Tourism as a whole is a broad term that includes any person staying outside of his or her normal environment for between one day and one year for recreational, leisure or business reasons. This can include types of domestic tourism (people traveling within their own country) and international tourism (people traveling across country borders or overseas). But within these two categories of tourism are divisions upon divisions upon divisions, though getting involved in any of them as a profession can start with just a single tourism school program. No joke – check some of the types of tourism out here:
Adventure Tourism, Inclusive Tourism and Disaster Tourism
As different kinds of tourism go, adventure tourism is probably one of the most – well – adventurous. Travelers head for remote, exotic and possibly hostile areas to explore cultures or activities outside of their comfort zones. To further break it down, adventure tourism – also called extreme tourism – includes tourism of native societies, ghettos, jungles and urban areas. It’s related to disaster tourism, which involves visiting areas that have been affected by floods, hurricanes, volcanoes and more, and inclusive tourism, which is tourism accessible to the disabled. It can also include extreme activities such as mountaineering, bungee jumping, rafting, rock climbing, zip-lining and trekking. You’d have to be a daring type of tourist to choose some of these options!
As a type of both foreign and domestic tourism, agritourism involves travel to a farm or ranch, including farm stays at anything from bed and breakfasts to dude ranches, produce purchase from farm stands, corn mazes, wine and cheese making, and fruit picking. It’s one of the growing forms of tourism in areas including Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the Philippines.
Backpacking and Freehiking
This kind of tourism has two branches – wilderness and travel. Wilderness backpacking usually involves hiking and camping overnight in the backcountry with not much more than a backpack carrying supplies and equipment. In a professional sense, it’s used by soldiers, professional guides, photographers, scientific and academic researchers, park rangers, and search and rescue personnel. Travel backpacking is often used to describe low-cost, independent international travel that include factors such as using public transportation, staying in hostels instead of hotels, and – surprise! – using a backpack for portability. A lot of times this type of tourism is viewed less as a vacation and more of a cultural learning experience. For even less reliance on material comfort, tourists can try freehiking, which falls into two categories: naked hiking (Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like.) or off-trail hiking, where hikers rely on maps, compasses or GPS units to navigate through uncharted areas.
Cultural Tourism, Culinary Tourism and Ethno Tourism
Cultural tourism, or heritage tourism, involves immersion in a society’s lifestyle, its people’s history, its art and architecture, its religion, and any other elements that have shaped it and its people. It can also include participation in a culture’s rituals or festivals (think Anthony Bourdain). This is related also to culinary tourism, where travelers pursue unique and memorable drinking and dining; educational tourism, which includes student exchange programs and study tours; and ethno tourism, where travelers observe a country’s native people without the intent of scientific gain.
Dark Tourism and War Tourism
For the more doom-and-gloom type of tourist, this kind of tourism – also called black tourism or grief tourism – involves visiting sites associated with suffering and death. These include castles and battlefields, natural and manmade disaster areas, prisons, and dungeons. It’s also related to war tourism, or travel to active war zones.
Ecotourism, Geotourism and Sustainable Tourism
As part of the green movement, ecotourism is defined as small-scale, low-impact travel to fragile, untouched and protected areas. This type of domestic and international tourism strives to educate, provide funds for conservation, benefit economic and political development, and promote respect for cultures and human rights. A lot of times this involves volunteer work and the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation and implementation of economic opportunities. Taking this one step further is geotourism, which focuses not just on sustainability but also on enhancing the area’s character. And, though not related as much to the environment, there’s also sustainable tourism, which involves sustaining a culture’s population, employment and positive local experiences for both residents and tourists.
Also called medical tourism, this form of tourism describes the practice of leaving the country to get healthcare, or of providers traveling to deliver healthcare. It can be highly dangerous if the quality of treatment is low or the facility isn’t accredited, but it includes complex surgeries, cardiac surgery, dental surgery and even cosmetic surgery. Often in these cases, the providers are practicing outside their area of expertise or at a lower standard of care.
Another of our different types of tourism combines sailing and boating with vacationing and travel. Many of these types of tourists live on their boats and take port in different areas to explore. In fact, it’s become such a popular kind of tourism that marinas have been built specifically for nautical tourists in Europe, South American and Australia. Wouldn’t you like to study that at a tourism school?
Pop-Culture Tourism and Sports Tourism
This kind of tourism is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – going to visit locations featured in books, film, music, TV and other forms of entertainment. And it appeals to many different types of tourists – who’s not interested in Elvis or Superman or the Beatles or Seinfeld or something? Trips can be domestic or international depending on what tourists want to see – and being featured in pop culture is a huge boost in popularity for many locations. Just ask the Duke of Northumberland, who lives in the castle that was used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies! Kind of along the same lines is sports tourism, where people travel to see a sporting event outside of their normal environment. This type of tourism rakes in about $600 billion each year.
Also referred to as faith tourism, this type of tourism encompasses people of faith who travel independently or in groups to holy cities or holy sites for fellowship, missionary or pilgrimage. The largest mass faith pilgrimage takes place annually in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and many religious pilgrims aren’t traveling for the same reasons as those pursuing other different types of tourism. Often, they list a tangible understanding and appreciation of their religion, a feeling of security in their beliefs, and personal connection as the main purposes of faith travel.
Space tourism is – you guessed it – travel in space! Obviously, most of this is done for business purposes because the average person can’t afford a quick getaway to outer space … though it can be done! The Russian Space Agency is the only one that offers it, but allegedly it comes in at a whopping $20-35 million per flight. That definitely makes the price of simpler types of domestic tourism seem like pocket change!
This growing form of tourism features travel for charitable or volunteer purposes – this is one of the more popular types of domestic tourism, but can also reach internationally. Trips can range from wildlife cleanup to medical aid in a foreign country, and more. Also included in this is traveling for the purpose of scientific research to promote understanding and necessary actions needed for a sustainable environment.
In its simplest definition, wildlife tourism is the observation of wild animals in their natural habitats. It’s especially popular in countries with large areas of undeveloped land, such as Africa, South America, Australia, India, Canada, Indonesia, Bangladesh and more. There is some controversy about this type of tourism, as the pros and cons are equally arguable. On the con side, there’s disturbance of the animals’ breeding, feeding and overall living patterns, in addition to the development of hotel construction on the natural land to account for tourists. Alternately, however, this kind of tourism increases habitat restoration, conservation breeding, research and financial donations, and also deters poachers.
So, in a very large nutshell, that covers it! Tourism as a whole is a profitable industry for tour guides, hotels, hospitality workers and more. And working in the tourism and hospitality industry can be doubly beneficial – not only do these employees profit financially from their jobs, but they also get to travel and combine their personal interests with their jobs! A lot of times, all it takes to get started is an interest in the field and education from a quality tourism school.
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