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Tourism; means staying in a country for less than a year, on average, for reasons such as cultural, historical, and natural beauties, business trips, or health. The main products of the tourism industry can be listed as entertainment and discovery. The tourism sector has changed in different ways throughout history and continues to develop and grow. With the inclusion of travel companies and the digital world in our lives, travel processes are faster today. So, what has been the course of tourism history since the past, and what is its importance worldwide? Let's examine tourism together as we recover from the effects of Covid-19 globally.
Tourism is not just about doing coastal vacations or extreme sports. It is important globally as well as locally, as destinations support the local economy and global GDP (Gross Domestic Product). For example, according to 2019 data, the tourism sector affected 10.3% of the global gross national product, which is equivalent to 8.9 billion USD. The tourism sector has created one in four jobs in the last five years and created employment opportunities for 330 million people. In 2019, the tourism sector experienced a growth of 3.5% and stood out with global growth of 2.5% in the last nine years. The tourism sector was interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the world between 2019-2021. The global population, especially the local population, had to close their businesses and employment opportunities were lost. Dozens of countries, deprived of both income and job opportunities globally, began to heal their wounds.
The travel and tourism sectors are not just about having a pleasant holiday for travelers; It provides many benefits from promoting and preserving the cultural traditions of local people and increasing the value of local artisans. Traditional festivals at travel destinations and tours with local guides make travel more enjoyable. The tourism sector also helps to protect the wildlife that the regions have. Wildlife and natural areas, which would normally be the victims of local and foreign hunters, are protected by both regional directorates and the public, as they bring more income and wealth.
Today, tourism is a major source of income for all national economies. Therefore, tourism is very important for the whole world. If we look at the meaning of tourism for the world:
Tourism generates employment areas that directly and indirectly contribute to a large part of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the world economy.
The jobs created by tourism open up jobs in retail, construction, manufacturing, and telecommunications as well as direct contributions to tourism companies.
The tourism sector offers employment opportunities to a large part of women, minorities, and youth. It allows young entrepreneurs to create new forms of products and services.
It mobilizes the authorities to protect the environment, improve public space conditions, and preserve local diversity and culture.
It enables sectors such as airports, roads, ports, shops, and restaurants to provide better service. Thus, both government and private institutions think more broadly.
The tourism sector does not only develop the country's economies; it also affects the lifestyle, social structure, and culture of the regions.
Throughout history, humans have always been passionate about their curiosity and desire to discover something. They migrated from cold places to warmer places and waterfronts in order to achieve a better quality of life. However, they did not do this for touristic purposes. Educational trips that became a trend in Europe in the 17th century; generally started with the influx of people who wanted to benefit from both the culture and education of the region in France, Germany, Italy, and Greece. With the start of the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the 18th century, the world faced a major economic, technological and social change. Tourism has also started to become an industry that appeals to the wealthy. In the 19th century, the first travel agencies were established to offer their guests holiday packages including transportation, accommodation, and meal coupons to make travel attractive in terms of cost.
After the Second World War, people gave life to the tourism sector whenever they had the opportunity, thanks to the increase in the welfare level of the people and the good economy. However, tourism sector participants were affected by the economic crisis in the 1970s and reduced their costs, and it was during this period that travel was freed from the dominance of the upper classes and mass tourism emerged.
The tourism sector, which provides employment and development opportunities to the local region in various professions every year, has been celebrated by the World Tourism Organization with "World Tourism Day" since September 27, 1980. One of the indicators of the importance of tourism, World Tourism Day celebrations has been held since 1980 to strengthen international ties and underline the economic and cultural importance of tourism.
Conscious consumption, which we owe to our planet, has succeeded in making everyone feel its impact after disasters such as Covid-19. However, thanks to the conscious and responsible travels of everyone, cultures, natural beauty, and travel regions continue to survive. Travels, where you preserve local culture and contribute to small businesses, help maintain a global wheel. In order to be a more conscious global citizen, do not forget to mark September 27 as “World Tourism Day” on your agenda, reminding you that you are an important part of both domestic and global change and development.