History of Travel & Tourism

2000 years Before Christ, in India and Mesopotamia

Travel for trade was an important feature since the beginning of civilisation. The port at Lothal was an important centre of trade between the Indus valley civilisation and the Sumerian civilisation.

600 BC and thereafter

The earliest form of leisure tourism can be traced as far back as the Babylonian and Egyptian empires. A museum of historic antiquities was open to the public in Babylon. The Egyptians held many religious festivals that attracted the devout and many people who thronged to cities to see famous works of arts and buildings.

In India, as elsewhere, kings travelled for empire building. The Brahmins and the common people travelled for religious purposes. Thousands of Brahmins and the common folk thronged Sarnath and Sravasti to be greeted by the inscrutable smile of the Enlightened One- the Buddha.

500 BC, the Greek civilisation

The Greek tourists travelled to sites of healing gods. The Greeks also enjoyed their religious festivals that increasingly became a pursuit of pleasure, and in particular, sport. Athens had become an important site for travellers visiting the major sights such as the Parthenon. Inns were established in large towns and seaports to provide for travellers’ needs. Courtesans were the principal entertainment offered.

 

This era also saw the birth of travel writing. Herodotus was the worlds’ first travel writer. Guidebooks also made their appearance in the fourth century covering destinations such as Athens, Sparta and Troy. Advertisements in the way of signs directing people to inns are also known in this period.

The Roman Empire

With no foreign borders between England and Syria, and with safe seas from piracy due to Roman patrols, the conditions favouring travel had arrived. First class roads coupled with staging inns (precursors of modern motels) promoted the growth of travel. Romans travelled to Sicily, Greece, Rhodes, Troy and Egypt. From 300 AD travel to the Holy Land also became very popular. The Romans introduced their guidebooks (itineraria), listing hotels with symbols to identify quality.

Second homes were built by the rich near Rome, occupied primarily during springtime social season. The most fashionable resorts were found around Bay of Naples. Naples attracted the retired and the intellectuals, Cumae attracted the fashionable while Baiae attracted the down market tourist, becoming noted for its rowdiness, drunkenness and all- night singing.

Travel and Tourism were to never attain a similar status until the modern times.

In the Middle Ages

Travel became difficult and dangerous as people travelled for business or for a sense of obligation and duty.

Adventurers sought fame and fortune through travel. The Europeans tried to discover a sea route to India for trade purposes and in this fashion discovered America and explored parts of Africa. Strolling players and minstrels made their living by performing as they travelled. Missionaries, saints, etc. travelled to spread the sacred word.

Leisure travel in India was introduced by the Mughals. The Mughal kings built luxurious palaces and enchanting gardens at places of natural and scenic beauty (for example Jehangir travelled to Kashmir drawn by its beauty.

Travel for empire building and pilgrimage was a regular feature.

The Grand Tour

From the early seventeenth century, a new form of tourism was developed as a direct outcome of the Renaissance. Under the reign of Elizabeth 1, young men seeking positions at court were encouraged to travel to continent to finish their education. Later, it became customary for education of gentleman to be completed by a ‘Grand Tour’ accompanied by a tutor and lasting for three or more years. While ostensibly educational, the pleasure seeking men travelled to enjoy life and culture of Paris, Venice or Florence. By the end of eighteenth century, the custom had become institutionalised in the gentry. Gradually pleasure travel displaced educational travel. The advent of Napoleonic wars inhibited travel for around 30 years and led to the decline of the custom of the Grand Tour.

The development of the spas

The spas grew in popularity in the seventeenth century in Britain and a little later in the European Continent as awareness about the therapeutic qualities of mineral water increased. Taking the cure in the spa rapidly acquired the nature of a status symbol. The resorts changed in character as pleasure became the motivation of visits. They became an important centre of social life for the high society.

In the nineteenth century they were gradually replaced by the seaside resort.

The sun, sand and sea resorts

The sea water became associated with health benefits. The earliest visitors therefore drank it and did not bathe in it. By the early eighteenth century, small fishing resorts sprung up in England for visitors who drank and immersed themselves in sea water. With the overcrowding of inland spas, the new sea side resorts grew in popularity. The introduction of steamboat services in 19th century introduced more resorts in the circuit. The seaside resort gradually became a social meeting point

 Role of the industrial revolution in promoting travel in the west

 The rapid urbanisation due to industrialisation led to mass immigration in cities. These people were lured into travel to escape their environment to places of natural beauty, often to the countryside they had come from change of routine from a physically and psychologically stressful jobs to a leisurely pace in countryside.

