Tourism is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries and a major foreign exchange and employment generation for many countries. It is one of the most remarkable economic and social phenomena.
The word ‘tour’ is derived from the Latin word tornus, meaning ‘a tool for making a circle.’ Tourism may be defined as the movement of people from their usual place of residence to another place ( with the intention to return) for a minimum period of twenty-four hours to a maximum of six months for the sole purpose of leisure and pleasure.
According to WTO (1993), ” Tourism encompasses the activities of persons traveling and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes.”
The Rome conference on tourism in 1963 defined tourism as ‘ a visit to a country other than one’s own or where one usually resides and works. This definition, however, did not take into account domestic tourism, which has become a vital money-spinner and job generator for the hospitality industry.
The UNWTO defines tourists as ‘ people who travel to and stay in place outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.
According to the Tourism Society of Britain ,” tourism is the temporary short-period movement of people to destination outside the places where they usually live, work; and activities during their stay at these destinations.” This definition includes the movement of people for all purposes.
The development of technology and transportation infrastructure, such as jumbos jets, low-cost airlines, and more accessible airports, have made tourism affordable and convenient. There have been changes in lifestyle – for example, now retiree-age people sustain tourism around the year. The sale of tourism products on the internet, besides the aggressive marketing of the tour operators and travel agencies , has also contributed to the growth of tourism.
27 September is celebrated as world tourism every year. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of UNWTO were adopted. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the role of tourism within the international community.
History of Travel and Tourism
Travel is as old as mankind on earth. At the beginning of his existence, man roamed about the planet’s surface in search of food, shelter, security, and better habitat. However, with time, such movements were transformed into wanderlust.
About five thousand years ago, climate changes, dwindling food and shelter conditions hostile invaders made the people leave their homes to seek refuge elsewhere like the Aryans left their homes in Central Asia due to climate changes. Perhaps, this leads to the development of commerce, trade, and industry.
Religion, education, and cultural movement began during the Hindu and Chinese civilizations. Christian missionaries, Buddhist monks, and others traveled far and wide carrying religious messages and returned with fantastic images and opinions about alien people.
For centuries movement of people continued to grow due to the efficiency of transport and the assistance and safety with which the people could travel. By the end of the 15th century, Italy had become Europe’s intellectual and cultural center. It represented the classical heritage both for the intelligentsia and the aristocracy.
During the 16th century, travel came to be considered an essential part of the education of every young Englishman. Travel thus became a means of self-development and education in its broadest sense. The educational travel was known as the ‘ Grand Tour .’
The industrial revolution brought about significant changes in the pattern and structure of British society. Thus, the economy of Britain was greatly responsible for the beginning of modern tourism. It also created a large and prosperous middle class. Because of remarkable improvement in transportation systems in the latter half of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th century, an increasing number of people began to travel for pleasure.
Travel was inspired initially by the need for survival (food, shelter, and security), the desire to expand trade, and the quest to conquer. As the transportation system improved, the curiosity for transforming the vast and virgin world into a close neighborhood created a new industry, i.e., Travel and Tourism .
However, the developments of rails, roads, steamships, automobiles, and airplanes helped to spread technology across the globe. Earlier travel was a privilege only for wealthy people, but with the industrial revolution, the scenario altogether changed. Transportation, as well as accommodation, became affordable to middle and working-class citizens.
Essentially, with the development of jet travel, communication, new technology, tourism, and travel became the world’s largest and fastest-growing industry.
Travel and tourism have recently emerged as a dominant economic force on the global scene, accounting for more than 12% of total world trade and growing at 8 percent annually.
Types of Tourism
Tourism has two types and many forms based on the purpose of visit and alternative forms of tourism. Tourism can be categorized as international and domestic tourism .
Tourism has two types and various forms. Based on the movement of people, tourism is categorized into two kinds. These are the following:
When people visit a foreign country, it is referred to as International Tourism . To travel to a foreign country, one needs a valid passport, visa, health documents, foreign exchange, etc.
International tourism is divided into two types; Inbound Tourism & Outbound Tourism.
This refers to tourists of outside origin entering a particular country. Traveling outside their host/native country to another country is called inbound tourism for the country where they are traveling. For example, when a tourist of Indian origin travels to Japan, it is Inbound tourism for Japan because foreign tourists come to Japan.
This refers to tourists traveling from the country of their origin to another country. When tourists travel to a foreign region, it is outbound tourism for their own country because they are going outside their country. For example, when a tourist from India travels to Japan, it is outbound tourism for India and Inbound tourism for Japan.
The tourism activity of the people within their own country is known as domestic tourism . Traveling within the same country is easier because it does not require formal travel documents and tedious formalities like compulsory health checks and foreign exchange. A traveler generally does not face many language problems or currency exchange issues in domestic tourism.
Forms of Tourism
Tourism has various forms based on the purpose of the visit and alternative forms. These are further divided into many types according to their nature. Forms of tourism are the following:
Some most basic forms of tourism are the following:
- Adventure Tourism
- Atomic Tourism
- Bicycle Tours
- Beach Tourism
- Cultural Tourism
- Industrial Tourism
- Medical Tourism
- Religious Tourism
- Rural Tourism
- Sex Tourism
- Space Tourism
- Sports Tourism
- Sustainable Tourism
- Virtual Tourism
- War Tourism
- Wildlife Tourism
Classification of Tourism
Tourism can be classified into six distinct categories according to the purpose of travel. These are the following:
1) Recreational : Recreational or leisure tourism takes a person away from the humdrum of everyday life. In this case, people spend their leisure time in the hills, sea beaches, etc.
2) Cultural tourism satisfies cultural and intellectual curiosity and involves visits to ancient monuments, places of historical or religious importance, etc.
3) Sports/Adventure : Trips taken by people with a view to playing golf, skiing and hiking, fall within this category.
4) Health : Under this category, people travel for medical, treatment or visit places where there are curative possibilities, for example, hot springs, spa yoga, etc.
5) Convention Tourism : It is becoming an increasingly important component of travel. People travel within a country or overseas to attend conventions relating to their business, profession, or interest.
6) Incentive Tourism : Holiday trips are offered as incentives by major companies to dealers and salesmen who achieve high targets in sales. This is a new and expanding phenomenon in tourism, These are in lieu of cash incentives or gifts, Today incentive tourism is a 3 billion dollar business in the USA alone.
Nature of Tourism
Tourism as a socio-economic phenomenon comprises the activities and experiences of tourists and visitors away from their home environment and are serviced by the travel and tourism industry and host destination. The sum total of this activity experience and services can be seen as a tourism product.
The tourism system can be described in terms of supply and demand. Tourism planning should strive for a balance between demands and supply. This requires an understanding not only of market characteristics and trends but also of the planning process to meet the market needs.
Often tourists from core generating markets are identified as the demand side; the supply side includes all facilities, programs, attractions, and land uses designed and managed for the visitors. These supply-side factors may be under the control of private enterprises, non-profit organizations, and the government. New and innovative forms of partnerships are also evolving to ensure the sustainable development and management of tourism-related resources.
The supply and demand side can be seen to be linked by flows of resources such as capital, labor, goods, and tourist expenditures into the destination, and flows of marketing, promotion, tourist artifacts, and experiences from the destination back into the tourist generating region.
In addition, some tourist expenditures may leak back into the visitors generating areas through repatriation of profits of foreign tourism investors and payment for improved goods and services provided to tourists at the destination. Transportation provides an important linkage both to and from the destination.
For planning purposes, the major components that comprise the supply side are:
- Various modes of transportation and other tourism-related infrastructure.
- Tourist information.
- Marketing and promotion.
- The community of communities within the visitor’s destination area.
- The political and institutional frameworks for enabling tourism.
