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Tourists on photo safari in Serengeti , Tanzania
Tourists at the carillon on Munich's Marienplatz
The sale of local handicrafts to tourists is an important source of income in Namibia

Tourism (also tourism ) comprises the entirety of all phenomena and relationships that are connected for private reasons with leaving the usual center of life and staying at another destination. Tourism includes several branches of the economy, such as For example: passenger transport companies, travel agencies, hotels and restaurants, leisure industry. Tourism is subdivided into different categories, e.g. B. what means of transport you are traveling with or what type of travel it is (safari, relaxing holiday, etc.). The term tourism has been in use since the 1980s, until then the industry and this social phenomenon was called tourism . A distinction is no longer made between tourism offers for newcomers and people from the surrounding area, so that the term “tourism and leisure industry” is often used.

The economic basis of tourism is essentially the cultural assets and the nature of the travel destination. But even the current or former form of government of a country can be decisive for tourism. For example, the fascination of the British royal family brings millions of tourists to Great Britain every year and thus the economy around 600 million euros annually. The Habsburg family should be mentioned in Central Europe. According to estimates, the Habsburg brand is likely to generate tourism sales of EUR 60 million a year for Vienna alone.

The branch is one of the largest branches of industry worldwide. In 2004, according to the World Tourism Organization, sales of around 623 billion US dollars were achieved in this area . With around 100 million employees worldwide, tourism is one of the most important employers . Cross-border travel accounts for 25 to 30 percent of world trade in this service sector . Tourism statistics provide evaluations and trends on the topic . Global tourism accounts for around 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions .

Word development, definitions

The word tourism ( English tourism , French tourisme ) goes back to the French noun le tour (= journey, also tour, walk). It is first documented in English around 1800 , it appears in French in 1816 and in German around 1830.

The French words tourisme and touriste were first used as official names by the League of Nations to describe travelers who spend more than 24 hours abroad . The League of Nations had French as its lingua franca.

All year round: Madeira tourism

Tourism can be defined as follows: The economic and social changes that arise in a certain place or area as a result of the influx of newcomers or at least non-residents (leisure travelers, business travelers, visitors to relatives and friends, owners or tenants of weekend houses and second homes) and the resulting changes industry or activity resulting there and elsewhere. Entrepreneurs or workers ( commuters ) who travel to another location every day for professional reasons are not recorded here.

"Tourists are people who travel to places outside their usual environment and stay there for no more than a year for leisure or business reasons that are not connected to the exercise of a paid activity at the place visited."

- World Tourism Organization of the United Nations (UNWTO)

Education is largely excluded from these definitions. Is a student who moves from his place of residence to a student residence in a university town for ten months there for “business reasons”? If this question is answered in the affirmative, his 300 overnight stays in this home can easily be included in the tourism results of the university town. There are different procedures in Europe for the practical application of the definitions, insofar as official tourism statistics are kept at all.

For an expanded concept of tourism and leisure industry , the non-tourist leisure consumption of the local residents at their place of residence is added. This economic concept no longer requires the same behavior (such as going to the cinema, swimming, skiing) in the scaling of the respective local residents (a city, a region, a state) to be considered separately and to be assessed several times. This means that the tourism and leisure economy account is divided into three balances, incoming (people entering a region, services brought in from outside), outgoing and internal tourism (leisure and tourism for the residents of the region). In this way, typical tourist regions (high added value, high incoming tourism) or “living” regions (high inland share) can be identified.

The word field “foreigners / tourism” in the criticism

The English and French only know the designation "tourism" and "tourisme", while German is the older term tourism. In German usage, the term “tourism” appeared in the 1960s. Since the 1980s, the names of many official tourism institutions in the German-speaking area have been changed to tourism , as guests should no longer be referred to as “strangers”, because the connotationxenophobia ” can easily be found when using the term “stranger” and people useful to the economy should not be deterred. The fact that travelers are actually by no means always welcome by the locals is shown by the word crime tourism that appeared around 2000 . Likewise, many locals are unwelcome travelers who, as non-EU residents , enter an EU country with a tourist visa in order to stay (and work) illegally on a permanent basis .

Segments of tourism

The term tourism includes different types and forms of travel. These can be classified according to different criteria, whereby demographic and behavioral criteria can be distinguished. Classifications such as B. according to motivation (e.g. cultural or educational tourism , film tourism , near-natural tourism , sports tourism , etc.), duration, organizational form (individual / tour operator trips), number of participants (mass / exclusive tourism ), destination, distance, means of transport, ecological balance ( Soft tourism ), origin of the tourists (foreigners / domestic tourism), type of accommodation, age, marital status and travel time. Visits to memorial sites or historically relevant crime scenes such as Auschwitz , Ground Zero and Verdun are referred to as "black tourism" or thana tourism . The phenomenon finds particular attention in depth psychology , conflict studies and cultural studies .

In addition, there are terms for tourism phenomena that can be found in the press and in everyday language, but which are mostly not used in the tourism industry itself and in advertising, such as sex tourism, drinking tourism, ballermann tourism, Party tourism etc.


Development of travel, vacation and leisure activities and tourism

Prince Ladislaus Sigismund of Poland visits Cornelis van der Geest's gallery in Brussels in 1624.

In the beginning it was practical reasons such as the search for food or water or the flight from natural disasters that turned people into travelers, but the reasons changed after they settled down.

Already in ancient Egypt and in other advanced cultures on all continents there were (and are) trips or trips for religious reasons: pilgrimages to the temples of the gods, for example the pilgrims called Hajj - trips by devout Muslims to Mecca or the meetings of Hindus to the ritual bath in the Ganges . Other reasons for traveling were long-distance trade , exploratory trips beyond “one's own horizon” and beyond, and economic and power-political relationships with colonies and other dependent areas. Wealthy Romans owned estates in provinces of the Roman Empire that they visited from time to time. The " Northmen " toured Greenland and America , the Arabs the entire Indian Ocean . At that time, travel was often understood by the “traveled” as aggression or war.

