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Introduction to tourism

Defining tourism is not a simple matter, as it is a complex industry made up of many different businesses, the common theme being that they provide products and services to tourists/visitors.

Family sitting on grass at Trelissick Garden, Cornwall, England, UK

If a trip’s main purpose is business/professional, it is often subdivided into two further categories - 'attending meetings, conferences or congresses, trade fairs and exhibitions' and 'other business and professional purposes'.

Types of tourism

There are three basic forms of tourism: domestic tourism, inbound tourism, and outbound tourism.

Domestic tourism refers to activities of a visitor within their country of residence and outside of their home (e.g. a Brit visiting other parts of Britain).

Inbound tourism refers to the activities of a visitor from outside of country of residence (e.g. a Spaniard visiting Britain).

Outbound tourism refers to the activities of a resident visitor outside of their country of residence (e.g. a Brit visiting an overseas country).

The tourism industry in Britain is primarily a private sector industry , consisting of around 200,000 businesses, some very large including international hotel groups and airlines, as well as small and medium sized businesses, industry groups and bodies.

Domestic tourism is the core of businesses revenue (generally at least 80%, particularly outside of London), with demand peaking during the school holidays, particular Easter and Summer. Dealing with the demands of international visitors requires specialist knowledge, cultural understanding and investment.

Most UK statistics separate spending and volume of day visitors from overnight tourists. VisitBritain’s statistics and research reports focus on overseas visitors who come to Britain.

For domestic statistics (ie. data on people from within Britain who visit another location in Britain) get in touch with the tourism organisations for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London . 

What are tourism products?

'Tourism product' covers a number of different categories including:

The travel trade

It is useful to distinguish between trips which are booked directly and those which are booked via third parties such as the travel trade. The travel trade acts as an intermediary between visitors and tourism products. The travel trade has multiple purchasing power. One tour operator can make arrangements on behalf of hundreds of other people.

The growth of the internet means that more people are now booking their trips directly, either online or by phone after researching on the internet. However, the travel trade still plays a major role, particularly in longer-haul markets or where visitors have more complex travel arrangements.

The travel trade are likely to bring both individuals and groups to Britain. Take a look at our working with the travel trade section to find out more.

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See more about how inbound tourism is performing in Britain

Learn more about Britain's competitiveness

Get a breakdown of how individual markets and segments are performing

See how domestic overnight tourism is performing in England

Learn more about the size and value of the English Tourism market

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main types of tourism


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Types of Tourism in The World

Category: Travel

Date: February 18, 2023

Types of Tourism in The World

Travel and tourism have become an essential part of our life as it refreshes the mind and reduces stress. It is also one of the fastest-growing industry which makes a significant contribution to the world’s GDP.

Tourism sector keeps evolving from the basics types like domestic tourism, inbound tourism, and outbound tourism.

What are the Types of Tourism?

The tourism realm is vast comprising numerous types. From birth tourism and space tourism to garden tourism and beyond, the array of options available to travelers is truly remarkable.

As a travel agency, incorporating this diverse array of tourism types into your offerings is a surefire way to achieve desirable results. Showcasing a wealth of options and catering to a wide range of travelers can capture prospective travelers.

Many experts predict that the tourism industry will recover gradually over the next few years. The UNWTO , for example, projects that international tourist arrivals will reach 1.5 billion by 2025, a significant increase compared to the all-time low of around 880 million in 2020.

63 Types of Tourism in the World

The diversity of tourism ensures that there is something for everyone to do. In this blog, we have listed the various types of tourism in the world. Travelers can take advantage of this blog to plan their next adventure, whereas travel agencies and tour operators can use this information to pull out strategies and grow your business .

1. Adventure Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Adventure Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Adventure tourism involves the exploration of remote places where travelers can expect the unexpected. It involves connecting with a new culture or new landscape and at the same time being physically active. Some of the adventure tourism activities involve day hiking, backpacking, zip lining, free fall, rafting, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding.

2. Accessible Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Accessible Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Accessible tourism ensures people get access to tourist destinations, products and services regardless of physical limitations, disabilities or age. This tourism market was promoted through the research commissioned by the European Commission where the stakeholders provided insights on the complexities involved in accessible tourism. The European Network for Accessible Tourism has facilities such as barrier-free destinations, activities, exhibits, attractions and more.

3. Agritourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Agritourism) - ColorWhistle

Agritourism or agrotourism tourism normally occurs on farms. It gives travelers an opportunity to experience rural life, taste the local genuine food and get familiar with various farming tasks. This type of tourism is also referred to as farm stays in Italy. Some of the types of agritourism are direct market agritourism, experience and education agritourism, and event and recreation agritourism.

4. Alternative Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Alternative Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Alternative tourism, also known as specific interest tourism (SIT) involves travel that encourages interaction with local government, people and communities. Many travelers choose alternative tourism because they love nature and want to preserve it. Some of the approaches by alternative tourism involve ecotourism, adventure tourism, rural tourism, sustainable tourism, solidarity tourism, etc.

5. Atomic Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Atomic Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Atomic tourism has recently emerged where tourists learn about the atomic age by traveling to sites such as museums with atomic weapons, missile silos, vehicles that carried atomic weapons. Some of the top atomic tourist sites in the world are The Trinity Site, Doom Town, The Titan Missile Museum, Hanford B Reactor, Los Alamos, The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Enola Gay, Chernobyl and Pripyat, Hiroshima, Bikini Atoll and Malan Military Expo Park.

6. Benefit Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Benefit Tourism) - ColorWhistle

According to Medical Dictionary, ‘’A popular term for a non-British citizen (e.g., from the EU) who comes to the UK to live off social security and other entitlements, including child benefit, child tax credit, state pension credit, jobseeker’s allowance, and employment and support allowance.’’ These benefits are only afforded to those who meet the UK’s “right-to-reside” test.

7. Birth Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Birth Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Birth tourism also known as maternity tourism is the practice of traveling to another country for giving birth. The main reason for this practice is to obtain birthright citizenship. Other reasons include access to public schooling, healthcare and sponsorship for the parents. Some of the countries that give citizenship by birthright include United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Jamaica, and Uruguay.

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8. Boat Sharing

Travel & Tourism Types (Boat sharing) - ColorWhistle

Boatsharing is the act of sharing boats with other people who want to go to the same place. They split the cost of boat, captain or skipper cost. Some of the famous boatsharing associations in the world are Boatide, Sailbox, Bootschaft, Steamboat, Antlos and Boatshare.

9. Booze Cruise

Travel & Tourism Types (Booze Cruise) - ColorWhistle

Booze cruise is a brief trip from Britain to France or Belgium with the intention of buying personal supplies such as alcohol or tobacco in bulk. This is legally acceptable and must not be confused with smuggling. In other countries, this term is used for an outing on a ship or boat which involves a significant amount of drinking.

10. Business Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Business Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Business tourism involves traveling to a destination away from home or a normal workplace. It is a type of travel for professional purposes rather than personal. Some types of business tourism are incentive travel, exhibitions & trade fairs, conferences & meetings, and corporate events.

11. Birdwatching

Travel & Tourism Types (Bird Watching) - ColorWhistle

Birdwatching is observing birds in their natural habitat. These birds are observed with the naked eye or visual enhancement devices such as binoculars, telescopes and listening devices. The world’s top birdwatching destinations are South Georgia Island; Cape May, New Jersey; Patanlal, Brazil; Broome, Western Australia; New Guinea Highlands; Nagaland, India; Kakum National Park, Ghana; Mindo, Ecuador; Hula Valley, Israel; and Kruger National Park; South Africa.

12. Camping

Travel & Tourism Types (Camping) - ColorWhistle

Camping is a famous outdoor activity that involves an overnight stay in a tent or recreational vehicle. It is considered as an inexpensive accommodation option. A minimum of one night is spent, distinguishing it from day-tripping, picnics, and other short-term recreational activities. There is also one more luxurious type of camping called Glamping. Some of the famous camping types are tent camping, backpacking/hiking, survivalist camping, canoe camping, RV and van camping.

13. Culinary Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Culinary Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Culinary tourism or food tourism is for food enthusiasts who love to explore new food destinations. This is a welcome change from the standard travel itinerary as the trip involves the opportunity to learn new cooking techniques or attend a food tasting. Some of the top culinary tourism destinations in the world are Italy, Spain, Dubai, Thailand, India, Tokyo, Bangkok, Japan, Peru, Ethiopia and New Orleans.