The tourism system is both dynamic and complex due to many factors linked to it and because of the existence of many sectors contributing to its success. These factors and sectors are linked to the provision of the tourist experience and the generation of tourism revenue and markets.
The dynamic nature of the tourism system makes it imperative to scan the external and internal environment of the destinations on a regular basis so as to make changes when necessary to ensure a healthy and viable tourism industry.
Thus, it is now an accepted fact that tourism development can no longer work in isolation of the environment and the local communities, nor can it ignore the social and cultural consequences of tourism.
Importance of Tourism
Tourism and hospitality , which are inextricably linked to each other, are among the major revenue-earning enterprises in the world. They happen to be among the top employers too. There has been an upmarket trend in tourism over the last few decades as travel has become quite common. People travel for business, vacation, pleasure, adventure, or even medical treatments.
Tourism constitutes an important industry today. It has opened up new vistas for the play of economic emancipation. It provides a very potent contribution by strengthening and developing the financial resources of a country. Moreover, it is a process in which mutual material and mental benefits occur. Furthermore,
- Tourism fetches foreign exchange in the form of invisible exports, which results in the manifold progress of the nation.
- Tourism generates jobs. These employments are the main contribution of tourism to generating national income. But one should remember that employment in the tourism industry is often seasonal.
- Tourism often leads to the commercialization of art forms and especially handicrafts. Art items with cultural or religious meaning are sought by tourists as souvenirs. As more and more tourists visit a destination, souvenir production has increased, often leading to mass production. This production also generates income.
With several business-related activities associated with tourism, the industry has a tremendous potential to generate employment as well as earn foreign exchange. Many countries, such as Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, and the Caribbean, whose economies are primarily driven by tourism. Tourism can contribute to the economic growth of a country in the followings ways:
It creates a large number of jobs among direct services providers (such as hotels , restaurants, travel agencies , tour operators , guide and tour escorts, etc.) and among indirect services providers (such as suppliers to the hotels and restaurants, supplementary accommodation, etc.)
Tourism spurs infrastructure development. In order to become an important commercial or pleasure destination, any location would require all the necessary infrastructure, like good connectivity via rail, road, and air transport, adequate accommodation, restaurants, a well-developed telecommunication network, and, medical facilities, among others.
The people who travel to other countries spend a large amount of money on accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, shopping, etc. Thus, an inbound tourist is an important source of foreign exchange for any country.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) predict in 1997 that the twenty-first-century economy would be dominated by three industries: telecommunications, information technology, and tourism. The travel and tourism industry has grown by 500 percent in the last 25 years.
Now withstanding this bright outlook and prospects, the tourism and hospitality industries are very vulnerable to the fluctuations of national economies and happenings in the world, especially terrorist attacks that have at times dealt severe blows to business.
In recent years, there have been a few setbacks in tourism, such as the terrorist siege of the Taj and Oberoi in Mumbai, India (26 November 2008); the attack on the World Trade Centre in the United States of America (11 September 2001); bombing in a hotel on the Indonesian island of Bali (12 October 2002); tsunami in Southeast Asia and South Asia on 26 December 2004, in which thousands of the lives where lost and consequently tourism was hit. Nonetheless, the sector is now getting back to business.
Impacts of Tourism
Tourism is a multi-dimensional activity. The scope of tourism activities is so wide and varied that it cannot be restricted to any particular field of activity. Tourism has ramifications in almost all sectors and is influenced by the performance of each of these sectors directly or indirectly. Tourism in any country can be an apt reflection of the nation’s economic and social endowment apart from its natural wealth.
Tourism has vast potential to bring about changes in the country’s economic, environmental, societal, and cultural edifice. Tourism has two basics: the supply of facilities and the demand for participation. The twin market forces of supply and demand interact to produce tourism patterns. These patterns are associated with economic, social, cultural, environmental, and ecological impacts.
Establishing or developing a tourism industry involves expenditure, gains, costs, and benefits. If these impacts are considered from the outset of planning, strengths and opportunities can be maximized while weaknesses and threats can be minimized.
Each destination will be different in terms of tourism characteristics . The cost and benefits of tourism will vary in each destination and can change over time, depending on tourism and other activities in a destination’s local and regional context.
Tourism activities impact the economy of the country as well as the local economy of the destination.
- Tourism generates local employment, directly in the tourism sector and in the support and resource management sectors.
- Tourism stimulates profitable domestic industries, hotels and other lodging facilities, restaurants and food services, transportation systems, handicrafts, and guide services.
- Tourism generates foreign exchange for the country and injects capital and new money into the local economy.
- Tourism helps to diversify the local economy.
- Improved tourism infrastructure.
- Increase tax revenues from tourism.
- Higher demand created by tourism activity may increase the price of land, housing, and a range of commodities necessary for daily life.
- Demands for health services provision and police service increase during the tourist seasons at the expense of the local tax base.
Tourism also affects the society of the destination in good as well as bad ways. It benefits and costs the local communities.
- The quality of a community can be enhanced by economic diversification through tourism.
- Recreational and cultural facilities created for tourism can be used by local communities as well as domestic/international visitors.
- Public space may be developed and enhanced through tourism activity.
- Tourism Enhances the local community’s esteem and provides an opportunity for greater understanding and communication among people of diverse backgrounds.
- Rapid tourism growth can result in the inability of local amenities and institutions to meet service demands.
- Without proper planning and management, litter, vandalism, and crime often accompany tourism development.
- Tourism can bring overcrowding and traffic congestion.
- Visitors bring with them material wealth and apparent freedom. The youths of the host community are particularly susceptible to the economic expectations these tourists bring which can result in complete disruption of traditional community ways of life.
- The community structure may change, e.g. community bonds, demographics, and institutions.
- The authenticity of the social and cultural environment can be changed to meet tourism demands.
Tourism activities also affect the culture of the host country. There are many positive and negative cultural impacts of tourism.
- Tourism can enhance local cultural awareness.
- Tourism can generate revenue to help pay for the preservation of archaeological sites, historic buildings, and districts.
- Despite criticism about the alteration of cultures to unacceptable levels, the sharing of cultural knowledge and experience can be beneficial for hosts and guests of tourism destinations and can result in the revival of local traditions and crafts.
- Youth in the community begin to emulate the speech and attire of tourists.
- Historic sites can be damaged through tourism development and pressures.
- There can be long-term damage to cultural traditions and the erosion of cultural values, resulting in cultural change beyond a level acceptable to the host destination.
Tourism impacts the environment in positive as well as negative ways. These impacts are following below.
- Parks and nature preserves may be created and ecological preservation supported as a necessity for nature-based tourism.
- Improved waste management can be achieved.
- Increased awareness and concern for the environment can result from nature-based tourism activities and development.
- A negative change in the physical integrity of the area.
- Rapid development, over-development, and overcrowding can forever change the physical environment and ecosystems of an area.
- Degradation of parks and preserves.
Industries Related To Tourism
Over the years, tourism has become a popular global activity. Depending upon the nature and purpose of their travel, tourists, need and demand certain facilities and services. This has given rise to a wide range of commercial activities that have acquired industry proportions. Thus travel and tourism nowadays represent a broad range of related industries.
Hotels are a commercial establishment that provides accommodation, meals, and other guest services. In the travel and tourism industry, the hotel industry plays a very significant role, as all tourists need a place to stay at their destinations, and require many more services and facilities to suit their specific needs and tastes.
Restaurants are retail establishments that serve prepared food and beverages to customers. In the travel and tourism industry, restaurants and other food and beverage outlets are very important as tourists like to experiment with the local cuisines of the places they are visiting.
Retail and Shopping
The retail industry is very important as tourists shop for their day-to-day necessities as well as look for mementos and souvenirs. In recent years, some cities in the world have been promoted as shopping destinations to attract people with a penchant for shopping by offering various products, such as garments, electronic goods, jewelry, and antiques. New York, Paris, London, and Milan in Italy are famous as fashion havens of the world.
