Definitions of Tourism and Tourists Essay

Definitions of Tourism and Tourists Essay

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According to Smith (1988), an author of a specialist dictionary on tourism, the word ‘tourist’ was introduced in 1800 and the word ‘tourism’ in 1811. However, what exactly is ‘tourism’? Who are ‘tourists’? Researchers and practitioners have produced many definitions for both ‘tourist’ and ‘tourism’ but no definition of either term has become extensively recognised regardless of the fact that both terms have now been part of the English language for over two centuries. As indicated by Smith (1988), he suggests that there “probably never will be a single definition of tourism” or tourists as economists, psychologists and geographers perceive different things about tourism in their own professional field (Smith 1988 as cited in Leiper 1995:3). However, any approach to defining both terms is highly constructive as it gives us more knowledge and understandings of each term. In this essay, the different concepts of tourism are defined by academic authors such as Krapf and Hunziker (1942), McIntosh and Goeldner (1977) and Stear (2005). After discussing ‘tourism’, the focus then shifts to ‘tourists’ where again, Stear (2005), Leiper (1979) and Weaver and Lawton (2006), defines ‘tourists’ whilst illustrating how each definition is different from one another.

One of the first attempts to define tourism was that of two Swiss academics, Professors Hunziker and Krapf of Berne University. They defined tourism in a 1942 study as a complex of environmental impacts: “the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, in so far as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected to any earning activity.” This definition has been acknowledged by many international associations including the...


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...ry’ in Annals of Tourism Research Oct/Dec ’79, School of Business and Administrative Studies, Sydney Technical College, Australia. pp 390 – 407.
Leiper, N., (1995), ‘Tourism Management’ Tafe Publications, Collingwood, Victoria.
Reindrawati, D. Y., (unknown date published), ‘The Difficult but Interesting Problems of Clearly Conceptualising Tourism and the Tourism Industry, and Differentiating the Two’, Dosen Program Studi DIII Pariwisata FISIP Unair, Surabaya.
Smith, S. L. J., (1995), ‘Tourism Analysis – A Handbook’ 2nd Edition, Longman Group Limited, Malaysia.
Stear, L. and Wixon, D., (2007), ‘Some heuristic definitions for studying highly industrialised tourism systems’, Unpublished monograph, School of Leisure Sport and Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney.
Weaver, D. and Lawton, L. (2010), ‘Tourism Management’ 4th Edition, John Wiley & Sons Australia.

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