Highlights of travel in the nineteenth century 

·        Advent of railway initially catalysed business travel and later leisure travel. Gradually special trains were chartered to only take leisure travel to their destinations.

·        Package tours organised by entrepreneurs such as Thomas Cook.

·        The European countries indulged in a lot of business travel often to their colonies to buy raw material and sell finished goods.

·        The invention of photography acted as a status-enhancing tool and promoted overseas travel.

·        The formation of first hotel chains; pioneered by the railway companies who established great railway terminus hotels.

·        Seaside resorts began to develop different images as for day-trippers, elite, for gambling.

·        Other types of destinations-ski resorts, hill stations, mountaineering spots etc.

·        The technological development in steamships promoted travel between North America and Europe.

·        The Suez Canal opened direct sea routes to India and the Far East.

·        The cult of the guidebook followed the development of photography.

 

 

Tourism in the Twentieth Century

 

The First World War gave first hand experience of countries and aroused a sense of curiosity about international travel among less well off sector for the first time. The large scale of migration to the US meant a lot of travel across the Atlantic. Private motoring began to encourage domestic travel in Europe and the west.  The sea side resort became annual family holiday destination in Britain and increased in popularity in other countries of the west. Hotels proliferated in these destinations.

The birth of air travel and after

The wars increased interest in international travel. This interest was given the shape of mass tourism by the aviation industry. The surplus of aircraft and growth of private airlines aided the expansion of air travel. The aircraft had become comfortable, faster and steadily cheaper for overseas travel. With the introduction of Boeing 707 jet in 1958, the age of air travel for the masses had arrived. The beginning of chartered flights boosted the package tour market and led to the establishment of organised mass tourism. The Boeing 747, a 400 seat craft, brought the cost of travel down sharply. The seaside resorts in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Caribbean were the initial hot spots of mass tourism.

A corresponding growth in hotel industry led to the establishment of world-wide chains. Tourism also began to diversify as people began to flock alternative destinations in the 70s. Nepal and India received a throng of tourists lured by Hare Krishna movement and transcendental meditation. The beginning of individual travel in a significant volume only occurred in the 80s. Air travel also led to a continuous growth in business travel especially with the emergence of the MNCs.

How Cheap Flights Played a Role in Tourism Development in Accra?

Development is a dynamic process where a single factor cannot be given the whole credit. The exemplary story of tourism development in Accra is a classic example where we can find a bundle of connected elements working for promotion of the sector. According to available statistics of Ghana Tourist Board, the sector earned over 2 billion dollars in 2011, 1.61 billion dollars in 2009 and 1.40 billion in the year 2008. In addition to this, the number of tourists has also increased significantly. Over 0.8 million tourists arrived at the end of 2009, while their number crossed one million mark in 2011.

The story does not end here. The most important element that made the revenue soar higher is increasing percentage of business tourists coming to the city. 3 years back, out of total number of tourists, 23% were business people, while in 2010 and 11; the percentage has increased by 10 percent. There are many factors that played their role in the development of the tourism industry in Ghana. Here is a brief analysis of few important factors that played vital role in making sector lucrative for local and international tourists.

1- The most important factor that drove tourists to the city is peace and stability of the region in the recent past. No doubt, the country was one of the most beautiful places even one decade ago, yet the disturbing peace and deteriorating law and order situation crippled its ability to reach out international tourists.

2- Secondly, the government’s dedicated efforts to promote tourism sector have been quite fruitful. Establishment of Ghana Tourist Board was a right step in that direction and it helped country improve its international outlook and perception.

3- Tertiary, the rising number of tourists attracted airlines and tour operators in the country that started offering cheap flights to Accra and other cities. This led to growth in the competition and availability of low-cost and reliable services to local and international tourists.

4- A very important perspective that we can’t ignore is infrastructure development by the government. Few years back, you could hardly find any lucrative place to visit the city. However today, you find dozens of places across Accra, which attract visitors for their grandeur’s, beauty and landscapes.

How to Find Cheap Flights to Ghana?

As it has been noted earlier, the number of airlines operating to Ghana has increased over the years. This has led to a healthy competition in the industry and promoted the country’s tourism internationally. Therefore, availability of cheap flights and wider options for the tourists has increased the prospects of future growth in the tourism sector of Ghana. For the tourists based in United Kingdom, there are also many options of low-cost flights to Ghana.