It is the movement of people and goods from one place to another. A well-developed transport industry, as well as infrastructure, is integral to the success of any travel and tourism enterprise.
A travel agency is a retailing business that sells travel-related products and services, particularly package tours, to customers on the behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise liners, hotels, railways, and sightseeing.
Travel agencies play a very important role as they plan out the itinerary of their clients and make the necessary arrangements for their travel, stay, and sightseeing, besides facilitating their passport, visa, etc.
A tour operator assembles the various elements of a tour. It typically combines tour and travel components to create a holiday. Tour operators play an important role in the travel and tourism industry.
A tourist attraction is a place of interest for tourists, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, nature or building beauty or amusement opportunities. These are the basic fundamentals of the tourism industry.
Cultural or creative industries are responsible for the creation, production, and distribution of goods and services that are cultural in nature and usually protected by intellectual property rights. As tourists like to visit places of cultural significance and soak in the culture of the area, the cultural industry is very important to travel and tourism.
Leisure, Recreation, and Sport
Leisure or free time is a period of time spent out of work and essential domestic activity. Recreation or fun is spending time in a manner designed for therapeutic refreshment of the body or mind. While leisure is more like a form of entertainment or rest, recreation requires active participation in a refreshing and diverting manner.
As people in the world’s wealthier regions lead an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, the need for recreation has increased. These play a significant role in the travel and tourism sector.
A tourism/tourist product can be defined as the sum of the physical and psychological satisfaction it provides to tourists, during their ‘traveling and sojourn’ en route at the destinations.
Since the travel and tourism industry is an agglomeration of too many sectors that promote travel-related services. These sectors are referred to as travel vendors and their services and goods are called ‘travel products’. A tourism product includes five main components such as physical plant, services, hospitality, freedom of choice, and a sense of involvement.
Thus, whatever the natural and man-made resources and services brought about the consumption of tourists are called tourism products .
Charecterstatics Of Tourism Products
By now, you must have understood what a tourism product is. Now let us look at some of its characteristics:-
1) Intangible : Tourism is an intangible product means tourism is such a kind of product that can not be touched or seen and there is no transfer of ownership, But the facilities are available for a specified time and for a specified use. For e.g. a room in the hotel is available for a specified time.
2) Psychological : The main motive to purchase a tourism products is to satisfy the psychological need after using the product, by getting an experience while interacting with a new environment. And experiences also motivate others to purchase that product.
3) Highly Perishable : Tourism product is highly perishable in nature means one can not store the product for a long time. Production and consumption take place while a tourist is available. If the product remains unused, the chances are lost i.e. if tourists do not purchase it.
A travel agent or tour operator who sells a tourism product cannot store it. Production can only take place if the customer is actually present. And once consumption begins, it cannot be stopped, interrupted, or modified. If the product remains unused, the chances are lost i.e. if tourists do not visit a particular place, the opportunity at that time is lost. It is due to tourism reason that heavy discount is offered by hotels and transport-generating organizations during the offseason.
4) Composite Product : Tourist product is a combination of different products. It has not a single entity in itself. In the experience of a visit to a particular place, various service providers contribute like transportation The tourist product cannot be provided by a single enterprise, unlike a manufactured product.
The tourist product covers the complete experience of a visit to a particular place. And many providers contribute to the tourism experience. For instance, the airline supplies seats, a hotel provides rooms and restaurants, travel agents make bookings for stay and sightseeing, etc.
5) Unstable Demand : Tourism demand is influenced by seasonal, economic political, and other factors. There are certain times of the year that see greater demand than others. At these times there is a greater strain on services like hotel bookings, employment, the transport system, etc.
Travel, Tourism & Hospitality
Global tourism industry - statistics & facts
What are the leading global tourism destinations, digitalization of the global tourism industry, how important is sustainable tourism, key insights.
Total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP worldwide 2019-2033
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 1950-2022
Global leisure travel spend 2019-2022
Editor’s Picks Current statistics on this topic
Current statistics on this topic.
Leading global travel markets by travel and tourism contribution to GDP 2019-2022
Travel and tourism employment worldwide 2019-2033
- Hotel industry worldwide
- Travel agency industry
- Sustainable tourism worldwide
- Travel and tourism in the U.S.
- Travel and tourism in Europe
- Basic Statistic Total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP worldwide 2019-2033
- Basic Statistic Travel and tourism: share of global GDP 2019-2033
- Basic Statistic Leading global travel markets by travel and tourism contribution to GDP 2019-2022
- Basic Statistic Global leisure travel spend 2019-2022
- Premium Statistic Global business travel spending 2001-2022
- Premium Statistic Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 1950-2022
- Basic Statistic Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 2005-2022, by region
- Basic Statistic Travel and tourism employment worldwide 2019-2033
Total contribution of travel and tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide in 2019 and 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2033 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
Travel and tourism: share of global GDP 2019-2033
Share of travel and tourism's total contribution to GDP worldwide in 2019 and 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2033
Total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in leading travel markets worldwide in 2019 and 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Leisure tourism spending worldwide from 2019 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Global business travel spending 2001-2022
Expenditure of business tourists worldwide from 2001 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide from 1950 to 2022 (in millions)
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide 2005-2022, by region
Number of international tourist arrivals worldwide from 2005 to 2022, by region (in millions)
Number of travel and tourism jobs worldwide from 2019 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2033 (in millions)
- Premium Statistic Global hotel and resort industry market size worldwide 2013-2023
- Premium Statistic Most valuable hotel brands worldwide 2022, by brand value
- Basic Statistic Leading hotel companies worldwide 2022, by number of properties
- Premium Statistic Hotel openings worldwide 2021-2024
- Premium Statistic Hotel room openings worldwide 2021-2024
- Premium Statistic Countries with the most hotel construction projects in the pipeline worldwide 2022
Global hotel and resort industry market size worldwide 2013-2023
Market size of the hotel and resort industry worldwide from 2013 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
Most valuable hotel brands worldwide 2022, by brand value
Leading hotel brands based on brand value worldwide in 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Leading hotel companies worldwide 2022, by number of properties
Leading hotel companies worldwide as of June 2022, by number of properties
Hotel openings worldwide 2021-2024
Number of hotels opened worldwide from 2021 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2024
Hotel room openings worldwide 2021-2024
Number of hotel rooms opened worldwide from 2021 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2024
Countries with the most hotel construction projects in the pipeline worldwide 2022
Countries with the highest number of hotel construction projects in the pipeline worldwide as of Q4 2022
- Premium Statistic Airports with the most international air passenger traffic worldwide 2022
- Premium Statistic Market value of selected airlines worldwide 2023
- Premium Statistic Global passenger rail users forecast 2017-2027
- Premium Statistic Daily ridership of bus rapid transit systems worldwide by region 2023
- Premium Statistic Number of users of car rentals worldwide 2019-2028
- Premium Statistic Number of users in selected countries in the Car Rentals market in 2023
- Premium Statistic Carbon footprint of international tourism transport worldwide 2005-2030, by type
Airports with the most international air passenger traffic worldwide 2022
Leading airports for international air passenger traffic in 2022 (in million international passengers)
Market value of selected airlines worldwide 2023
Market value of selected airlines worldwide as of May 2023 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Global passenger rail users forecast 2017-2027
Worldwide number of passenger rail users from 2017 to 2022, with a forecast through 2027 (in billion users)
Daily ridership of bus rapid transit systems worldwide by region 2023
Number of daily passengers using bus rapid transit (BRT) systems as of April 2023, by region
Number of users of car rentals worldwide 2019-2028
Number of users of car rentals worldwide from 2019 to 2028 (in millions)
Number of users in selected countries in the Car Rentals market in 2023
Number of users in selected countries in the Car Rentals market in 2023 (in million)
Carbon footprint of international tourism transport worldwide 2005-2030, by type
Transport-related emissions from international tourist arrivals worldwide in 2005 and 2016, with a forecast for 2030, by mode of transport (in million metric tons of carbon dioxide)