14. Cultural Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Cultural Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Cultural tourism is where travelers engage with a country or religion’s culture, especially the lifestyle and other elements that shaped the life of the people. Tourists get immersed with related activities such as rituals and festivals. Some of the popular cultural tourism destinations in the world are Madagascar; Lombok, Indonesia; Latvia; Haida Gwaii, British Columbia; Northern Sri Lanka; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Aristi, Greece; Western Cape, South Africa and Tamil Nadu, India.

15. Dental Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Dental Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Dental tourism or dental vacation involves people seeking dental care out of their local healthcare system. It may also be accompanied by a vacation. In developed countries like USA and Canada, dental care is expensive. So, dental tourists travel for low-cost dental care. Some of the famous dental tourism destinations include Mexico, Thailand, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Hungary, Romania and India.

16. Disaster Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Disaster Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Disaster tourism or dark/black/grief tourism involves visiting environmental disaster places that are either natural or man-made. People are attracted to this type of tourism because of its social, academic or cultural essence. Some of the most famous disaster tourism spots in the world are Hurricane Katrina, Pompeii, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, Nevada National Security Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial and 9/11 Memorial.

17. Domestic Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Domestic Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Domestic tourism involves residents of a country traveling within the same country. For example, if you are living in Manhattan and travel to Texas, it is called domestic tourism.

18. Recreational Drug Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Drug Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Recreational drug tourism is a type of travel for the purpose of using recreational drugs that are unavailable, illegal or expensive. These types of tourists may cross a national border to obtain a drug that is not sold in their country. Some of the popular destinations where recreational drug tourism is thriving are Peru, Morocco, Colombia, Colorado, Netherlands, Bolivia and Laos.

19. Enotourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Enotourism) - ColorWhistle

Enotourism, oenotourism, wine tourism, or vinitourism involves tasting, consumption or purchase of wine. These tourists visit wineries, taste wine, go on vineyard walks or even take part in the harvest. Some of the world’s top destinations for wine tastings are France, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, Moldova and Chile.

20. Escorted Tour

Travel & Tourism Types (Escorted Tour) - ColorWhistle

An escorted tour is a type of tourism where travelers are guided in groups. Usually, it is a walking tour where a guide takes the group to historical or cultural sites. Under escorted tours, the guide or agency will take care of all the planning. Travelers can sit relax and enjoy the trip knowing that they are doing the best of everything.

21. Experiential Travel

Travel & Tourism Types (Experiential Travel) - ColorWhistle

Experiential travel or immersion travel is a tourism type where travelers experience a country by enthusiastically engaging with its history, people, culture and food. Some of the famous experiential travel trips are exploring Cuban culture, tag sharks in the Exumas, crossing the Antarctic Circle, catapult at 3Gs in Nevis Vally, safari in Tanzania, visiting Nomadic Herders and Reindeer, trek to the Tiger’s Nest and swimming with whale sharks in Mexico.

22. Experimental Travel

Travel & Tourism Types (Experimental Travel) - ColorWhistle

Experimental Tourism is an approach where travelers don’t visit the places of ordinary attraction. This type of tourism involves humor, serendipity, and chance. Some of the experimental travel types include flying by night, slow-return travel, alphabet travel, twelve travel, blind travel, find your other half travel and Vacilando.

23. Extreme Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Extreme Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Extreme tourism or shock tourism involves traveling to dangerous places such as mountains, jungles, deserts, caves, canyons etc. The main attraction is the adrenaline rush caused by the risk. Some extreme tourist attractions in the world are cage of death in Australia, cliff jumping in Norway, Iguazu boat ride in Brazil, CN tower edge walking in Toronto, volcano bungee in Chile, zorbing in New Zeland, and El Caminito Del Rey Trekking in Spain.

main types of tourism

24. Ecotourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Ecotourism) - ColorWhistle

Ecotourism involves visiting undisturbed natural areas. It promotes conserving the environment and improving the well-being of local people. Some of the best ecotourism destinations in the world are Alaska, The Amazon, Antarctica, Australian Blue Mountains, Borneo, Botswana, Costa Rica, Dominica, Galapagos Islands and Himalayas.