Though almost every professional travel agency offers flights to various cities of the country but there are certain African specialist agencies that offer even more low-priced flights. CheapFlights-Harare, Reliance Travels UK, SkyScanner, TripAdvisor are few leading names that fall in this category. The good thing about electronic reservation and booking service is ease of access and decision-making. You can open different agencies pages in multi-tab browsers and compare the price plans. This helps in making the most economical decision that suits your budget and requirements of the trip. Additionally, the cost of trip is not restricted to airlines’ tickets; instead, your local travel expenses and selection of service price plans has a great impact on your overall budget.

The above given analysis further endorses my views that not a single factor can be credited to the development; instead, it is a combination of factors that leads to the development of economy and its sub-parts. However, the tourism sector is undoubtedly indebted to the handsome competition in aviation industry. Owing to the rivalry among more than 90 airlines, the cost of travelling to Africa in general and Ghana in particular has come down. From customers’ perspective, this element played the most important role in industry’s development because it increased the purchasing power of people who aspired to visit Accra, Ghana.

Sustainable Tourism- A Prerequisite of Sustainable Development

This article will provide a brief overview about the historical background, importance, concepts, principles and general debates about sustainable tourism.

Sustainable tourism is one of the pre-requisites of achieving sustainable development. the concept of tourism with sustainability and development gets its historical inclusion from mass tourism that got flourished in 1960s due to advent of jet aircraft and the passions for tourism got tremendous following and it also reached Third World countries (Dann, 2002). It was also argued that this boost pushed organizations like World Bank and UN to examine the cost benefit analysis of tourism and it was acknowledged that potential costs of tourism are far lower than financial benefits in shape of balance pf payment surpluses, infrastructure development, and employment and foreign exchange gains. So that gave rise to the concept of sustainable tourism as one of the source of bringing sustainable development. According to the World’s Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), it is claimed that Tourism is the world’s largest industry where in 2000, 698 million people travelled internationally which 7.3 % more than 1999. Similarly the economic worth of international tourism was US$477.9 billion in 2000 (Papers4you.com, 2006).

In terms of one concrete definition, literature suggests that it is not fixed and is ever evolving. However Coccossis (1996) asserts that sustainable tourism can be taken in four different interpretations that include” economic sustainability of tourism”, the “ecologically sustainable tourism”,” sustainable tourism development” with both focus of environment as well as long term feasibility of the industry and finally “tourism as a part of a strategy for sustainable development”.

As mentioned above, sustainable tourism should be taken in consideration to environmental and resources effects. It was argued that Mediterranean tourism is the main source of economic gain for the reason however short term growth was overlooked with long term adverse effect and deterioration of their ecosystem and resources (Farsari, 2000)

Effects of ignorant tourism on its sustainability include: ‘over consumption of natural resources ,environmental degradation, exploitation of cultures and labour, displacement of people from their land, lack of consultation with local communities, poorly thought out tourism planning and high foreign exchange leakage which reduces local economic benefits’ in long run (World’s Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002),

Where such effects are there to pose a threat on sustainable tourism there are guiding principles that can lead to ensure sustainability (Papers4you.com, 2006). Those principles include sustainable use of resources, waste and over-consumption reduction, diversity maintenance, tourism-planning integration, local economy support as well as local community involvement, consultation, training, research and responsible marketing (Farsari, 2000)

So the discussion suggest that tourism industry has potential to be a prerequisite for sustainable development, however it is imperative to realize that focus on mass tourism only can pose danger to environment so in order to ensure sustainability in tourism, guiding principles should be followed

References

Coccossis, H. (1996) ‘Tourism and Sustainability: Perspectives and Implications’ in Priestley, G. et al. (eds), Sustainable Tourism? European Experiences, U.K.: Cab International

Dann, G, M, S, (2002), “Tourism & Development”, in Desai V and Potter, R. (eds) (2002), The Companion to Development Studies, London: Arnold,

Farsari, Y, (2000), ‘Sustainable Tourism Indicators for Mediterranean Established Destinations’, Heraklion: IACM & FORTH

Papers For You (2006) “C/T/32. Sustainable travel & tourism”, Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprttrav4.htm [22/06/2006]

Papers For You (2006) “C/T/27. Sustainable Tourism Development”, Available from Papers4you.com [21/06/2006]

World Summit on Sustainable Development, (2002), ‘Sustainable Tourism and the Earth Summit’, Briefing Paper, Aug 26-Sep 06, 2002, London: Tourism Concern. Also available on

http://www.tourismconcern.org.uk/media/2002/WSSD%20sustainable%20tourism%20briefing.htm