- Premium Statistic Market size of museums, historical sites, zoos, and parks worldwide 2022-2027
- Premium Statistic Leading museums by highest attendance worldwide 2019-2022
- Basic Statistic Most visited amusement and theme parks worldwide 2019-2022
- Basic Statistic Monuments on the UNESCO world heritage list 2023, by type
- Basic Statistic Selected countries with the most Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide 2023
Market size of museums, historical sites, zoos, and parks worldwide 2022-2027
Size of the museums, historical sites, zoos, and parks market worldwide in 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2027 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Leading museums by highest attendance worldwide 2019-2022
Most visited museums worldwide from 2019 to 2022 (in millions)
Most visited amusement and theme parks worldwide 2019-2022
Leading amusement and theme parks worldwide from 2019 to 2022, by attendance (in millions)
Monuments on the UNESCO world heritage list 2023, by type
Number of monuments on the UNESCO world heritage list as of September 2023, by type
Selected countries with the most Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide 2023
Number of Michelin-starred restaurants in selected countries and territories worldwide as of July 2023
Online travel market
- Premium Statistic Online travel market size worldwide 2020-2030
- Premium Statistic Estimated revenue of leading OTAs worldwide 2022, by device
- Premium Statistic Most downloaded online travel agency apps worldwide 2022, by aggregated downloads
- Basic Statistic Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022, by market cap
- Premium Statistic Leading online travel companies worldwide 2020-2022, by revenue CAGR
- Premium Statistic Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022-2023, by EV/EBITDA
Online travel market size worldwide 2020-2030
Online travel market size worldwide from 2020 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023 and 2030 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Estimated revenue of leading OTAs worldwide 2022, by device
Estimated desktop vs. mobile revenue of leading online travel agencies (OTAs) worldwide in 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Most downloaded online travel agency apps worldwide 2022, by aggregated downloads
Most downloaded online travel agency apps worldwide in 2022, by aggregated number of downloads (in millions)
Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022, by market cap
Market cap of leading online travel companies worldwide as of December 2022 (in million U.S. dollars)
Leading online travel companies worldwide 2020-2022, by revenue CAGR
Revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of leading online travel companies worldwide from 2020 to 2022
Leading online travel companies worldwide 2022-2023, by EV/EBITDA
Enterprise-value-to-EBITDA (EV/EBITDA) of selected leading online travel companies worldwide in 2022, with a forecast for 2023
- Premium Statistic Global travelers who believe in the importance of green travel 2022
- Premium Statistic Sustainable initiatives travelers would adopt worldwide 2022, by region
- Premium Statistic Airbnb revenue worldwide 2017-2022
- Premium Statistic Airbnb nights and experiences booked worldwide 2017-2022
- Premium Statistic Technologies global hotels plan to implement in the next three years 2022
- Premium Statistic Hotel technologies global consumers think would improve their future stay 2022
Global travelers who believe in the importance of green travel 2022
Share of travelers that believe sustainable travel is important worldwide in 2022
Sustainable initiatives travelers would adopt worldwide 2022, by region
Main sustainable initiatives travelers are willing to adopt worldwide in 2022, by region
Airbnb revenue worldwide 2017-2022
Revenue of Airbnb worldwide from 2017 to 2022 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Airbnb nights and experiences booked worldwide 2017-2022
Nights and experiences booked with Airbnb from 2017 to 2022 (in millions)
Technologies global hotels plan to implement in the next three years 2022
Technologies hotels are most likely to implement in the next three years worldwide as of 2022
Hotel technologies global consumers think would improve their future stay 2022
Must-have hotel technologies to create a more amazing stay in the future among travelers worldwide as of 2022
- Premium Statistic Travel and tourism revenue worldwide 2019-2028, by segment
- Premium Statistic Distribution of sales channels in the travel and tourism market worldwide 2017-2027
- Premium Statistic Inbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
- Premium Statistic Outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
Travel and tourism revenue worldwide 2019-2028, by segment
Revenue of the global travel and tourism market from 2019 to 2028, by segment (in billion U.S. dollars)
Distribution of sales channels in the travel and tourism market worldwide 2017-2027
Revenue share of sales channels of the travel and tourism market worldwide from 2017 to 2027
Inbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
Inbound tourism visitor growth worldwide in 2020, with a forecast until 2024, by region
Outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide 2020-2024, by region
Outbound tourism visitor growth worldwide in 2020, with a forecast until 2024, by region
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By Bastian Herre, Veronika Samborska and Max Roser
Tourism has massively increased in recent decades. Aviation has opened up travel from domestic to international. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of international visits had more than doubled since 2000.
Tourism can be important for both the travelers and the people in the countries they visit.
For visitors, traveling can increase their understanding of and appreciation for people in other countries and their cultures.
And in many countries, many people rely on tourism for their income. In some, it is one of the largest industries.
But tourism also has externalities: it contributes to global carbon emissions and can encroach on local environments and cultures.
On this page, you can find data and visualizations on the history and current state of tourism across the world.
Interactive Charts on Tourism
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Related sdgs, promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable ....
Tourism is one of the world's fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment, while being closely linked to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of many countries, especially developing countries. Maritime or ocean-related tourism, as well as coastal tourism, are for example vital sectors of the economy in small island developing States (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries (LDCs) (see also: The Potential of the Blue Economy report as well as the Community of Ocean Action on sustainable blue economy).
The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities".
Based on General assembly resolution 70/193, 2017 was declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development SDG target 8.9, aims to “by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. The importance of sustainable tourism is also highlighted in SDG target 12.b. which aims to “develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”.
Tourism is also identified as one of the tools to “by 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries” as comprised in SDG target 14.7.
In the Rio+20 outcome document The Future We want, sustainable tourism is defined by paragraph 130 as a significant contributor “to the three dimensions of sustainable development” thanks to its close linkages to other sectors and its ability to create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. Therefore, Member States recognize “the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities by supporting their local economies and the human and natural environment as a whole. ” In paragraph 130, Member States also “call for enhanced support for sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building in developing countries in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development”.
In paragraph 131, Member States “encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small- and medium-sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential”. In this regard, Member States also “underline the importance of establishing, where necessary, appropriate guidelines and regulations in accordance with national priorities and legislation for promoting and supporting sustainable tourism”.
In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg called for the promotion of sustainable tourism development, including non-consumptive and eco-tourism, in Chapter IV, paragraph 43 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
At the Johannesburg Summit, the launch of the “Sustainable Tourism – Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) initiative was announced. The initiative was inaugurated by the World Tourism Organization, in collaboration with UNCTAD, in order to develop sustainable tourism as a force for poverty alleviation.
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) last reviewed the issue of sustainable tourism in 2001, when it was acting as the Preparatory Committee for the Johannesburg Summit.
The importance of sustainable tourism was also mentioned in Agenda 21.
For more information and documents on this topic, please visit this link
UNWTO Annual Report 2015
2015 was a landmark year for the global community. In September, the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal agenda for planet and people. Among the 17 SDGs and 169 associated targets, tourism is explicitly featured in Goa...
UNWTO Annual Report 2016
In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This is a unique opportunity to devote a year to activities that promote the transformational power of tourism to help us reach a better future. This important cele...
Emerging Issues for Small Island Developing States
The 2012 UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Global Environmental Issues primarily identified emerging environmental issues and possible solutions on a global scale and perspective. In 2013, UNEP carried out a similar exercise to identify priority emerging environmental issues that are of concern to ...
Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom, We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for su...
