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A NEW ERA OF TRAVEL
The term ‘tourism’ conjures up cozy images of palm trees and
sunny beaches. But beneath the hype, tourism is big business.
The “leisure industry” is the world’s largest, accounting for 10.4
percent of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and over 11
percent of both consumption spending and capital investment.
The industry provides approximately 4 percent of world employ-
ment and $3 trillion in trade per year.1 Phenomenal figures for
an industry that produces few physical products of its own!
Defying recession, the travel industry has enjoyed startling
growth: an average of 12 percent annually since 1950. That year’s
25 million international tourist arrivals exploded to 694 million
in 2003, an average annual growth rate of 7%. The World
Tourism Organization estimates that by the year 2020, there
will be 1.6 billion arrivals, with tourism receipts surpassing
Although international tourism is dominated by travelers from
the industrialized countries (80 percent of world travel originates
in the Americas and Europe) tourism has become a global enter-
prise with every country sending forth and receiving tourists.
Wealthier citizens of the newly industrialized countries have
begun criss-crossing the globe. Tourism accounts for 50% of traf-
fic movements globally. Since the tourism industry is growing 23
percent faster than the world economy, by sheer weight of num-
bers it deserves a closer look.3
HISTORY OF TOURISM
Tourism’s roots originated during the period of the Roman
Empire. In this era, the privileged elite constructed resorts on the
Bay of Naples and sent their sons on refinement tours to Athens,
Rhodes and Alexandria. This tradition of cultural tourism
reemerged as the Grand Tour of the sixteenth centuries. Visits to
the cultural and historical meccas of Italy and later Franco were
viewed as necessary capstones to an Englishman’s