Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".
Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2010, there were over 940 million international tourist arrivals worldwide, representing a growth of 6.6% when compared to 2009. International tourism receipts grew to US$919 billion (€693 billion) in 2010, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 4.7%. As a result of the late-2000s recession, international travel demand suffered a strong slowdown from the second half of 2008 through the end of 2009. After a 5% increase in the first half of 2008, growth in international tourist arrivals moved into negative territory in the second half of 2008, and ended up only 2% for the year, compared to a 7% increase in 2007. This negative trend intensified during 2009, exacerbated in some countries due to the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, resulting in a worldwide decline of 4.2% in 2009 to 880 million international tourists arrivals, and a 5.7% decline in international tourism receipts.
Tourism is important and in some cases vital for many countries, such as France, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Thailand, and many island nations, such asMauritius, The Bahamas, Fiji, Maldives, Philippines and the Seychelles. It brings in large amounts of income in payment for goods and services available, contributing an estimated 5% to the worldwide gross domestic product (GDP), and it creates opportunities for employment in the service industries associated with tourism. These service industries include transportation services, such as airlines, cruise ships and taxicabs;hospitality services, such as accommodations, including hotels and resorts; and entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, casinos, shopping malls, music venues and theatres.Etymology
Theobald (1994) suggested that "etymologically, the word tour is derived from the Latin, 'tornare' and the Greek, 'tornos', meaning 'a lathe or circle; the movement around a central point or axis'. This meaning changed in modern English to represent 'one's turn'. The suffix –ism is defined as 'an action or process; typical behaviour or quality', while the suffix, –ist denotes 'one that performs a given action'. When the word tour and the suffixes –ism and –ist are combined, they suggest the action of movement around a circle. One can argue that a circle represents a starting point, which ultimately returns back to its beginning. Therefore, like a circle, a tour represents a journey in that it is a round-trip, i.e., the act of leaving and then returning to the original starting point, and therefore, one who takes such a journey can be called a tourist."
In 1941, Hunziker and Krapf defined tourism as people who travel "the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, insofar as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any earning activity." In 1976, the Tourism Society of England's definition was: "Tourism is the temporary, short-term movement of people to destination outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during the stay at each destination. It includes movements for all purposes." In 1981, the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism defined tourism in terms of particular activities selected by choice and undertaken outside the home.
- Domestic tourism, involving residents of the given country traveling only within this country.
- Inbound tourism, involving non-residents traveling in the given country.
- Outbound tourism, involving residents traveling in another country.
- Most-visited countries by international tourist arrivalsMain article: World Tourism rankings
In 2010, there were 940 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 6.6% as compared to 2009.
The World Tourism Organization reports the following ten countries as the most visited in terms of the number of international travellers. In 2010, China overtook Spain to become the third most visited country.
to 20101 FranceEurope76.8 million76.8 million+0.0%2 United StatesNorth America59.7 million55.0 million+8.7%3 ChinaAsia55.7 million50.9 million+9.4%4 SpainEurope52.7 million52.2 million+1.0%5 ItalyEurope43.6 million43.2 million+0.9%6 United KingdomEurope28.1 million28.2 million-0.2%7 TurkeyEurope27.0 million25.5 million+5.9%8 GermanyEurope26.9 million24.2 million+10.9%9 MalaysiaAsia24.6 million23.6 million+3.9%10 MexicoNorth America22.4 million21.5 million+4.4%