Modern tourism can be traced back to the Grand Tour , which was a traditional trip across Europe . In 1624 the young Prince of Poland, Ladislaus Sigismund Wasa , the eldest son of Sigismund III. , a journey across Europe. He traveled through territories of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, where he admired the siege of Breda by Spanish troops, France, Switzerland to Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. It was an educational journey and one of the results was the introduction of Italian opera to the Republic of Poland-Lithuania .

After the migration of peoples (motive for travel: better living conditions), Europe only slowly recovered from its economic and political decline (while China and Japan, for example, were stable). Pilgrimage tourism soon developed in Europe. Along such pilgrimage routes and in places with favorable geographical transport links (ports, crossings of trade routes), trade centers emerged on all continents , which in turn produced trade travelers. Sea routes developed into travel routes; as far as Europe is concerned, the Maritime Republic of Venice as well as Portugal and Spain should be mentioned as early colonial powers. The "Serenissima" had regular ship connections with Constantinople , Marco Polo traveled, as far as his statements are credible, by land to China.

Christian pilgrims were dependent on board and lodging in church hostels until the 19th century, as they mostly had no assets. Up until the 1950s, independent travel in Europe was reserved for the small part of the population who could pay for expensive travel. For a long time, trips for educational purposes in particular were the privilege of the nobility, who sent their sons on so-called cavalier journeys , and later of the upper middle class. Recreational trips were unknown. These did not appear in Europe until the 19th century. The industrial revolution is to be seen as the decisive turning point. While travel was always meant to serve a purpose before the Industrial Revolution, now travel itself was the purpose.

The history of tourism is largely identical to the history of travel. However, there were and still are strong regional differences in development. The alpinism , the end of the 18th century on the European continent began strongly, brought modest "tourism" first in Switzerland , in the 19th century in Austria (on July 28, 1800: First ascent of the Grossglockner , then 1856 visit of Emperor Franz Joseph I with his wife Elisabeth der Franz-Josefs-Höhe), around the turn of the 20th century in coastal towns such as Binz , Heiligendamm , Heringsdorf , Nice , Grado and Opatija . It was mostly European mountaineers who found worthwhile destinations in other continents: Mountains that the locals saw no reason to climb, as in Europe before. Aside from ritual ablutions, spa tourism was ruled out in many other cultures for religious reasons.

The founders of international "adventure tourism" in Europe were the British: Thomas Cook is considered to be the inventor of package tours . In the last decades of the 19th century the upper classes of England were so wealthy due to the income from the British Empire that they were the first to be able to afford trips to far away areas that were hardly developed for tourism. The military might of the Empire (with bases in all continents) and the British fleet offered the desired security. The British example was soon emulated in continental Europe.

In 1891 the German businessman Albert Ballin set off from Hamburg for the Mediterranean with the ship Augusta Victoria . The first worldwide cruise ship was the Princess Victoria Luise, built in 1901 . This was the beginning of cruise ship travel.

Machu Picchu , Cuzco

The right to vacation (vacation entitlement) has been known in Europe and North America since around 1880, but was not widely enforced until the 20th century, provided it was not a question of unpaid vacation but rather days off during which the salary entitlement continues become. According to Section 24 of the Human Rights Convention, there is the right to rest. Even the USSR had explicitly mentioned the promotion of tourism in Article 41 of one of its last constitutions.

In the German-speaking world, the organized travel of the National Socialists' Kraft durch Freude program was the first approach to mass tourism in the 20th century ; soon, however, the KdF ships had to be rededicated as hospital ships.

After the Second World War , it was initially difficult to travel in Germany and Austria. The zone boundaries of the Allied occupation zones were impassable for the majority of the population. At the beginning of the 1950s in West Germany and Austria an increase in travel activity of all classes of the population began, also because as a result of technical and social developments, leisure time increased significantly.

In very large countries like the US, domestic tourism is the most common, as thousands of kilometers can be traveled without leaving the country. That is why the majority of US citizens do not have a passport, although some of the people are extremely mobile. In the 1970s, the oil crisis temporarily slowed the upswing. But then the general economic upturn in Europe led to the new phenomenon of mass tourism . In the other continents, tourism is mostly still financially only for the higher social classes. In many countries, the average citizen has no money for tourist travel.

Social relevance

American tourist in Malaysia (1967)

The increase in tourism in the countries and regions visited can have serious consequences for the local population, for nature and culture. A corresponding infrastructure (hotel facilities, roads, transport options and even specially built airports) is often built for the tourists. Nature conservation, culture and traditional structures can be neglected. At the same time, the newly created infrastructure also benefits the local population.

Tourism often arises in remote regions previously used for agriculture. This can lead to a direct change from an agricultural society to a service society . The result can be a shift in traditional structures (e.g. power and ownership relationships, gender roles). Contact between locals and tourists can lead to changes in consumption patterns and values ​​on the part of the local population.

Cultural impact

The more it is adapted to the needs of the tourism industry, the more likely local cultural traditions will only be carried on as shows and staging for tourists. Tourism thus becomes a monoculture , to which whole regions subordinate themselves for profit reasons. Tourism, like the entertainment industry, is part of the economic globalization that is leading to a " westernization " in many parts of the world . Tourists travel to “exotic (vacation) paradises ” that are advertised and perceived as such, and this is precisely why they contribute to the fact that the cultural peculiarities of these countries are pushed back. The “foreign” is adapted to the wishes of the guests and the requirements of the tour operator and thus ultimately becomes a backdrop.

This can be called a vicious circle . Because the tourists, in turn, feel that the traditional hospitality of the locals has given way to pragmatic business acumen in many places. They complain about "tourist traps" and the loss of the originality of the travel destination.

A large part of the increasing air traffic is used for tourism

Effects on the environment and nature

The damage to the environment and nature is considerable: First of all, there is air pollution caused by travel . The sulfur dioxide - and carbon monoxide -load even in smaller tourist resorts like Davos or Grindelwald often reaches the usual only in large cities level and at times exceeds the permissible limits in the United States. However, there is still heated debate about the effects of emission-intensive means of transport such as cars and airplanes . According to studies by tourism expert Martin Lohmann, a total of 47% use the car, 37% the plane, 9% the bus, 5% the train and 2% the bicycle or ship to get there. In addition, tourism caused around 4.5 billion tons of climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions worldwide in 2013 , which corresponds to around 8% of global CO 2 emissions. The emissions are growing at a disproportionately high rate compared to the global economy.