15 Years of the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection: A Compilation of Good Practices
Although it is widely recognized that tourism is not the cause of child exploitation, it can aggravate the problem when parts of its infrastructure, such as transport networks and accommodation facilities, are exploited by child abusers for nefarious ends. Additionally, many other factors that contr...
Towards Measuring the Economic Value of Wildlife Watching Tourism in Africa
Set against the backdrop of the ongoing poaching crisis driven by a dramatic increase in the illicit trade in wildlife products, this briefing paper intends to support the ongoing efforts of African governments and the broader international community in the fight against poaching. Specifically, this...
Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012
Previous Caribbean assessments lumped data together into a single database regardless of geographic location, reef environment, depth, oceanographic conditions, etc. Data from shallow lagoons and back reef environments were combined with data from deep fore-reef environments and atolls. Geographic c...
Natural Resources Forum: Special Issue Tourism
The journal considers papers on all topics relevant to sustainable development. In addition, it dedicates series, issues and special sections to specific themes that are relevant to the current discussions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)....
Thailand: Supporting Sustainable Development in Thailand: A Geographic Clusters Approach
Market forces and government policies, including the Tenth National Development Plan (2007-2012), are moving Thailand toward a more geographically specialized economy. There is a growing consensus that Thailand’s comparative and competitive advantages lie in amenity services that have high reliance...
Road Map on Building a Green Economy for Sustainable Development in Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Grenada
This publication is the product of an international study led by the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs and the Ministry of Environment, Foreig...
Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal (NRF)
Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal, seeks to address gaps in current knowledge and stimulate relevant policy discussions, leading to the implementation of the sustainable development agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable...
UN Ocean Conference 2025
Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility “The ocean is fundamental to life on our planet and to our future. The ocean is an important source of the planet’s biodiversity and plays a vital role in the climate system and water cycle. The ocean provides a range of ecosystem services, supplies us with
UN Ocean Conference 2022
The UN Ocean Conference 2022, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, came at a critical time as the world was strengthening its efforts to mobilize, create and drive solutions to realize the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
58th Session of the Commission for Social Development – CSocD58
22nd general assembly of the united nations world tourism organization, world tourism day 2017 official celebration.
This year’s World Tourism Day, held on 27 September, will be focused on Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development. Celebrated in line with the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the Day will be dedicated to exploring the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Deve
World Tourism Day 2016 Official Celebration
Accessible Tourism for all is about the creation of environments that can cater for the needs of all of us, whether we are traveling or staying at home. May that be due to a disability, even temporary, families with small children, or the ageing population, at some point in our lives, sooner or late
4th Global Summit on City Tourism
The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Regional Council for Tourism of Marrakesh with support of the Government of Morroco are organizing the 4th Global Summit on City Tourism in Marrakesh, Morroco (9-10 December 2015). International experts in city tourism, representatives of city DMOs, of
2nd Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference
The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Ulsan Metropolitan City with support of the Government of the Republic of Korea are organizing the 2nd Euro-Asian Mountain Resorts Conference, in Ulsan, Republic of Korea (14 - 16 October 2015). Under the title “Paving the Way for a Bright Future for Mounta
21st General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization
Unwto regional conference enhancing brand africa - fostering tourism development.
Tourism is one of the Africa’s most promising sectors in terms of development, and represents a major opportunity to foster inclusive development, increase the region’s participation in the global economy and generate revenues for investment in other activities, including environmental preservation.
- January 2017 International Year of Tourism In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector that can contribute to the SDGs.
- January 2015 Targets 8.9, 12 b,14.7 The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits Member States, through Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.9 to “devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. The importance of sustainable tourism, as a driver for jobs creation and the promotion of local culture and products, is also highlighted in Sustainable Development Goal target 12.b. Tourism is also identified as one of the tools to “increase [by 2030] the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries”, through Sustainable Development Goals Target 14.7.
- January 2012 Future We Want (Para 130-131) Sustainable tourism is defined as a significant contributor “to the three dimensions of sustainable development” thanks to its close linkages to other sectors and its ability to create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities. Therefore, Member States recognize “the need to support sustainable tourism activities and relevant capacity-building that promote environmental awareness, conserve and protect the environment, respect wildlife, flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and cultural diversity, and improve the welfare and livelihoods of local communities” as well as to “encourage the promotion of investment in sustainable tourism, including eco-tourism and cultural tourism, which may include creating small and medium sized enterprises and facilitating access to finance, including through microcredit initiatives for the poor, indigenous peoples and local communities in areas with high eco-tourism potential”.
- January 2009 Roadmap for Recovery UNWTO announced in March 2009 the elaboration of a Roadmap for Recovery to be finalized by UNWTO’s General Assembly, based on seven action points. The Roadmap includes a set of 15 recommendations based on three interlocking action areas: resilience, stimulus, green economy aimed at supporting the tourism sector and the global economy.
- January 2008 Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria represent the minimum requirements any tourism business should observe in order to ensure preservation and respect of the natural and cultural resources and make sure at the same time that tourism potential as tool for poverty alleviation is enforced. The Criteria are 41 and distributed into four different categories: 1) sustainability management, 2) social and economic 3) cultural 4) environmental.
- January 2003 WTO becomes a UN specialized body By Resolution 453 (XV), the Assembly agreed on the transformation of the WTO into a United Nations specialized body. Such transformation was later ratified by the United Nations General Assembly with the adoption of Resolution A/RES/58/232.
- January 2003 1st Int. Conf. on Climate Change and Tourism The conference was organized in order to gather tourism authorities, organizations, businesses and scientists to discuss on the impact that climate change can have on the tourist sector. The event took place from 9 till 11 April 2003 in Djerba, Tunisia.
- January 2002 World Ecotourism Summit Held in May 2002, in Quebec City, Canada, the Summit represented the most important event in the framework of the International Year of Ecosystem. The Summit identified as main themes: ecotourism policy and planning, regulation of ecotourism, product development, marketing and promotion of ecotourism and monitoring costs and benefits of ecotourism.
- January 1985 Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code At the World Tourism Organization Sixth Assembly held in Sofia in 1985, the Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code were adopted, setting out the rights and duties of tourists and host populations and formulating policies and action for implementation by states and the tourist industry.
- January 1982 Acapulco Document Adopted in 1982, the Acapulco Document acknowledges the new dimension and role of tourism as a positive instrument towards the improvement of the quality of life for all peoples, as well as a significant force for peace and international understanding. The Acapulco Document also urges Member States to elaborate their policies, plans and programmes on tourism, in accordance with their national priorities and within the framework of the programme of work of the World Tourism Organization.
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What is tourism?
Tourism is the business of providing tours and services for tourists. Tourism is a service industry which employs over 2 million people in Britain.
Tourism is an industry that drives people to travel for leisure and recreation. The growth of tourism has had a dramatic effect on many countries – not just economically, but also environmentally and socially. These impacts have been both positive and negative.
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Introduction to tourism in britain, how tourism is structured in britain.
Britain’s tourism industry is a dynamic affiliation of public and private sector organisations – such as small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), international private businesses (for example airlines and large hotel chains), and destination organisations at local and regional levels.
Domestic tourism is the core of businesses revenue (generally at least 80%, particularly outside London), with demand peaking during the UK school holidays, especially during Easter and summer. Dealing with the demands of international visitors requires specialist knowledge, cultural understanding and investment.
We (VisitBritain/VisitEngland) are a non-departmental public body, funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) through a grant-in-aid (GIA). Scroll down to find out more about our role, or visit the Who we are and What we do pages to discover our mission, activities and teams.
VisitBritain is responsible for marketing Britain internationally. Tourism is devolved in Britain, with England , Scotland and Wales each having their own national tourist boards. In addition, London has its own promotional agency. Read on to discover how we work closely with all of these organisations.