25. Fashion Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Fashion Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Fashion tourism involves visiting a particular place to enjoy, experiment, discover, study, trade and buy fashion. It evolved out of creative tourism, cultural tourism and shopping tourism sectors. The top fashion destinations in the world are New York, Paris, Barcelona, London, Rome, Milan, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Berlin and Toronto.

26. Garden Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Garden Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Garden tourism is a niche tourism which involves traveling to botanical gardens and places that has a rich history of gardening. Famous gardens which attracts tourists around the world are Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Stourhead, Versailles, Giverny, Villandry, Rivau, Keukenhof, Villa d’Este, Villa Lante, Alhambra, Longwood Gardens, Filoli, Taj Mahal and Ryōan-ji.

27. Genealogy Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Genealogy Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Genealogy tourism or roots tourism involves tourists who travel to their ancestral place to reconnect with their past or to walk in the footsteps of their forefathers. It is a worldwide industry and prominent in countries that have experienced mass immigration.

28. Geotourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Geo Tourism) - ColorWhistle

According to National Geographic, Geotourism sustains or enhances the distinctive geographical character of a place—its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the well-being of its residents. Top geotourism destinations in the world are Tennessee River Valley, Sierra Nevada. Scenic, Wild Delaware River, Heart of the Continent, Crown of the Continent, Lakes to Locks Passage, Sedona Verde Valley, Four Corners and Bahamas.

29. Halal Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Halal Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Halal tourism is geared towards Muslim families who follow the rules of Islam. The accommodation service providers in such destinations do not serve alcohol and have a separate swimming pool and spa facilities for men and women. Famous Halal tourism destinations in the world are Malaysia, UAE, Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan and Qatar.

30. Honeymoon Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Honeymoon Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Honeymoon tourism is taken soon after a couple is married. Generally, newlyweds spend more on this than any other type of tourism. Popular honeymoon destinations in the world are Cappadocia, Turkey; Harbour Island, Bahamas; Harbour Island, Bahamas; Livingstone, Zambia; Pacuare River, Costa Rica; Sintra, Portugal; Sintra, Portugal; Railay, Thailand; and Torres del Paine, Chile.

31. Industrial Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Industrial Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Industrial tourism are visits to industrial sites of a particular location. This concept has taken a renewed interest in recent times and attracts tourists to visit industrial heritage and modern sites. Some of the popular industrial tourism destinations in the world are Kawasaki, Japan; Saint-Nazaire, France; Belle Isle, United States; Bataan, Philippines; and Munich, Germany.

32. International Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Industrial Tourism) - ColorWhistle

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) defines tourism as ‘traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes’. This tourism has increased due to the impact of greater globalization. Some of the popular international tourism destinations are France, Spain, United States, China, Italy, Mexico, Germany, Thailand and United Kingdom.

33. International Volunteering

Travel & Tourism Types (International Tourism) - ColorWhistle

International volunteering also known as voluntourism is where people work for an organization or cause outside their home country. According to recent trends, this type of tourism has become popular in many countries. Famous international tourism destinations in the world are Thailand, Cambodia, India, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tanzania, Morocco and Ghana.

34. Jungle Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Jungle Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Jungle tourism is a subcategory of adventure tourism which is nothing but traveling to the jungle regions of the earth. The top jungle tourism destinations in the world are The Jungles of Kipling, The Jungles of Borneo, The Brazilian Amazon, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Tarzan’s Africa, The Wild Jungles of Papua New Guinea, Christmas Island’s Crazy Wildlife, Ancient Waipoua Forest, Peru Cloud Forest and Monteverde Cloud Forest.

35. Justice Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Justice Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Justice tourism or solidarity tourism aims to create economic opportunities for local communities, positive cultural exchange and political/historical education. This may overlap with revolutionary tourism. It is particularly promoted in Bosnia and Palestine.

36. LGBT Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (LGBT Tourism) - ColorWhistle

LGBT tourism is a form of niche tourism marketed to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. These tourists usually open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, travel to LGBT friendly destinations and travel with other LGBT people irrespective of destination. The top LGBT tourism destinations are Montreal, Brno, Myanmar, New York, New York, Thailand, Chicago, Sitges, Tel Aviv, Puerto Rico, Taipei, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro and Saba.

37. Libel Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Libel Tourism) - ColorWhistle

According to Dictionary.com, the act of suing a writer for alleged defamation in a foreign jurisdiction where there are weak libel laws. England, Singapore, New Zealand, Kyrgyzstan and Australia are popular libel tourism destinations.