Also, water and soil are multiple loads about by the oil exposed of pleasure boats or sunscreen bath traveler. The rubbish left behind by tourists is a growing problem . It occurs in greater amounts per capita in the holiday resort than at home. In mountainous areas or on beaches, for example, this can often only be disposed of with much more effort than in the good infrastructure of cities. The amount of waste left behind in the Austrian Alps alone is estimated at around 4,500 tons per year, the amount of waste water at 90,000 cubic meters . On Mount Everest , it is estimated that 600 tons of rubbish accumulated in the wild due to the up to 40,000 trekkers annually.

Furthermore, tourism leads to an increased consumption of natural resources: For example, the way of life of western tourists in many travel countries with the necessary air conditioning , swimming pools and golf courses results in a problematic increase in energy and water consumption . The latter often causes a drop in the groundwater level with all its consequences for the local drinking water supply, irrigation in agriculture and the desertification of areas.

After all, tourism often affects existing natural spaces, biotopes and ecosystems , and thus the basis of life for animals and plants. This is partly due to the sealing of the soil typically associated with the construction of accommodation and holiday complexes . Mention should be made of the erosion caused by clearing for ski slopes , the exploitation of water reserves for snow cannons , the damage to water biotopes by sailors, surfers and divers, as well as the disturbance of the native fauna by mountain bikers , cross-country skiers and deep snow skiers . Clearance for wood lodges in Nepal and their heating with firewood have led to erosion problems in Nepal, regardless of ski tourism. Finally, it should be noted in this context the aesthetic disfigurement of natural and cultural landscapes that have grown due to tourist infrastructures.

Tourists in the Namib (2018)

It should not be forgotten, however, that the economic interests of the powerful and financially strong tourism industry have often contributed to the protection and preservation of endangered natural areas. An intact and aesthetically appealing environment is an effective advertising offer in tourism. For example, wetlands in Jamaica and Canadian forests have been preserved and protected for tourist reasons, as have large African game populations and farmhouses in Tuscany . In many countries, nature only acquired material value through tourism and could thus be protected. In many places tourism has preserved industries threatened by decline and - as in the Western Alps, for example - has counteracted the depopulation of entire regions.

Gentle and sustainable tourism as a counter-model

Since the beginning of the 1980s, a counter-movement to mass tourism emerged, namely soft tourism . Ideas of environmentally and socially acceptable travel should contribute to a solution, or at least to a mitigation of the problems associated with tourism. It promotes the sustainable use of tourist conditions, respect for the cultural traditions of the countries visited and the careful use of natural resources.

While the main supporters of this movement are rather problem-conscious individual travelers and smaller alternative tour operators , individual elements are also being picked up by the established market leaders in tourism - if only for image reasons. The term “soft tourism” has now been replaced by the term sustainable tourism .

A more consistent expression can be found in ecotourism . However, if there are high numbers of tourists - regardless of individual or package tour conditions - gentle or eco-tourism can turn into the opposite due to the limited resources available.In the long term, regions at risk of ecological exploitation can only be protected by limiting the number of holidaymakers. In the Galapagos Islands, for example, the flow of tourists to the islands has been severely restricted by UNESCO and the National Park.

Fair trade in tourism

With its clear principles of promoting disadvantaged producers and workers, fair trade also opens up a concrete path for socially just and sustainable development in tourism. To this end, the Tourism and Development Working Group, together with partners from the South and North, has carried out conceptual work and, using practical examples, has developed the fundamentals that enable the development of future-oriented fair trade in tourism. Analogous to fair trade in products, fair trade in tourism aims to improve the living conditions of tourism employees and small business owners, secure their livelihoods and enable them to have a dignified existence.

A fair exchange between all stakeholders is central to fair trade in tourism. To this end, all actors are called upon to act fairly at their respective level, to create transparency about their activities and to build and maintain equal, partnership-based relationships with full respect for democracy and participation. Fairtrade products are usually identified by a label that declares that the consumer has complied with the Fairtrade criteria. Among the multitude of labels in tourism, only one, namely the seal of quality from Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), certifies offers such as hotels and excursions according to the principles of fair trade. The first clarifications are currently underway at international level as to whether and how tourism can be assessed within the framework of the umbrella organization Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), which is the global umbrella organization for Fairtrade certification . The aim of developing fair trade in tourism is not simply to create a new niche, but rather to show the concrete way in which the entire tourism industry can operate more socially. The challenge here is to implement tourism that is comprehensive - economically, ecologically and socially - sustainable or contributes to sustainable development and meets the expectations of travelers for an attractive, relaxing holiday as well as those of the locals at the destination for new income, respect their livelihoods and cultural diversity as well as their dignity.



New tourism branches
  • Health tourism : People combine holidays with medical operations, especially dental and cosmetic operations. The most important target countries are India and Thailand, with a total of more than 100 billion dollars worldwide in this area in 2010.
  • Space tourism : According to plans, the first people should travel into space with the SpaceShipTwo as early as 2016 . The price of 150,000 EUR will be far cheaper than the previous flights with the Soyuz capsule for more than 20 million EUR.

The Internet plays a major role in the booking behavior of guests . Many guests check websites for comments from their peers about the vacation spot and eligible hotels before booking. The bookings are often made much more quickly than before. While printed travel guides are still widely used as reference works (e.g. Baedeker , Marco Polo , Michelin and Varta ), web portals such as the free travel guide Wikivoyage and Virtualtourist or exchange and rating platforms such as trivago , Opodo , Expedia , TripAdvisor and Holidaycheck are becoming increasingly popular . Booking portals such as HRS , , Hotel-ami , KAYAK , Unister , and are used more frequently for hotel bookings than traditional travel agencies, which, however, are still important for overall packages and personalized offers. Holiday activities and visits to sights are also frequently ordered over the Internet, for example from GetYourGuide .