Devolved organisations for tourism in the UK
VisitEngland is the national tourism organisation for England, responsible for developing England’s visitor economy. For more details, see the section on How tourism is structured in England, below.
Visit Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government's tourism team, within the Department for Heritage, having taken over the former Wales Tourist Board (WTB). It is responsible for the promotion and development of tourism in Wales.
VisitScotland is the national tourism organisation for Scotland; it exists to support the development of the tourism industry, market Scotland as a destination and provide leadership and direction for the sector.
Tourism Northern Ireland is part of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI). It is responsible for developing tourism, supporting the industry and marketing Northern Ireland as a tourist destination.
Tourism and the UK Government
The UK Government sets the overall strategy, policy and objectives for tourism. The Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is Rt Hon Lucy Frazer MP , who is responsible to the UK Parliament for our activities. The Minister with responsibility for tourism is Rt Hon Sir John Whittingdale OBE MP , who took over the role from Julia Lopez MP when she commenced maternity leave in May 2023.
VisitBritain is a key partner on the GREAT campaign , the UK Government’s ambitious international promotional campaign to inspire and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK.
Government organisations that impact tourism in Britain
Department for Culture, Media and Sport Our parent department, responsible for tourism policy and the funding of tourism promotion by us, as well as many of the key stimuli for tourism – such as museums, the creative industries and the arts.
HM Treasury Decision-making department on funding for the overseas promotion of Britain, and policies which impact international tourism – for example Air Passenger Duty, VAT and business rates.
Home Office Impacts ease of travel to Britain through visas and border controls. Parent department for the UK Visas and Immigration agency. Also responsible for other matters affecting tourism, including licensing.
Department for Transport Impacts ease of access to Britain through aviation and shipping policies, and the UK domestic transport system (road and rail).
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Our partner in the GREAT Britain campaign with the majority of our overseas staff located in FCDO offices. Tourism is a component of public diplomacy and soft-power. Parent department of the British Council.
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Our partner in the GREAT Britain campaign and, with the Department for Communities and Local Government, responsible for Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Regional Growth Fund. Parent department of Department for International Trade.
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Responsible for housing supply and home ownership, local authorities, local growth and public services. The government will continue to deliver Devolution Deals as proposed in the Levelling Up White Paper, providing greater freedoms and flexibilities at a local level, to enable councils to work effectively to improve the Visitor Economy in their area. In some areas, these are being delivered through Combined Authorities.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Responsible for business, industrial strategy, science, research and innovation, energy, clean growth and climate change.
How tourism is structured in England
In many areas of England, a single entity coordinates tourism – commonly known as a Destination Management Organisation (DMO). They come in a variety of sizes and forms, and handle everything from management to marketing. They work with a wide range of local stakeholders, including the tourism business community, local authorities, business improvement districts, transport operators, visitor information providers, landowners, cultural bodies, retail associations and community groups.
In a dynamic new initiative, we are also creating a nationwide network of Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs) to lead, manage and market their destinations, working at a strategic level. The LVEP programme is the implementation of the de Bois independent review of DMOs, in line with the UK Government’s response.
Since 2011, in response to government policy on local economic growth, 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have also been established. These are responsible for driving economic growth in their areas and working in partnership with key sectors and stakeholders.
Destination Management Organisations (DMOs)
England’s destinations are disparate and multifaceted, host to numerous stakeholders with their own specific needs. The DMOs responsible for the local visitor economy can also be varied: they might be public sector bodies such as local authorities with definitive boundaries, private companies or partnerships between the public and private sector.
Well-managed destinations are more likely to sustain investment, business growth and employment without a detrimental effect on the environment or local population. The best-managed destinations are also likely to attract inward investment across a broader range of sectors, as well as value-added jobs and new talent. This makes them great places to live, work and visit.
From promotional activity to research and insights, we help destinations grow their economies through tourism. Of the various tools, the most effective are Destination Management Plans and Tourism Growth Plans , which create an integrated and long-term approach to destination management.
Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs)
Following the de Bois review of the structure, funding and function of DMOs, we are creating an additional portfolio of nationally supported, strategic and high-performing Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs), which represent their destination at local and national level.
These LVEPs lead, market and manage tourism within their area, working in partnership with other destination organisations, local government and businesses. They provide strong local leadership and governance, and deliver robust destination management and planning – ensuring all key public and private sector partners are integrated into the development of the plan and its implementation.
At VisitEngland, we provide targeted support, advice and guidance; we expect there will eventually be around 40 LVEPs across England.
Learn more about Local Visitor Economy Partnerships .
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs)
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are voluntary collaborations between local authorities and businesses.
They were first formed in 2011, and there are currently 39 LEPs in operation. Their primary function is to determine economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within local areas. Where tourism is a recognised tool for driving growth, they work on specific projects and initiatives in partnership with DMOs.
All LEPs have developed a Strategic Economic Plan and European Investment Strategy, which sets out priorities for how their government funding will be targeted to deliver growth and jobs. This funding is used to leverage further public and private sector investment into their areas.
LEPs play an important role in the growth of the local visitor economy by encouraging and reducing barriers to inward investment, developing infrastructure projects, supporting businesses and up-skilling the local population.
Learn more about Local Enterprise Partnerships .
Government plans and initiatives to support the tourism sector
Alamy Stock Photo
Tourism Recovery Plan: rebuilding post COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on Britain’s tourism industry: explore how we are working to rebuild the sector , recover trip volume and spend, and establish a clear policy direction for the future.
Shutterstock / Richie Chan
Tourism Action Plan: boosting travel and leisure in Britain
Learn how we have contributed to the UK Government’s Tourism Action Plan – which focuses on the sector landscape, industry skills, common-sense regulations, public transport and visitor experience.
Tourism Sector Deal: a “game changer for the economy”
Praised by leading industry figures, the Tourism Sector Deal aims to reinvigorate the industry by creating 10,000 more apprenticeship starts per year, investing £1 million in recruitment and increasing global market share.
Resources for students
Calling all students. You can access a wealth of information about tourism in Britain, and learn more about our mission to market Britain overseas in the Student resources section.
Tourism industry groups and bodies
VisitBritain chairs a number of industry-leading groups and bodies, including:
British Tourism Industry Group (BTIG)
BTIG is our (VisitBritain’s) main stakeholder group, bringing together senior government representatives, industry and tourism bodies to discuss issues relevant to the industry. By facilitating a dialogue between us at VisitBritain and the wider tourism industry, BTIG allows us to fulfil our statutory role as a trusted advisor to the Government on tourism matters. The group is chaired by our CEO, Patricia Yates.
Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group (TIER)
TIER is a small group of key tourism industry organisations and government representatives, and is facilitated by us. It develops plans for crisis scenarios, as well as managing the industry’s response to specific crises. Group members include the Association of British Travel Agents, UKinbound, UK Hospitality, Britain’s national tourist boards, British Airways and the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.
Discover where to go in Britain with our guide to the best places to visit, things to do and getting around.
Explore different regions through our destination guides, or plan weekend breaks and longer holidays.
Useful associations, clubs and groups
Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Trade association for UK travel agents and tour operators in Britain.
Association of Independent Museums (AIM) Represents the UK’s independent museums, galleries and heritage organisations.
Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) Represents the UK’s most popular, iconic and important tourism attractions.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) The voice of brewers and pubs – of all sizes – across Britain.
BALPPA (British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions) Represents the UK’s leisure parks, piers, zoos and static attractions sector.
British Destinations Trade association for major UK destination-based tourism interests.
British Educational Travel Association (BETA) Represents youth, student and educational travel-related producers and suppliers.
British Guild of Tourist Guides The national membership organisation for Blue Badge guides across Britain.
British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) Professional nationwide body for Britain’s licensed retail trade.
The Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) The world’s oldest and largest club for all forms of leisure camping.