38. Literary Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Literary Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Literary tourism deals with tourists visiting birthplaces, burial sites, museums and other sites associated with authors or literary creations. Some scholars refer to this as a contemporary type of secular pilgrimage. Popular literary tourism destinations are London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Edinburgh, Dublin, New York, Concord, Paris, San Francisco, Rome and St Petersburg, Russia.

39. Militarism Heritage Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Militarism Heritage Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Militarism heritage tourism is a type of tourism where people visit former military sites. Some of the famous militarism heritage tourism locations are World War (I, II), Pacific Wars, Holocaust remembrance, American Revolution and more.

40. Motorcycle Touring

Travel & Tourism Types (Motorcycle Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Motorcycle touring involves a motorcycle. Tourists either buy or rent bikes that are equipped for long travel and luggage carrying capacity. Some of the popular motorcycle riding spots in the world are Leh & Ladakh, Ceuta to Marrakesh loop, Pyrenees Loop, Cape Town Circuit, Dales and Moors, Istanbul to Anatolia, Chasing Che, Tibet to Everest and Australia’s Great Ocean Road.

41. Music Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Music Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Music tourism involves visiting a city or town to see musical festival or music performance. In recent years, music tourism has transformed into a massive global phenomenon. Popular destinations for music tourism are Liverpool, Havana, Pune, Trinidad and Tobago, Tokyo, Vienna, Asheville, Essaouira and Berlin.

42. Medical Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Medical Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Medical tourism refers to people traveling to another country to get medical treatment. People from developed countries travel to developing countries to get low-priced medical treatment. Popular medical tourism destinations in the world are India, Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore.

43. Nautical Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Nautical Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Nautical tourism combines sailing and boating with vacation activities. It also encompasses marine tourism activities such as sailing, yachting, cruising and diving, coastal water sports, boat shows and more. Some of the world’s top nautical tourism destinations are Croatia, Netherlands, Australia, South America and the United States.

44. Political Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Political Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Political tourism refers to journeys taken with political intent. Such trips involve traveling to the areas of conflict to study the circumstances, understand the situations of both sides and develop knowledge about local history. Some of the popular political tourism destinations are Israel, Palestine and Africa.

45. Religious Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Religious Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Religious tourism, also known as faith tourism refers to traveling individually or in groups to holy sites. These sites are also visited by non-religious tourists who want to know the cultural, historical and religious significance. Famous religious tourism destinations in the world are Shwedagon Pagoda, Basilica of San Vitale, MECCA, Harmandir Sahib, Temple of Heaven, Bahá’í Gardens, The Vatican, Wat Rong Khun, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Paro Taktsang, Spanish Synagogue, and Jerusalem

46. River Cruise

Travel & Tourism Types (River Cruise Tourism) - ColorWhistle

River cruise is a voyage along inland waterways which has several port stops along the way. Typically, travel time lasts longer than a week. Some of the world’s popular river cruise are River Nile cruise, Amazon river cruise, Yangtze river cruise, Danube river cruise, Mekong river cruise, Rhine river cruise, Volga river Cruise, Kerala backwaters cruise, Mississippi river cruise and Douro cruise.

47. Romance Tours

Travel & Tourism Types (Romance Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Romance tours are organized by tour operators where men go to countries to meet women for either romance or marriage. These types of tour first took place in Russia and the CIA, but recently moved to other parts of the world such as South America and Asia.

48. Rural Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Rural Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Rural tourism occurs in rural environments and involves rural experience. Tourists visit these places to understand the lifestyle of these people. Some of the popular rural tourism destinations are Pielachtal, Dirndl, Durbuy, Sveti Martin na Muri, Troodos, Florina, Örség, Clonakilty District, Specchia, Kuldiga, Theerthamalai and Nadur

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49. Safari Holidays

Travel & Tourism Types (Safari Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Safari holidays involve watching wild animals in their natural habitat to observe and photograph wildlife. It generates the most number of revenues in several African countries. Popular safari destinations in the world are Victoria Falls, Serengeti National Park, Kruger National Park, Masai Mara National Reserve, Ngorongoro Crater, Addor Elephant National Park, Tarangire National Park, Amboseli National Park, Sabi Sands Game Reserve and Chobe National Park.