Interest in destinations over time can be shown graphically using search terms on Google. It becomes clear that the search for suitable holiday regions increases from April and reaches its peak in summer.


Forecasts about the development of tourism encounter considerably greater difficulties than in other branches of the economy. In part, this has to do with the fact that key economic terms in the tourism sector are often less clearly defined. The tourism product is already more difficult to grasp : namely, not only material services such as accommodation or transfers, but also intangible "attractions" such as sights, attractive landscapes, certain weather conditions, holiday happiness and relaxation, moods and dreams of all kinds are in demand from travelers are difficult to manufacture and renew and appear to evade economic evaluation.

Tourism consumption is also difficult to quantify, since many of the goods and services requested by tourists, such as catering and transport services, are also used by locals without it being possible to distinguish them. There is also a lack of reliable methods to calculate the capital employed . However, tourism science is in the process of developing such methods.

The vagueness of the terms also makes it difficult to obtain a reliable database. Another imponderable factor is that the demand behavior of tourists is determined to a far greater extent by irrational, subjective determinants than that of other market participants. Often diffuse expectations, needs and motives that are dependent on current trends, fashion trends and cultural influences flow into the decision, which are difficult to analyze and can only be manipulated to a very limited extent even through targeted product advertising. After all, the tourist product is neither transportable nor storable: it has to be consumed at the place of its origin at a certain fixed time, so the traveler has to go to the product on time. Unpredictable disruptions such as natural disasters , terrorism , civil wars and strikes therefore have a significantly more fatal impact on tourism than on other industries. So led z. For example, the protests in Chile in 2019 led to a decline in hotel bookings.

Surprisingly, target areas that were affected by terrorist attacks and the subsequent drop in the number of guests (such as Egypt) sometimes “recover” relatively quickly. Dangers to the desired holiday experience are evidently quickly faded out emotionally, even if they are not yet rationally forgotten.

All of these problems mean that economic theories can only make very general and blanket statements about the development of the tourism industry, such as that the costs of overcoming space will continue to decrease, greater diversification in supply and demand will be observed and vacation trips “in many Cases are determined by more than one motive ”. Isolated attempts to suggest an actually non-existent degree of objectivity and rationality through mathematical formulas and models are unable to change this. Despite all the difficulties, tourism science is in the process of developing meaningful methods of market research.

The difficulty in creating reliable forecasts has repeatedly led to bad investments. The best- known example is the Eurodisney amusement park near Paris, which opened in 1992 and made a loss of almost one billion euros to its operators in the first two years alone. But large-scale holiday complexes on the Costa del Sol and in the Western Alps as well as the increased expansion of hotel capacities in large western German cities in the 1970s have also proven to be bad investments. Artificial islands in Arabia that include huge hotel complexes will also not be profitable in the short term.

As the development since autumn 2008 shows, the most important determining future factors of long-distance tourism undoubtedly include the global economic development and the oil price. The economic crisis, which was fully realized in 2009, has considerably dampened the demand for tourism. The expected increase in the price of kerosene will make the increase in air fares inevitable and also dampen demand. Experts (for example at Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH, a foundation of the former aviation pioneer Ludwig Bölkow , or at Deutsche Bank) expect tourism to concentrate more on the national and regional local area in the medium term. A consolidation phase is to be expected in air traffic, during which the number of flight providers will decrease.

While Europe in particular has traditionally been seen as the safest holiday region, concerns are growing, especially in the face of Islamist terrorist attacks , especially among guests from the East Asian region, who are among the most popular tourist groups.


In 1979, the American futurologist Herman Kahn made a forecast for tourism up to 2029 in The Futurist. In it, he continued to reckon with above-average growth rates and stable socio-political and national economic conditions. What was missing at the time were unquantifiable and, above all, unpredictable human factors.

As early as the 1980s, Mohamed A. Tangi from the United Nations Environment Program recognized what was necessary for a friendly coexistence and coexistence of guests and locals:

  1. The accommodation of tourists should no longer be limited to hotels, this will lead to friendships between guests and the local population.
  2. Tourism should develop away from the overcrowded coastal regions and into areas that are sparsely populated.
  3. Nature reserves must be created in all tourist regions .
  4. Special mediators should be trained on the part of the hosts as well as the guests , who are suitable according to their knowledge and character to arouse mutual understanding.
  5. A tourism code must be developed that both sides recognize.
  6. All seaside locations must set maximum tourist flow rates, around a maximum of 600 people per hectare of beach.

So far, not a single point has basically been realized if attempts to create nature reserves are abandoned. This means that the future problems for tourism can be found in these approaches. A series of recommendations aimed at improving sustainable tourism development and the relationship between tourism and spatial planning were drawn up at a Council of Europe seminar (CEMAT) in Palma (Spain) in May 1999. In other continents, business-limiting concerns, such as those discussed in Europe, are mostly ignored by the local oligarchies .

Economical meaning


Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world . In 2011, according to the World Tourism Organization, it had total sales of around US $ 1030 billion. In 2004 it absorbed 11% of consumer spending in western industrialized countries. With around 100 million employees worldwide, it is a large industry. Cross-border travel accounts for 25 to 30% of world trade in services. At best, higher sales can still be achieved in the automotive and mineral oil industries. For many regions, tourism has become the most important source of employment.

Nevertheless, the income is distributed very unevenly, with 50% of it being achieved in only seven countries ( USA , Great Britain , France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria). The USA in particular was able to double its income to CHF 203.7 billion between 2008 and 2017 and received almost 15% of all global tourism export income. In contrast, the Chinese (including Hong Kong and Macau) spent around nine times more money traveling abroad in the same period. The following are the world's most important countries in cross-border tourism in 2017:

Country Income in billion CHF Expenditures in billion CHF
United StatesUnited States United States 203.7 119.7
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China China 101.4 250.7
SpainSpain Spain 68.0 k. A.
FranceFrance France 60.7 36.7
ThailandThailand Thailand 57.5 k. A.
ItalyItaly Italy 44.0 24.0
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 43.9 56.1
AustraliaAustralia Australia 42.8 30.1
GermanyGermany Germany 39.8 74.1
JapanJapan Japan 34.1 k. A.

