Definintion of Tourism (UNWTO Definition of Tourism) / What Is Tourism ?

After this article, you'll have an idea on definition of tourism. Also the article includes the UNWTO definition of tourism.
30 March 2010
1 minutes read

The Definition of Tourism varies source by source, person by person. There is no consensus concerning the definition of tourism. Nearly every each institution define "Tourism" differently. But When it comes to explain it with the basic terms, we can sum it up as follows;

"Tourism is a collection of activities, services and industries which deliver a travel experience comprising transportation, accommodation, eating and drinking establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses and othe hospitality services provided for individuals or groups traveling away from home"

"The sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the interaction of tourists, business suppliers, host goverments and host communities in the process of attracting and hostin these tourists and other visitors"

Macintosh and Goeldner


First Definition for Tourism


The first definition of tourism was made by Guyer Feuler in 1905.



UNWTO Definition of Tourism

In order to prevent the disaccords to define "Tourism", UNWTO defined it as indicated below;

"Tourism comprises the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes."

Tourism is different from travel. In order for tourism to happen, there must be a displacement: an individual has to travel, using any type of means of transportation (he might even travel on foot: nowadays, it is often the case for poorer societies, and happens even in more developed ones, and concerns pilgrims, hikers …). But all travel is not tourism.

Three criteria are used simultaneously in order to characterize a trip as belonging to tourism. The displacement must be such that;

  • It involves a displacement outside the usual environment: this term is of utmost importance and will be discussed later on;
  • Type of purpose: the travel must occur for any purpose different from being remunerated from within the place visited: the previous limits, where tourism was restricted to recreation and visiting family and friends are now expanded to include a vast array of purposes;
  • Duration: only a maximal duration is mentioned, not a minimal. Tourism displacement can be with or without an overnight stay. We shall discuss the particularity of in transit visits, from a conceptual and statistical point of view.