2000 years before Christ, in India and Mesopotamia
Trade travel has been an important feature since the beginning of civilization. The port of Lothal was an important trade center between the Indus Valley civilization and the Sumerian civilization.
600 BC and on
The oldest form of leisure tourism dates back to the empires of Babylon and Egypt. A museum of historical antiquities was open to the public in Babylon. The Egyptians held many religious festivals that attracted devotees and many people who flocked to cities to see works of art and famous buildings.
In India, as elsewhere, kings traveled to build empires. Brahmins and ordinary people traveled for religious reasons. Thousands of Brahmins and ordinary people flocked to Sarnath and Sravasti to be greeted by the unmistakable smile of the Enlightened One, the Buddha.
500 BC, Greek civilization
Greek tourists traveled to sites of healing gods. The Greeks also enjoyed their religious festivals which became more and more a pursuit of pleasure and, in particular, of sport. Athens had become an important site for travelers visiting major landmarks such as the Parthenon. Inns were established in large cities and seaports to meet the needs of travelers. Courtesans were the main entertainment offered.
This era also saw the birth of travel writing. Herodotus was the world’s first travel writer. Tourist guides also made their appearance in the 4th century covering destinations such as Athens, Sparta, and Troy. During this period, advertisements in the form of signs directing people to the inns are also known.
The Roman Empire
With no external borders between England and Syria, and with seas safe from piracy due to Roman patrols, the conditions that favored travel had arrived. First-class roads along with inns (forerunners of modern motels) promoted the growth of travel. The Romans traveled to Sicily, Greece, Rhodes, Troy, and Egypt. From 300 AD, trips to the Holy Land also became very popular. The Romans introduced their guides (itineraries), listing hotels with symbols to identify quality.
Second homes were built by the wealthy near Rome, occupied mainly during the spring social season. The most fashionable resorts are located around the Bay of Naples. Naples attracted retirees and intellectuals, Cumas attracted fashion, while Baiae attracted the tourist from the market below, standing out for his bustle, drunkenness and singing throughout the night.
Travel and tourism would never reach a similar status until modern times.
In the middle Ages
Traveling became difficult and dangerous as people traveled for business or out of a sense of obligation and duty.
Adventurers sought fame and fortune through travel. Europeans tried to discover a sea route to India for commercial purposes and in this way they discovered America and explored parts of Africa. The strolling players and minstrels made a living by performing while traveling. Missionaries, saints, etc. traveled to spread the sacred word.
Pleasure travel in India was introduced by the Mughals. The Mughal kings built lavish palaces and charming gardens in places of natural and scenic beauty (for example, Jehangir traveled to Kashmir drawn by its beauty.
Trips for empire building and pilgrimage were a common feature.
The Grand Tour
From the beginning of the 17th century, a new form of tourism developed as a direct result of the Renaissance. Under the reign of Elizabeth 1, young people seeking positions at court were encouraged to travel to the mainland to finish their education. Later, it was customary for the education of the knights to be completed with a ‘Grand Tour’ accompanied by a tutor and lasting three or more years. Although seemingly educational, men seeking pleasure traveled to enjoy the life and culture of Paris, Venice, or Florence. By the end of the 18th century, the custom had become institutionalized in the nobility. Gradually, pleasure trips displaced educational trips. The advent of the Napoleonic wars inhibited travel for some 30 years and caused the decline of the Grand Tour custom.
The development of spas
Spas grew in popularity in the 17th century in Britain and a little later on the European continent as awareness of the therapeutic qualities of mineral water increased. Taking the cure in the spa it quickly took on the nature of a status symbol. The resorts changed character as pleasure became the motivation for visits. They became an important center of social life for high society.
In the 19th century they were gradually replaced by the spa.
The spas of sun, sand and sea
Seawater was associated with health benefits. Therefore, the first visitors drank it and did not bathe in it. At the beginning of the 18th century, small fishing resorts emerged in England for visitors who drank and dived in the sea water. With the overcrowding of inland spas, the new seaside resorts grew in popularity. The introduction of steamboat services in the 19th century brought more resorts to the circuit. The spa gradually became a social meeting point
Role of the industrial revolution in promoting travel in the West
Rapid urbanization due to industrialization caused massive immigration into the cities. These people were drawn to travel to escape their surroundings to places of natural beauty, often to the countryside where they had come from a routine change from physically and psychologically stressful work to a leisurely pace in the countryside.
Travel highlights in the 19th century.
The advent of the railroad initially catalyzed business travel and later leisure travel. Gradually, special trains were rented so that they would only take pleasure trips to their destinations.
· Tour packages organized by entrepreneurs like Thomas Cook.
European countries allowed themselves many business trips often to their colonies to buy raw materials and sell finished products.
The invention of photography acted as a tool to enhance status and promoted travel abroad.
· The formation of the first hotel chains; started by the railway companies that established large railway terminal hotels.
Spas began to develop different images of hikers, elite, for gambling.
Other types of destinations: ski resorts, mountain resorts, mountaineering places, etc.
Technological development in steamships promoted travel between North America and Europe.
The Suez Canal opened direct sea routes to India and the Far East.
The cult of the guide followed the development of photography.
Tourism in the 20th century
World War I gave countries first-hand experience and first sparked a sense of curiosity about international travel among underprivileged sectors. The large scale of migration to the US meant many voyages across the Atlantic. Private motoring began to encourage domestic travel in Europe and the West. The seaside resort became an annual family holiday destination in Britain and grew in popularity in other western countries. Hotels proliferated in these destinations.
The birth of air travel and beyond
The wars increased interest in international travel. This interest took the form of mass tourism by the aviation industry. The aircraft surplus and the growth of private airlines contributed to the expansion of air travel. The plane had become comfortable, faster, and increasingly cheaper for trips abroad. With the introduction of the Boeing 707 aircraft in 1958, the era of air travel for the masses had arrived. The beginning of chartered flights boosted the package travel market and led to the establishment of organized mass tourism. The Boeing 747, a 400-seat plane, dramatically reduced the cost of travel. The seaside resorts of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Caribbean were the initial hot spots of mass tourism.
A corresponding growth in the hotel industry led to the establishment of global chains. Tourism also began to diversify as people began flocking to alternative destinations in the 1970s. Nepal and India received a multitude of tourists drawn by the Hare Krishna movement and transcendental meditation. The beginning of individual travel in significant volume only occurred in the 1980s. Air travel also led to continued growth in business travel, especially with the emergence of multinational companies.