The economic effects of tourism can be divided into direct, indirect and induced effects. The direct effects arise where tourism expenditure is made (for example in the hotel or catering industry ). The indirect effects arise from preliminary work (e.g. construction of tourist infrastructure , food for gastronomy). The induced effects arise from spending the income created by the direct and indirect effects.

For national economies it is also important to what extent the income from tourism remains in the respective country. By importing goods for tourist consumption (for example, food) or activities of foreign companies created profit outflows abroad (so-called. Leakage effect or leakages).

Employment . The International Labor Organization (ILO) assumes that one position in the core tourism business will create one and a half more positions. The tourism industry thus creates (directly and indirectly) over 230 million jobs. This represents around 8% of the global workforce. Between 60% and 70% of the workforce are women and more than half are under 25 years of age. According to a study by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), 15 German tourists each secure a job in their travel destination.

Even if there are efforts to rationalize, tourism remains a labor-intensive sector, which, especially in developing countries, offers valuable employment opportunities for the low-skilled.

Tourism is developed through economic development, environmental protection and the preservation of the identity of the local population. A close link can also be established between the development of tourism and the development of cultural heritage: tourism not only creates income and employment, but also contributes to the development of a local and regional identity. Tourism provides employment and income for people who live in underdeveloped regions.

Tourism countries

According to a study by the World Tourism Organization ( arrivals of overnight guests per year), the countries most visited for cross-border travel are :

rank country Regional
01 FranceFrance France Europe 82.6 million 83.0 million 81.6 million 76.8 million
02 United StatesUnited States United States North America 75.6 million 67.0 million 62.7 million 59.7 million 56.0 million 51.1 million
03 SpainSpain Spain Europe 75.6 million 57.7 million 56.2 million 52.7 million 59.2 million 58.5 million
04th China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China Asia 59.3 million 57.7 million 57.6 million 55.7 million 54.7 million 49.6 million
05 ItalyItaly Italy Europe 52.4 million 46.4 million 46.1 million 43.6 million 43.7 million 41.1 million
06th TurkeyTurkey Turkey Asia 39.5 million 35.7 million 34.7 million 27.0 million 23.3 million 19.8 million
07th United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Europe 35.8 million 29.3 million 29.3 million 28.1 million 30.7 million 30.7 million
08th GermanyGermany Germany Europe 35.6 million 30.4 million 28.4 million 26.9 million 24.4 million 23.6 million
09 MexicoMexico Mexico North America 35.0 million 22.4 million 21.4 million 21.4 million
010 ThailandThailand Thailand Asia 32.6 million

Day tourism (trips without an overnight stay at the destination) is just as neglected in these figures as domestic travel within the respective country. For many countries (including Germany) this is more important than international travel.


German tourists

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the most popular destination for domestic tourists.
Image: Ahlbeck pier on the island of Usedom

In 2010, Germans took 63.3 million vacation trips (purpose: recreation; minimum duration: five nights), of which 33% were domestic . They booked 1.4 billion overnight stays and spent 120 billion euros. Abroad, German tourists spent 59 billion euros in 2010.

48.7 million Germans over the age of 14 took part in at least one vacation trip, which corresponds to a travel intensity of 75.1%. The most popular travel destination here was Germany itself with 33.0%, of which 6 percent was attributable to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and 5.9 percentage points to Bavaria . This was followed by Spain with 13.0%, Italy with 7.7%, Turkey with 7.0% and Austria with 5.2%.

The tourism analysis of the Foundation for Future Issues - an initiative by British American Tobacco shows that Germany itself is still the most popular travel destination with 34.2% in 2016. The holiday regions of Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are as popular as ever with 6.9% each. Within Europe, Spain (14.1%) and Italy (7.9%) are favored by Germans. Only Turkey (4.4%) has lost popularity due to terrorist attacks and political unrest and is now on par with Austria (4.4%). It is followed by Croatia (3.3%) and Scandinavia (2.9%).

Travel world champion . For a long time the Germans were called the travel world champions because they spent more money on travel than any other nation. However, this title has recently been challenged by the Chinese.

Travel criteria . A good and fair price-performance ratio is a basic requirement for more than three quarters of all Germans. Sun, a healthy climate and beautiful nature are also much more important than material quality features such as varied evening entertainment, good shopping, wellness, active or cultural offers. German vacationers appreciate a cozy atmosphere, hospitality and harmony with their travel partners on their trips.

Age groups . Retirees and young seniors are becoming more and more important for the tourism industry. Whereas in 2004 only 44 percent of all retirees were traveling, in 2014 it was almost 50 percent. The older generation is just as fond of traveling as young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 and even more often than middle-aged singles. In addition, the number of active young seniors between 50 and 64 is also increasing. This target group now has more travelers than families.

Trip type . 48% of the trips were made by car , for 36% by plane , for 8% by bus and for 5% by train . The main travel destinations by car are Denmark, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary. The duration of the trip was an average of 12.3 days and the cost was 861 euros per person.

Tourism in Germany

In 2012, tourism in Germany achieved a turnover of 140 billion euros with 2.8 million direct employees. 125.3 million guests (101.5 million from Germany, 23.5 million from abroad) made 351.4 million overnight stays (of which 298.5 million by residents and 52.9 million by foreigners) in 54,166 accommodations with around 2.6 million beds.

The most important country of origin is Germany (113,139,484 arrivals in 2010). The following sequence results from abroad:

country Tourists percent was standing
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 3,917,640 33.5% 2010
United StatesUnited States United States 2,206,339 18.9% 2010
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 2,028,423 17.3% 2010
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 1,986,891 17.0% 2010
ItalyItaly Italy 1,524,134 13.0% 2010

4,000 of the 12,431 municipalities in Germany are organized in tourism associations, 310 of which are recognized as spas or health resorts .


