreign countries. They made two changes to the League of Nations’ definitions.
Unlike the LN, The IUOTO recommended that "students and young persons in boarding establishments or schools" be regarded as tourists.
The IUOTO created two new terms to define specific types of traveller; excursionist and transit traveller.
Excursionist: An excursionist is someone traveling for pleasure in a country in which he or she normally does not reside for a period of less than 24 hours. This term identified a type of traveller that was not acknowledged by the LN.
Transit Traveller: A transit traveller is defined as “any person traversing a country, even for a period of more than 24 hours, without stopping, or a person traversing a country during a period of less than 24 hours, provided that the stops made are of short duration and for other than tourism purposes". This term identified a type of traveller that was simply deemed to be a “non-tourist” by the LN
United Nations: In1963, the United Nations Conference on International Travel and Tourism in Rome recommended any person who visits a foreign country for any purpose that does not involve receiving pay be defined as a “visitor”. Two sub-definitions of visitor were created; excursionist and tourist.
Excursionist: An excursionist was defined as any person who visited a country for less than 24 hours. The UN stipulated that it was also suitable to refer to these visitors as "day visitors".
Tourist: A visitor that stays in a country for longer than 24 hours.
These suggestions were accepted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 1968. The commission began using these terms in all tourism statistics from that point on.
In 1978, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs published guidelines that included a definition of the term "international visitor". According to the report there are two types of international visitor; those who visited a given country from abroad (inbound tourists) and those who travelled abroad on visits (outbound tourists).
It indicated that the maximum period a person could spend in a country and still be considered a visitor would be one year. Most UN member states accepted the department’s definitions of international visitors.
World Tourism Organisation: Today, the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) defines a foreign tourist as a person who spends at least one night, but no more than one year, in a foreign country.
The tourist can be there for a variety of reasons but must not be earning money in the country being visited.
In keeping with the IUOTO definition, the WTO defines an “excursionist” as a person who visits a foreign country but does not stay overnight.
Definitions of Domestic Tourist
World Tourism Organisation: As with international tourists, the World Tourism Organisation’s definition of domestic tourists is based on length of stay. According to the WTO, any person residing within a country, traveling to a place within that country other than his/her usual residence for a period of more than 24 hours, is deemed a domestic tourist. This definition applies regardless of the person’s nationality. People travelling for business reasons are included in this definition. However, people engaging in activities for which they receive pay are not included.
According to the WTO, a person that meets the above definition but who does not stay overnight is a “domestic excursionist”.
National Tourism Resources Review Commission: In 1973, the National Tourism Resources Review Commission published its landmark study of tourism in the United States. In it, the commission proposed that a domestic tourist was a person who travelled at least 80 kilometres away from home. The travel could be for any reason except commuting to work.
The US Census Bureau: The US Census Bureau publishes the National Travel Survey every five years. In the 1963 and 1967 surveys, the bureau defined a "trip" as "each time a person goes to a place at least 160 kilometres away from home and returns or is out-of-town one or more nights". From 1972 onwards the phrase "or is out-of-town one or more nights" was omitted from the definition. Essentially, this means that since 1972, weekend trips to locations less than 160 kilometres away are not counted in US Census Bureau’s tourism statistics.
US Travel Data Centre: The prestigious US Travel Data Centre regularly collects, analyses and publishes data on travel and tourism in the United States. It accepts the definition of travel provided by the US Census Bureau.
People that travel as part of an operating crew on a train, plane, bus, truck or ship are not deemed tourists by the centre. Similarly, people commuting to a place of work and students travelling to and from school are also not categorised as domestic tourists.
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