50. Science Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Science Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Science tourism is visiting and exploring scientific landmarks such as museums, laboratories, observatories and universities. It also includes viewing scientific events such as solar eclipse. Top scientific tourism destinations in the world are The Long Now 10,000 Year Clock, Nevada’s Solar System in Black Rock, Hobby-Eberly Telescope, Large Hadron Collider, Tesla’s laboratories, Blood Falls, Antarctica’s Dry Valleys and SpaceX Research Facility.

51. Self-Guided Tour

Travel & Tourism Types (Self Guided Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Self-guided tour or self-governing tour or solo trips is a type of tour where the traveler is responsible for getting from point A to point B on their own. They travel based on information such as maps, instructions and suggestions provided by tourist attractions. Some of the popular types of self-guided tours are walking tours, cycling tours and cross-country skiing.

52. Set-Jetting

Travel & Tourism Types (Set-Jetting) - ColorWhistle

Set-jetting is the latest trend that involves traveling to destinations that are seen in movies. Visiting stately homes like in the Jane Austin movies, touring London in high-speed boats like James Bond are good examples. Top set-jetting destinations in the world are Breaking Bad (New Mexico), Harry Potter (England) and The Wire (USA). there is also one more type of tourism called Tolkien tourism where fans of the Lord Of The Rings universe travel to the sites of the film, especially in New Zealand.

53. Slum Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Slum Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Slum tourism or ghetto tourism involves visiting impoverished areas. The purpose of this tourism is to provide tourists a chance to see the ‘non-touristy’ areas of a country. Some of the top slum tourism destinations in the world are South Africa, India, Brazil, Poland, Kenya, Philippines and others.

54. Space Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Space Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Space tourism involves traveling into space for recreational purposes. Even though this sounds futuristic, it has already established history. A Russian Space Agency has already facilitated successful orbital space tourism. The different types of space tourism are orbital, suborbital and lunar.

55. Sports Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Sports Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Sports tourism involves either observing or participating in a sporting event. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors and equates to $7.68 billion. Sports tourism is also classified into sports event tourism, celebrity and nostalgia sport tourism and active sport tourism. Normally, tourists are attracted to events such as the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, F1 Grand Prix, World Tennis Championship, BWF World Championships and Cricket World Cup.

56. Stag Party Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Stag Party Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Stag party tourism is participating in a bachelor party which is usually held in another country. Some of the famous stag party tourism destinations are Central Europe and the Baltics, Amsterdam, UK and Spain.

57. Sustainable Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Sustinable Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Sustainable tourism or responsible tourism involves traveling to a place in order to make a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. It benefits everyone involved and not just one half of the equation. The top sustainable tourism destinations in the world are the Republic of Guyana, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Portugal, Chumbe Island in Tanzania, Bardia National Park and Ecuador’s Galapagos National Park.

58. Three-Dimensional Virtual Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (3DVT Tourism) - ColorWhistle

3DVT or 3D virtual tourism allows travellers to explore a place without physically travelling via a smartphone or computer. Such type of tours are created with 3D models and 2D panoramic images, a sequence of hyperlinked still or video images, and image-based models of the real world along with sound effects and text.

59. Tombstone Tourist

Travel & Tourism Types (Tombstone Tourist) - ColorWhistle

Tombstone tourist is an individual who enjoys history of famous deaths, cemeteries, epitaphs and gravestone rubbing. Such type of tourists are particularly interested in the historical aspect of such places.

60. War Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (War Tourism) - ColorWhistle

War tourism involves travelling to war zones for sightseeing or historical study. Such types of tourists get the thrill in travelling to dangerous and forbidden places. Some of the top war tourism destinations in the world are Baghdad, Iraq; Damascus, Syria; Mogadishu, Somalia; Gaza, Palestine, Kashmir, India; Jonglei and Upper Nile, South Sudan; Tripoli, Libya; Central African Republic; Kabul, Afghanistan; and Yemen.

61. Water Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Water Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Water tourism or nautical tourism combines sailing and boating with vacation & holiday. When people plan to travel on a vacation, many have a strong desire to head to the water. Some of the popular water tourism destinations in the world are Rome, The Grand Canyon, Indonasia, New York, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Peru, Mumbai, Turkey, Australia. and Netherlands.