In 2007, 31.1 million guests and 121.4 million overnight stays were registered in Austria (compared to 2006: total: +1.6%, of which: foreigners +1.3%, residents +2.7%). Eight of the twelve source markets with the highest number of overnight stays showed an increase in 2007 (in brackets the share of total overnight stays in Austria):

  1. Germany (39.7%): −1.4%
  2. Austria (27.2%): + 2.7%
  3. Netherlands (7.5%): + 3.6%
  4. Great Britain (3.2%): + 3.8%
  5. Switzerland (3.0%): + 3.4%
  6. Italy (2.5%): −3.1%
  7. Belgium (2.1%): + 2.9%
  8. France (1.4%): −3.0%
  9. Hungary (1.2%): + 7.9%
  10. United States (1.2%): −2.6%
  11. Denmark (1.2%): + 10.3%
  12. Czech Republic (1.1%): + 12.5%

In 2007 the overnight stays were mainly in the federal states of Tyrol (41.8 million), Salzburg (23.4 million), Carinthia (12.8 million), Styria (10.0 million) and Vienna (9.7 million). The Austrians preferred the federal states of Styria (6.4 million), Salzburg (5.5 million) and Carinthia (4.7 million) as domestic travel destinations. The average length of stay for foreign guests was 4.3 and for residents 3.2 nights per arrival.


Tourism is an important economic factor, especially in the economically weak mountain regions of Switzerland. In Graubünden and Valais , the share of gross domestic product (GDP) is up to 30 percent; in 2015 it was 2.6 percent in Switzerland and around 200,000 employees. In 2016, 65.4% of all hotels and restaurants posted losses; And the tourism balance was negative for the first time in a long time at 300 million Swiss francs, after it had shown a profit of over 3 billion in 2011.

The most popular holiday regions are Graubünden, Valais, the Bernese Alps and Ticino . In addition, cities such as Lucerne , Zurich , Geneva and Lausanne have many visitors, often including business travelers and culture lovers.

In 2011, Switzerland recorded 35,486,256 overnight stays in the hotel industry, which is a decrease of 2.0% compared to 2010. In 1990 a record was reached with 37.5 million overnight stays. From 2007 to 2016, the destinations of Basel, Zurich, Vaud and the Bernese Oberland increased, while all other regions lost guests. The overnight stays in 2014 and 2017 were as follows:

Overnight stays in Switzerland
region year 2014 Year 2017
Coat of arms Graubünden matt.svg Grisons 5,052,225 4,850,000
Coat of arms Bern matt.svg Bern 4,963,424 5,070,000
Zurich coat of arms matt.svg Zurich 4,812,869 5,960,000
Wallis coat of arms matt.svg Valais 3,887,345 3,920,000
Geneva coat of arms matt.svg Geneva 2,939,168 3,050,000
Vaud coat of arms matt.svg Vaud 2,655,696 2,890,000
Coat of arms Ticino matt.svg Ticino 2,313,039 2,460,000
Coat of arms Lucerne matt.svgLucerne resp. Central Switzerland 1,919,902 3,560,000
Coat of arms Basel-Stadt matt.svg Basel city 1,662,938 1,640,000
Coat of arms St. Gallen matt.svgSt. Gallen resp. Eastern Switzerland 1,030,646 1,900,000

The most important country of origin was Switzerland itself with 16,920,000 overnight stays in 2017, which corresponds to an increase of 4.2% compared to 2016 and an increase of 8.7% compared to 2007. In the case of foreign guests, all guests from Western Europe over the last ten years Countries and Japan decreased significantly. In contrast, more guests came from China, the Gulf States, Korea, India and also from the USA. The nations with the highest demand were the following (arrivals 2013 - overnight stays 2017):

Arrivals and overnight stays by foreigners in Switzerland
Country Arrivals year 2013 Overnight stays in 2017
GermanyGermany Germany 1,854,263 3,750,000
United StatesUnited States United States 726.035 2,050,000
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 704.945 1,430,000
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 698.375 1,620,000
FranceFrance France 692.288 1,240,000
ItalyItaly Italy 493,839 930,000
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 296,623 610,000
RussiaRussia Russia 215.603 not specified

The average length of stay in hotels in 2011 was 2.3 nights for foreign guests and 2.0 for residents.

Tourism in Switzerland has been declining for years - especially from Western Europe - even though it was supported by state funds. The hotel entrepreneur and former politician Peter Bodenmann from Brig criticized the lack of advertising strategies and the lack of entrepreneurship on the part of tourism officials. The abolition of the minimum euro exchange rate in Switzerland in January 2015 exacerbated the negative development. Political problems were also the unrealized free trade and the associated lack of competition.


In 2010, around 5.7 million guests and 28 million overnight stays (with around 500,000 inhabitants) were counted in South Tyrol.

Other European countries

Corresponding country articles provide more detailed information about tourism in other European countries:

Tourism statistics

The official tourism statistics are used to monitor the development of tourism and to provide up-to-date and objective information to all interested parties. These statistics are created according to the regulations and customs of the respective state and can therefore be of very different quality.

For example, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, due to legal or regulatory obligations, the accommodation providers report the total of arrivals and overnight stays by guests (broken down according to the guests' countries of origin) on a monthly basis . In addition, the number of accommodation establishments and their number of rooms and beds are recorded.

In Great Britain and Ireland, where there is no obligation (including for locals) to report their residence or temporary stay in accordance with the Central European legal situation, the tourism results are derived from counts of arriving guests at airports and ports and from sample surveys in the hotel industry. The figures can therefore also include visits to friends and relatives ( VFRs - Visits of Friends and Relatives ), which are not recorded in Germany.

When making international comparisons for regions and cities, the area for which the figures are published must also be taken into account. When making international comparisons of the accommodation capacity, it is important to consider what is meant by an accommodation establishment or commercial accommodation (as opposed to private rooms) in the respective country.

Two central statistics are compiled in Germany:

  • The monthly tourism survey reports on the accommodation industry in Germany, i.e. on the provider side. The accommodation providers provide information on the number of arrivals and overnight stays by guests, although a distinction is still made between the countries of origin for guests who are permanently resident abroad. This data is supplemented by information on the capacities in the form of the beds offered and, in the case of campsites, the spaces offered.
  • In the statistics on tourism demand , Germans are asked about their travel behavior. This survey thus provides information on the customers of tourist services. In quarterly telephone interviews, up to 2500 travelers are asked about travel destination, number of overnight stays and travel expenses.

Tourism marketing

Tourism marketing traditionally began with the local "tourist office" (later "Tourist Info"), which developed from "local beautification associations" or interest groups (hoteliers, mountain guide associations) as early as the turn of the century and especially in the 1920s, during the reconstruction of Europe and the internationalization of travel as visitor management, and since the 1960s as advertising in the classic media. In recent years, tourism marketing has also increasingly become a concern of state economic development and is closely linked to spatial planning and location marketing. Most states have their own offices for tourism affairs and market their country name as a brand and destination themselves. The most important communication medium with potential or actual guests are the corresponding web portals of institutions, tourism companies and umbrella associations. In addition to information on the location and the region and on current circumstances (such as weather, snow, lake temperature, events and the like) the possibility is also on these websites often offer, offers online to book . If necessary, marketers own a commercial travel agency in order to be able to meet all guest wishes when making bookings .

Information about marketing structures and campaigns can often be found on the B2B websites of tourism marketing organizations .

Structures and organization


  • Association Internationale d'Experts Scientifiques du Tourisme (AIEST)
  • Alliance Internationale de Tourisme (AIT)
  • Bureau International du Tourisme Social (BITS)
  • Fédération mondiale du thermalisme (FEMTEC)
  • Federation of International Youth Travel Organizations (FIYTO)
  • International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)
  • International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO)
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • Universal Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA)
  • World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)


  • European Travel Commission (ETC)
  • European Cities' Marketing (ECM)


Official tourism advertising organizations have recently been referred to in the industry as Destination Marketing Organizations or Destination Management Organizations (DMO) .

Jost Krippendorf defines:

" Marketing in tourism is the systematic and coordinated orientation of the corporate policy of tourism companies as well as the private and state tourism policy of the local, regional, national and international level in order to best satisfy the needs of certain consumer groups while achieving a reasonable profit"

Paul Bernecker recognized that tourism, due to its strong economic interdependence with a largely capital-intensive structure, is forced to control its economic environment in view of the ever shorter amortization periods. This is most likely to happen with marketing methods and tools.

Destination marketing organizations at the national level are

In Switzerland, in addition to Switzerland Tourism, there is the Swiss Tourism Association (STV), which represents the interests of tourism at the political and economic level, and lobbies . In addition, the Basel specialist organization, the Tourism and Development Working Group, provides the latest facts and figures from a development perspective on the economic importance of tourism on the travel portal “Fair on the move”.

In addition, there are national interest groups such as the Federation of the German Tourism Industry ( Bundesverband der Deutschen Tourismuswirtschaft - BTW ), the organizations of the tour operators (for example the United States Tour Operators Association - USTOA ), the travel agencies (for example the German Travel Agency Association - DRV ) as the umbrella organization of the German tourism industry. , travel agents , hoteliers ( e.g. Austrian Hotelier Association - ÖHV ), bus operators ( e.g. Ring deutscher Autobusunternehmer - RDA ), guides, hotel porters ( Les Clefs d'Or ), cable car operators, restaurants and entertainment companies.

The legal regulations (special tourism laws and other economic - trade - as well as relevant trade law , traffic law and labor law ), tourism policy , the interests of public administration (e.g. in ministries with competencies for tourism, in some states also explicit tourism ministries ) are coordinated nationally. as well as tourism promotion .

Regional and local

Tourist office Tübingen

At the regional and local level, tourism associations (TV, formerly “tourism associations”, FFV) of the municipalities and regions are often interest groups and marketing organizations; they generally operate the information and inquiry points for guests at the travel destination, usually known as tourist information . The respective institution coordinates supply, demand, time and advertising plans as well as the marketing of the offer and often brings together all interest groups involved. In many places, departments of city and regional administrations function as tourism offices (DMO, Destination Marketing Organization ), and these are increasingly run as public companies . In the USA, Convention and Visitor Bureaus  (CVB) function in this way. In Europe such organizations are usually called Tourist Board in English .

Associations and associations are often based on a legal basis ( tourism legislation , regional planning , official statistics ), some of which can also determine the legal form (under public law, under private law under the Association Act, under private law under the GesmbH Act). The respective institution represents a tourist municipality or a tourist region . This is based on voluntary cooperation or cooperation between several neighboring municipalities achieved by the state through the control of funding sources.

There are also other touristic-oriented private companies and associations (for example umbrella associations of tourism players, professional associations of tour guides, beautification associations ), regional hotel associations, direct marketing cooperatives).

Tourism fairs

Important international trade fairs for tourism.

The more intensively a DMO works directly on the source markets it defines for its guest traffic, the less it is dependent on trade fair contacts. For many DMOs, however, tourism trade fairs are an inexpensive method of establishing and maintaining contact with (potential) business partners abroad, despite the Internet.

Tourism professions and training

Training centers and study locations in Germany

In Germany, tourism can usually be studied as a focus within business administration , within the framework of geography or as a separate degree in tourism / tourism or tourism management or tourism business administration. The subject areas are offered in some universities and training institutions with teaching modules from leisure and event management.

Degree programs (Bachelor)

Degree programs (Master)

There are also numerous other universities that offer a corresponding academic degree or supplementary courses.

Training courses

In several federal states in Germany there is also comprehensive and practice-oriented tourism education at vocational schools. It usually lasts 2 years and ends with the final state examination to become a tourist assistant . The training occupations travel agent or tourism agent (since 2011) and agent for tourism and leisure are defined by nationwide training regulations. In Bavaria there is a full-time school education as a state-certified assistant for hotel and tourism management with simultaneous acquisition of the technical college entrance qualification, for example in Wiesau . A German qualification at master level is the certified tourism specialist , which is obtained through an IHK examination.

Training in Austria

In Austria there is the technical college for economic professions and the higher educational institute for economic professions , as well as the Tourismusschulen Bad Gleichenberg [higher educational institute for tourism], which aims among other things for tourism professions , especially the higher federal educational institute for tourism in Krems and the tourism schools in Salzkammergut Bad Ischl , the Semmering Tourism Schools ( HLT ) in Semmering , as well as their own hotel management schools , in particular the Salzburg Tourism Schools with locations in Salzburg- Klessheim , Bischofshofen and Bad Hofgastein , Bad Gleichenberg Tourism Schools (Styria), Villa Blanka Tourism Schools (Tyrol), Carinthian Tourism School in Villach, Tourism Schools Semmering (Lower Austria) and the Hertha Firnberg Schools in Vienna- Donaustadt and the Neue Wassermanngasse. In the tertiary education sector there are courses in Vienna ( University of Applied Sciences Vienna , Module University Vienna ), Salzburg ( University of Applied Sciences Salzburg / Urstein , course in innovation and management in tourism), Innsbruck ( Management Center Innsbruck ), Linz and Fürstenfeld (postgraduate course in tourism management, Johannes Kepler University Linz) .

Tourism research

The scientific discussion of the phenomenon of tourism is relatively new. Nonetheless, in a short period of time it has spawned a whole range of specialized disciplines, the most important of which include tourism geography, sociology, psychology, economics and history. Tourism science itself is already the subject of historical observation and is closely related to the sociology of leisure .

In 1941 the Research Institute for Tourism (FIF) was founded at the University of Bern and the Seminar for Tourism at the University of St. Gallen . The first joint study by Walter Hunziker and Kurt Krapf in 1942 - General Tourism Studies - was already structured on an interdisciplinary basis and is still considered a standard work.

Jost Krippendorf , the former FIF director and first head of the IKAÖ, triggered an ecological discussion in tourism with his book Die Landschaftsfresser (1975).

In 2007 the internet portal was developed for the export of Austrian tourism know-how on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor and started in April of that year.

Legal position of tourists

Most of the provisions that influence the legal position of tourists are part of private law (in Austria: civil law), i. H. to the rules to be contractually agreed between the traveler and the service provider. In order to protect the weaker contractual partner, the traveler, the consumer protection law of his country of residence is usually mandatory. Consumer protection organizations check the "small print" of bookings and occasionally bring representative actions against unfair clauses.

In Europe, the European Union has improved consumer protection in tourism with the following regulations:

  • On the basis of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of February 11, 2004, airlines are now obliged to make compensation payments to passengers in the event of major flight delays or the cancellation of a flight.
  • The amount of tolls on toll roads in the EU must not be set arbitrarily and may be subject to control by the EU Commission (for example, Slovenia was warned because no motorway vignette was offered for holidaymakers passing through and they had to buy a six-month vignette.)
  • The ECJ has thus decreed that favorable admission fees for locals (as they were common, for example, in some Austrian municipalities in swimming pools and ski lifts) contrary to Community law and are not permitted.
  • As part of the EU's common foreign and security policy, it was agreed that tourists traveling outside the EU would be given assistance by diplomatic missions from other EU member states if the traveler's country of residence does not have a representation in the country concerned.
  • In the Schengen Agreement , to which the majority of the EU Member States as well as Norway , Switzerland and Iceland have signed, checks on persons at the internal borders of the Schengen area have been abolished. Travelers can now cross these internal borders at any point (although they must still carry their passport or identity card).

In Germany and Austria, legal regulations oblige tour operators to finance a fund that can be used to pay for the home transport of guests in the event of their insolvency.

Under Swiss debt enforcement and bankruptcy law , arrest can be granted against people who are in transit “for claims which by their nature are to be met immediately” (Art. 271 Para. 1 Z. 3 DEBA).

Tourists who go to unsafe areas can expect their country of residence to participate in their rescue from hostage-taking, medical care and transport home. However, they must expect that the state will require them to pay at least part of the costs it has incurred - especially if the danger they have put themselves into was generally known beforehand.

See also


  • Anneliese Donhauser: Trend branch tourism . Education and Knowledge Verlag, Nuremberg 2004, ISBN 978-3-8214-7635-3 .
  • Axel Dreyer & Arnd Krüger : Sports tourism. Munich: Oldenbourg 1995, ISBN 3-486-23099-9 .
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger : "In vain surf in the distance. A theory of tourism". in: Merkur 12 (1958). Pp. 701-720.
  • Ernst Spatt: General Tourism Studies . Inn-Verlag, Innsbruck 1975, ISBN 3-85123-018-3 .
  • Furthermore, Müller, Zolles: Marketing practice in tourism . ORAC Verlag Wien, ISBN 3-7015-0182-3 , 1989 and later editions.
  • Hans Högl: I'm not a tourist, I live here. Tourist communities under stress . Verlag für Ethik und Gesellschaft, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-900944-15-6 .
  • Hans-Jörg Weber: The paradox of city tourism: between mass tourism and individuality: A study on tourist practices and mobility using GPS and questionnaire data as well as travel guide literature using the example of the city of Berlin. Mensch und Buch Verlag, Berlin 2012. ISBN 3-86387-261-4 .
  • Harald Pechlaner, Frieda Raich (ed.): Hospitality and hospitality in tourism . Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-503-10031-6 .
  • Marcus Spangenberg / Bernhard Lübbers (eds.): Dream castles? The buildings of Ludwig II as tourism and advertising objects. Peter Morsbach, Regensburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-937527-83-3 .
  • Josef Steinbach: Tourism . Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag , 2002, ISBN 978-3-486-27308-3 .
  • Voyage. Yearbook for Travel & Tourism Research , Munich / Vienna (since 1997).
  • Walter Kiefl, Reinhard Bachleitner: Lexicon for the sociology of tourism , Profil Verlag Munich 2005, ISBN 3-89019-542-3 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Tourism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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