The Caravan and Motorhome Club Provides services and activities for caravan, motor caravan and trailer tent owners.
Heritage Railway Association (HRA) Represents heritage railways and preservation groups in the UK and Ireland.
Historic Houses Association Represents privately owned historic houses, castles and gardens.
HOSPA (Hospitality Professionals Association) Supports hospitality specialist leaders in networking, learning and development.
Institute of Hospitality (IoH) Supports managers working in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries.
CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) Professional development body for the UK’s sport and physical activity sector.
Institute of Tourist Guiding The standard-setting body for Blue Badge tourist guides and the guiding sector.
Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Represents individuals employed in the travel and tourism industry.
Local Government Association The voice of local government within the national arena.
National Parks UK Representing national parks throughout the UK.
Tourism Alliance Lobbying body for all businesses involved in the delivery of tourism.
Tourism Management Institute (TMI) Professional institute for people working within destinations.
Tourism Society Forum for professionals working in all sectors of the tourism industry.
UKHospitality Represents the hospitality industry, identifying key issues and lobbying.
UKinbound The trade association that represents the UK’s export tourism businesses.
Explore our curated information for...
Everything you need to inspire your clients. Discover new products, experiences and itinerary ideas – plus useful resources and the latest market insights.
Reach new customers and increase your profitability. Drive sales with our tools, events and training, find out about quality assessment and get expert guidance from the England Business Advice Hub.
Build sustainable and valuable growth. Learn about England’s new destination management structure, find expert advice, and boost your proposition with our training and toolkits.
Access resources for business events to support your business development and event strategy. Discover England, Scotland and Wales' business event offering for your next conference, incentive, exhibition or event.
Discover our media centres, image and video library and latest press releases, plus contacts for our corporate and consumer press teams.
Studying tourism at school, college or university? We’ve gathered essential resources and data for students of tourism, plus information about our internships.
Definition of 'tourist information'
Tourist information in british english.
tourist information office in British English
Examples of 'tourist information' in a sentence tourist information, trends of tourist information.
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What is health tourism and why is it growing?
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Health tourism is a growing trend around the world. But what is health tourism and why is it so popular? Read on to find out…
What is health tourism?
The growth of health tourism, why is health tourism important, health tourism activities, health tourism- further reading.
Health tourism is a tricky one to define. It is more of an umbrella term, encompassing both wellness tourism and medical tourism. These two types of tourism may seem quite different, but they both fundamentally have health at their core. So, health tourism can be defined as follows:
Health tourism covers those types of tourism which have as a primary motivation, the contribution to physical, mental and/or spiritual health through medical and wellness-based activities which increase the capacity of individuals to satisfy their own needs and function better as individuals in their environment and society.
This definition comes from an executive summary published by the World Tourism Organization and the European Travel Commission in 2018. As you can see, the exploration of health tourism in itself is a relatively new idea. The two organisations also provided the following definitions of wellness and medical tourism respectively:
Wellness tourism is a type of tourism activity which aims to improve and balance all of the main domains of human life including physical, mental, emotional, occupational, intellectual and spiritual. The primary motivation for the wellness tourist is to engage in preventive, proactive, lifestyle enhancing activities such as fitness, healthy eating, relaxation, pampering and healing treatments.
Medical tourism is a type of tourism activity which involves the use of evidence-based medical healing resources and services (both invasive and non-invasive). This may include diagnosis, treatment, cure, prevention and rehabilitation.
There are many reasons as to why health tourism as an industry is growing. People are keener than ever to put their health and wellbeing first – especially now we are 2 years into a global pandemic. As a population , we are more aware now than ever before how our health can hang in the balance. And just knowing this, coupled with all of the other changes brought about by the pandemic as well as the general ease of accessing information, mean that life is generally more stressful. So it is no wonder that we are looking for wellness trips to calm and soothe ourselves – and to affordable and accessible medical procedures that may be unavailable at home…
The UK sees health tourism as a distinct and negative phenomenon. The media uses the term to refer to people who travel to the UK deliberately in order to access free medical treatment from the National Health Service. This is seen as leeching off the state, and as you can imagine is particularly frowned upon by many in the country. However, reports show that the government estimates ‘health tourism’ costs the NHS only £300m annually – or 0.3% of their budget! But due to this, new laws are in place to charge people who do not ‘ordinarily reside’ in the UK if they use the NHS.
Health tourism is important for many reasons. Looking at it from an economical point of view, it provides a boost to local economies when people travel to a destination for any reason. So heading to a summer yoga retreat in Santorini or getting some dental work done in Turkey is contributing to the local economy. And it’s not just the cost of your treatment or stay – you will also purchase food and drink, maybe even souvenirs. You might extend your trip and do some sightseeing with local tour companies too. All of these things mean a cash injection for the area and its inhabitants.
Linked to this is that health tourism often provides a cheaper opportunity to do something you were going to do at home. Travelling for optional surgery or going to a small spa in a remote village might be much cheaper than doing so in your home country. In this way, health tourism actually provides people with a way to save money.
Health tourism is also important as it is a reflection of my earlier point – people are taking more of an interest in their health. Regardless of whether it’s wellness tourism or medical tourism, health tourists are travelling with the primary focus of improving their mind, body or life in some way. This is obviously a positive factor for society.
As health tourism combines wellness and medical tourism, the activities it involves are anything which falls under these categories. Essentially, anything you do as a tourist which is aimed at improving your health is classed as health tourism. See a list of activities below:
- Cosmetic/plastic surgery
- Bariatric surgery
- Fertility treatment
- Eye surgery
- Ears, nose and throat
- Organ transplants
- Alternative medication access
- Yoga retreats
- Writing retreats
- Meditation centres
- Weight loss or healthy eating retreats
- Sensory deprivation
Popular health tourism destinations
There are many destinations you can visit as a health tourist. Your home country may also be a health tourism location for people from other countries. It is all contextual and subjective, depending on what exactly you are looking to get out of your trip…
This is a popular place for health tourism – particularly when it comes to wellness. With its geothermal pools, breathtaking scenery, infinity pools and mountain hiking areas the options are endless! A very popular part of Iceland for wellness activities is Myvatn Nature Baths, where the alkaline in the water has a lot of minerals and is incredibly beneficial for the treatment of skin conditions. Because of this, it can also be seen as a destination which works for medical purposes – making it a dead cert for health tourism.
Ever heard of the saying ‘Turkey teeth’? It doesn’t come from nowhere! The reason this term exists is because many people (particularly younger people, celebrities, and influencers) flock to Turkey to have dental treatment done for cosmetic purposes. They want straighter, whiter and brighter teeth. Something like this might cost double or triple in the UK, for example, than what it would in Turkey. Plus, visitors get to combine their trip with sun, sea and sand!
India is a big one for health tourism as it has a big wellness tourism industry combined with many options for medical tourists to have cheaper procedures done. Being such a spiritual country, it is no wonder that people come here for wellness purposes. The Indian government readily promotes the country as a hub for yoga, Sidha, naturopathy and Ayurveda – citing the ‘spiritual philosophy that has been integral to the Indian way of life’. There are retreats right across the country, particularly in countryside areas but also in the bustling cities which mean it works for both primary AND secondary wellness tourism.
Primary wellness tourism is when someone’s whole trip is focused on wellness; it is their sole reason for travel, and the major component of their trip. Every aspect of their holiday is tailored to wellness. Secondary wellness tourism is when general tourists incorporate some aspect of wellness (a massage on the beach during an all-inclusive Mexican vacation) into their holiday.
India is also a huge destination when it comes to medical tourism. Locations such as Chennai, Maharashtra and Kerala are really popular for medical procedures, with costs being about one tenth of those in either the UK or the USA. Medical tourists travel to India for alternative medicine, cardiac procedures, bone-marrow transplants, eye surgery and hip replacements in particular.
Beautiful Hawaii is like one big spa in itself. Primary wellness tourists visit here in droves to experience the therapeutic salt water, the laid back atmosphere, the glorious sunshine and the traditional practices of omilomi massage and pohaku (hot stone treatment). With scenery that will leave you lost for words, it is one of the most relaxing places in the world which is why wellness tourism is so big here – and so, by extension, is health tourism.
This stunning country has cutting edge technology and beautiful spaces to relax – making it ideal for health tourism encompassing both wellness and medical tourism. People tend to head here for small elective surgeries, choosing to get the procedure done for a lower price and recover somewhere beautiful! And there are so many options for wellness tourists, too. From Thai massage parlours to serene meditation retreats on beaches where the sunsets are bright pink and shiny gold, you couldn’t ask for somewhere more suited to a relaxing wellness trip.
If you enjoyed this article on health tourism, I am sure that you will like these too-
- What is birth tourism and is it legal?
- What is special interest tourism and why is it so popular?
- What is alternative tourism and why is it growing so fast?
- What is dental tourism and why does it exist?
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As society progresses, the tourism sector, much like many other sectors, needs to transform to serve as a catalyst for prosperity at a universal scale. Enhancing the well-being of individuals, safeguarding the natural environment, stimulating economic advancement, and fostering international harmony are key goals that are the fundamental essence of UN Tourism. The organization takes on the role of driving a sustainable force that is now central to many economies
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"UN tourism is leading the way forward in growing investments into the tourism sector. We serve as the bridge between investors and destinations, and we guide investments where they will have the biggest impact in making tourism more resilient, inclusive and sustainable."
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili UN Tourism Secretary-General
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UN Tourism News 74
Bringing the full power of Copilot to more people and businesses
Jan 15, 2024 | Yusuf Mehdi - Executive Vice President, Consumer Chief Marketing Officer
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As we kick off a new year, we’re thrilled to see people increasingly using and loving Microsoft Copilot for work and life. Our goal is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more by bringing Copilot, the everyday AI companion, to millions of people around the world. We have reached another milestone in this mission with more than 5 billion chats and more than 5 billion images to date. As Copilot continues to earn preference and usage, we’re receiving valuable feedback on how to improve. Two examples: First, there are a set of Copilot power users like creators, researchers, programmers and others who want more rapid access to the very latest we have to offer. And second, our Microsoft 365 customers want access to Copilot in the Microsoft 365 apps for personal use.
To help address those needs, today we’re delighted to announce more options for power users, creators and anyone looking to take their Copilot experience to the next level. This begins with the introduction of Copilot Pro, a new premium subscription for individuals that provides a higher tier of service for AI capabilities, brings Copilot AI capabilities to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers, and new capabilities, such as the ability to create Copilot GPTs. We are also announcing the general availability of our Copilot app for iOS and Android phones. Finally, we’re excited to bring Copilot for Microsoft 365 to more commercial customers by expanding the availability to businesses of all sizes, including small- and medium-sized businesses, starting today.
Introducing Copilot Pro: Supercharge your creativity and productivity
Today we’re announcing the availability of Copilot Pro, a new subscription that delivers the most advanced features and capabilities of Microsoft Copilot to individuals looking to supercharge their Copilot experience. Whether you need advanced help with writing, coding, designing, researching or learning, Copilot Pro brings greater performance, productivity and creativity.
Copilot Pro provides:
- A single AI experience that runs across your devices, understanding your context on the web, on your PC, across your apps and soon on your phone to bring the right skills to you when you need them.
- Access to Copilot in Word, Excel [i] , PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote on PC, Mac and iPad for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers.
- Priority access to the very latest models – starting today with OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo. With Copilot Pro you’ll have access to GPT-4 Turbo during peak times for faster performance and, coming soon, the ability to toggle between models to optimize your experience how you choose.
- Enhanced AI image creation with Image Creator from Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator) – ensuring it’s faster with 100 boosts per day while bringing you more detailed image quality as well as landscape image format.
- The ability to build your own Copilot GPT – a customized Copilot tailored for a specific topic – in our new Copilot GPT Builder (coming soon) with just a simple set of prompts.
You can subscribe to Copilot Pro today for $20 per month/per user.
Expanding Copilot for Microsoft 365 to businesses of all sizes
While Copilot Pro is our best experience for individuals, Copilot for Microsoft 365 is our best experience for organizations. Copilot for Microsoft 365 became generally available for enterprises in November. As we said earlier this year, 40% of the Fortune 100 participated in our Early Access Program, and since GA for enterprise, customers like Visa, BP, Honda, Pfizer, and partners like Accenture, KPMG and PwC are already using Copilot — which means thousands of people across industries and sectors have started working in new ways, with an AI-powered copilot at their side. Today we are excited to announce that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now available for organizations of all sizes — with no seat minimum. We are also enabling our partners to help every business become AI-powered.
Today’s updates include:
- Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now generally available for small businesses with Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Business Standard Customers can purchase between one and 300 seats for $30 per person per month.
- We’re removing the 300-seat purchase minimum for commercial plans and making Copilot available for Office 365 E3 and E5 customers (A Microsoft 365 license was previously required).
- Commercial customers can now purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 through our amazing network of Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider partners .
- Last month, we also announced eligibility of Copilot for Microsoft 365 for education faculty and staff.
Copilot for Microsoft 365 is even more powerful for organizations because it works across your entire universe of data at work — including emails, meetings, chats, documents and more, plus the web. With natural language prompts like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy,” Copilot can generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails and chat threads. Copilot is also integrated into the apps millions of people use every day, including Microsoft Teams (which is not available with Copilot Pro). Copilot jump-starts your creativity in Word, analyzes data in Excel, designs presentations in PowerPoint, triages your Outlook inbox, summarizes meetings in Teams – whether you attended or not – and so much more. Backed by enterprise-grade security, privacy, and compliance, and Microsoft’s Customer Copyright Commitment , we can’t wait to see how businesses of all sizes achieve more using AI. Learn more on the Microsoft 365 blog .
As we expand the availability of Copilot to even more people, we continue to offer a great free experience for anyone interested in exploring how Copilot can transform productivity and creativity using AI. Today we’re excited to share additional updates to Copilot. You can get started by visiting copilot.microsoft.com.
- Copilot GPTs – Today we’re announcing Copilot GPTs. Copilot GPTs let you customize the behavior of Microsoft Copilot on a topic that is of particular interest to you. A handful of Copilot GPTs will start to roll out beginning today with specific purposes such as fitness, travel, cooking and more. Soon, Copilot Pro users will also be able to create their own Copilot GPTs using Copilot GPT Builder. Stay tuned for more on this experience as we get closer to availability.
- Copilot mobile app – The Copilot mobile app is now available for Android and iOS. The Copilot app gives you the power of Copilot on the go as your Copilot queries and chats will roam across your phone and PC. The Copilot mobile app includes the same capabilities of Copilot on your PC including access to GPT-4, Dall-E 3 for image creation, and the ability to use images from your phone when chatting with Copilot. Download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store .
- Copilot in the Microsoft 365 mobile app – We’re also adding Copilot to the Microsoft 365 mobile app for Android and iOS for individuals with a Microsoft account. This new feature is rolling out over the next month. Access Copilot right inside the app and easily export the content you create to a Word or PDF document. Download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store .
With today’s announcements, we continue to bring Copilot to more customers with more options that work for them. Whether you’re looking to get started with Copilot for free, want to supercharge your Copilot experience with Copilot Pro or are an SMB or Enterprise customer looking to increase your productivity in new ways with Copilot for Microsoft 365, there’s a Copilot experience for everyone.
[i] Currently in preview, English only
Tags: AI , Copilot Pro , Microsoft 365 Copilot
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