Facts About Tourism

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When 2nd century BCE writer Antipater compiled a list of Greco Roman architectural achievements , known as the Seven Wonders of the World, little did he know that he was kick starting an industry that would 22 centuries later, become the world’s most important economic activity – tourism..

HISTORICAL/CULTURAL TOURISM: The sites of the Seven Wonders became the first tourist destinations of the Western world. Long before the word tourist came into usage, the visitors to these historical sites were performing all the activities of modern tourists. Their travel was organized and infrastructure was developed to assist them on their journeys. Essential destinations and experiences were identified. Historical sites are popular tourist destinations in modern times too. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, has an annual foreign footfall of approximately 7 lakh. France is also a popular cultural tourist destination. The Louvre in Paris is the most visited museum in the world, with 9.72 visitors annually.

PILGRIMAGES: In the Eastern parts of the world, pilgrimages were the most important form of tourism. Visits to sacred Buddhist sites have been recorded since 2BC. In the 21st century this form of tourism had become increasingly popular. All major religions periodically witness massive migrations of the faithful to sacred sites. These pilgrimages are also relaxing time spent away from home, and constitute an important branch of the tourism industry. The Haj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, undertaken annually by millions of Muslims from all over the world is one of the largest tourist events. In India Roman Catholics visit the city of Vailankanni, the Lourdes of the East. Hindus undertake various pilgrimages. The temple of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh, India is the most visited holy place in the world. An estimated 35 million pilgrims visit annually.

HEALTH TOURISM: In ancient times people travelled to spas and public baths in the hope of being cured of ailments ranging from physical disabilities to skin conditions to chronic disorders. As the tourism industry matured health resorts started to spring up at scenic towns. Surgical tourism is comparatively recent. Patients seeking cheaper alternatives with less or no waiting period travel miles to far away locations for surgery Cost Rica offers cheap plastic surgery and annually about 25000 tourists visit the country for plastic surgery. India is also a popular destination for cost efficient surgery. Medical tourists also travel to avail for the latest advances in medical science e.g. stem cell technology.

SPORTS TOURISM: As the popularity of sport increases worldwide, host countries of large international sporting events witness massive increase in tourism during the event and after. The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil attracted over 1 million visitors to the 6 host cities, generating an income of $7.5 billon.

ADVENTURE TOURISM: Skiing in the Alps, trekking through the rainforests, safaris in Africa, climbing Mount Everest, deep sea diving, visiting penguins in Antarctica or hobnobbing with polar bears in the Arctic – these activities attract the young at heart from all over the world.

SPACE TOURISM: On April 28, 2001 American businessman, Dennis Tito, paid $ 20 million for the privilege of spending 7 days on the International Space Station. Dennis objected to being called a tourist and preferred to be called a spaceflight participant. Since his historic trip other millionaires have followed suit. Many companies and now working towards making space travel commercially viable.

BEACH RESORTS: In ancient times a visitor to the Greco Roman historical sites would try to take in some Mediterranean beach time, giving rise to the concept of beach resorts. Mediterranean beach resorts have in recent times been overshadowed by popular beaches in far flung corners of the globe. Waikiki, Hawaii, Copa Cabana, Rio de Janeiro, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand, Tenerife Canary Islands and Surfers Paradise, Australia are the most visited beaches. The hippie tourists of the 60’s put Goa, India on the world tourism map.

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