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Chapter 2 What is Tourism

DOI: 10.23912/9781911635352-4627

ISBN: 9781911635352

Published: December 2020

Component type: chapter

Published in: Tourism Theories, Concepts and Models

Parent DOI: 10.23912/9781911635352-4280



Tourism is not absolute. That is what makes it such an exciting field of study on the one hand, and such an exasperating phenomenon to study on the other hand. Life is much easier when things are framed in black-and-white terms: good versus bad; healthy versus unhealthy; left versus right; right versus wrong. Increasingly, as well, people like to have the world presented to them in a simplistic manner where they are faced with apparently easy choices. Life would be easy, if only the world was simple. Yet, in reality the world is a rich tapestry of colours. What on the surface appears to be a simple yes/no choice, in reality becomes a very complex situation when one scratches below the surface. Tourism is no different. We can all come up with absolute examples of what is and what is not tourism and who is and who is not a tourist. Visitors from China who spend five days on a package tour sightseeing and shopping in London are clearly tourists. Their activities and their resultant expenditure are also clearly tourism related. By contrast, if someone goes shopping for groceries in his or her home community, the person is clearly not a tourist. Other absolute categories such as, business travellers, people visiting friends and relatives, special interest tourists, can also be defined. But after that, what constitutes tourism enters a grey area. What if you have a second home and spend every weekend there? Are you a tourist? What if you are studying abroad for 11 months? Are you a tourist? What if you have family living someplace where you grew up and you visit them regularly? Are you a tourist? The answer depends on how tourism and the tourist are defined.

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McKercher & Prideaux, 2020

McKercher, B. & Prideaux, B. (2020) "Chapter 2 What is Tourism" In: McKercher, B. & Prideaux, B. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/9781911635352-4627


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