The origins of the tourism industry are difficult to discern. The core elements of ease of travel and human curiosity create but also inhibit tourism. Transportation during the Roman empire was made possible by an extensive network of roads. These roads provided access throughout the empire. The curiosity to travel appears to be for official purposes only and not for recreation and leisure.
The tourism industry depends on the following sectors: transportation, accommodations, food and beverage, theme parks, national parks, adventure tourism, cruise lines, and gaming. Each sector is a major industry that has expanded to meet the needs and wants of the tourist.
Tourism careers are varied, specialized, and related to serving the tourist. An individual developing a career would begin with an entry-level service position where they could focus on understanding the tourist wants and needs. Adding a college educational component would be the next step. Finally, a continuing ability to be of service and enjoying helping the traveler is the core attitude.
Tourism organizations are found in all levels of society. The premier international tourism organization is UNWTO. This organization seeks to promote sustainable tourism practices and make tourism a vehicle for peace. Nationally, the NTO (National Travel and Tourism Office) is a resource for tourism data and information and lobbies and represents tourism interests to Congress. Local tourism agencies are usually funded in whole or in part by local governments. These local agencies are generally known as CVB’s
The tourism dollar is pursued by almost every country. The export that tourism creates is a substantial contributor to many third-world countries’ GDP. There is little to no impact from tourism on the social and cultural fabric of an industrial state or nation. But, the impact of the tourism dollar on the society and culture of a third world country may substantially harm the society and culture if the multiplier effect is limited and the leakage is great.
The classical direction of ecotourism or the preservation and sustainability of a tourism venue has expanded and is termed Geotourism and includes the preservations of the local society and culture of a tourism venue. Geotourism continues to expand and influence the development of sustainable practices to preserve the attributes of a tourism venue as well as the society for future generations.
With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), access for the disabled traveler has attracted more attention from tourism operators. Realizing the spending power of the disabled has motivated tourism operators to change their tourism offerings by providing better access to their venues and expanding the customer service talents of their staff to be more aware and supportive of the disabled traveler.
United Nations World Tourism Organization
National Travel and Tourism Office
Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Bureau
Sustainable tourism in Belize
American with Disabilities
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs