The birth of modern tourism is rooted in the recent history of Europe. The emergence of middle and upper classes combined with holiday time incorporated into the workplace together fueled by the industrial revolution contributed greatly to the emergence of the industry. The terms tourist and tourism appeared less than a century ago and referred to people traveling for periods over a day at a time. Previous to the 19th century, tourism was primarily reserved for royalty and privileged families and was generally for cultural reasons. In this article, we shall see how important Britain is in the history of the industry.
Britain was the first country to modernize through heavy industry. This led to leisure time and, consequently, the leisure industry. People had time on their hands travel to for cultural, climate and health pursuits. Gradually, the working masses were able to plan for leisure like the business owning class. The British began touring the rest of Europe eventually finding and developing resorts to become popular destinations. This is rather quaintly evident in the legacy of holiday resort names scattered about Europe. The Promenade des Anglais of the French Riviera is the first and best established resort with the esplanade bearing its name. Scattered about Europe are hotels with names like the Hotel Bristol, the Hotel Carlton or the Hotel Majestic and more. The English certainly are a proud bunch, to say the least.
The British popularized many winter sports both on island as well as abroad. In the middle 1800s, many villages in Switzerland came under entrepreneurial attention to provide ski resorts for the new leisure classes. Notable is the first packaged winter vacation in 1903 to Adelboden in Switzerland. Many sports including boxing, football, rugby became organized by the British. The attraction to sports has never stopped growing worldwide and has always been a reason to travel as a tourist for an event.
In comes mass travel with the development of transportation. Railways become the most popular way to visit seasides and other countries. Technology allowed greater numbers of people to make the most of their new-found leisure time – the holiday. On July 5th, 1841, the British founder of modern mass tourism, Thomas Cook, chartered the first train to take a group of campaigners going from Leicester to Loughborough some twenty miles away. Seeing potential for business development, he became the first tour operator and the rest is history.
Domestic tourism flourished, naturally, in the beginning until foreign travel became in reach of more of the masses. Throughout all of Europe, resort towns sprang up to accommodate the ever increasing demand of growing tourism. European river cruises came as a result of tourist charms with the many splendid rivers throughout the Continent. It is really about the pursuit of pleasure, indeed.
For many countries today around the world their economies became dependent on the influx and commerce of international visitors. Higher speed trains and the advent of planes exponentially increased the opportunity for the masses to explore this world and its peoples. And we can thank the British for their persistence and endeavors for their contribution to the burgeoning tourist industry.
Images Resource: Flickr