62. Wellness Tourism

Travel & Tourism Types (Wellness Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Wellness tourism involves travelling to promote health via physical, psychological, or spiritual activities. This should not be confused with medical tourism because wellness tourists travel to maintain their health. The top wellness tourism destinations in the world are India, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, California, Bali, Italy and Hawaii.

63. Whale Watching

Travel & Tourism Types (Whale Tourism) - ColorWhistle

Whale watching involves observing whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. Tourists visit such places for scientific and educational purposes.

The top whale watching places in the world are Seattle, USA; Kaikoura, New Zealand; Maui, Hawaii; Hermanus, South Africa; Big Sur, California; Galle, Sri Lanka; Husavik, Iceland; Los Cabos, Mexico; Quebec, Canada; and The Azores, Portugal.

What Are The Industries Related to Travel and Tourism?

Depending on the nature of travel, tourists are in need of certain facilities and services. Thus travel and tourism represent a broad range of related industries. They are,

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From fascinating design, secure payment and online bookings our highly professional and talented team can take care of all your needs. If you like to learn more about travel, take a look at our detailed travel resource library which has many useful information for travel agents, travel operators and people in the travel business.

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Did we miss any other type of tourism in our blog? Do share them in the comments section below.

Disclaimer – All the images in this blog belong to pexels.com. ColorWhistle does not own them.

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About the Author - Anjana

Anjana is a full-time Copywriter at ColorWhistle managing content-related projects. She writes about website technologies, digital marketing, and industries such as travel. Plus, she has an unhealthy addiction towards online marketing, watching crime shows, and chocolates.

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Hii very good article thanks keep doing the good work.

Thank you for reading!

OMG 😳 U DID A GREATEST WORK today i got to know theeeeeeese types tourism all over the world Thank you so much

thank you, helped with my class work 🙂

No 47 Romance Tours, never would’ve known that was a reason to travel the world.

Business is so fun with these sites as we all had a laugh with all the different types of tourism

Nice article, Anjana !

A comprehensive article, Anjana !


very informative

This is an interesting topic. I would like to travel again and I think that the river tourism may be the one for me! Thank you for the options.

Thank you for Your information.

Thank you Anjana! this was a really cool article!

thank you this helped a lot with my class work

Thanks for your good information From India ❤️

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8 types of tourism that you need to know

19 Jan 2023 8 MIN READ

Brought to you by TravelPerk , the #1 business travel platform.

The travel and tourism industry is a major contributor to local economies in many countries. Prior to the pandemic, the tourism sector accounted for 10.3% of global GDP , and is on track to recover.

But what are the different forms of tourism? How is each one defined?

In this article, we’ll look at 8 of the main types of tourism and also at the classification of the UNWTO (UN’s World Tourism Organization), which divides tourism into three main categories: domestic, inbound, and outbound tourism.

Let’s dive in.

The three tourism categories

Broadly speaking, there are three main forms of tourism based on the destination and country of departure, according to the UNWTO: domestic tourism, inbound tourism, and outbound tourism.

Domestic tourism

Domestic tourism is defined as traveling within your own country of residence, either for business or leisure purposes.

It’s usually much easier to organize than international travel, since you don’t need additional paperwork, health checks, and you can simply take a domestic flight, bus, or train ride to your destination. For example, if you live in London and go to Manchester for the weekend, this is domestic tourism.

Language barriers and culture shock are also not a factor in domestic tourism (at least not in the majority of cases), making it less stressful.

Inbound tourism

When you enter another country, this is inbound tourism for the destination country. For example, if you travel from the USA to Spain, this is inbound tourism for Spain.

Inbound tourism is also a form of international tourism. This means that you need to prepare all necessary paperwork in advance, as well as take care of additional formalities as needed, such as vaccinations and health checks.

Outbound tourism

In outbound tourism, you go from your own country to another one. If we take the same example as in the previous section, if you go from the USA to Spain, this is outbound tourism for the USA, since you’re leaving the country.

Outbound tourism is a form of international travel and comes with its own set of formal requirements.

Travel agents are familiar with those and might make traveling easier – but independent travelers can also venture on their own and take care of their own paperwork. Many online travel agencies are specialized in outbound tourism.

The 8 types of tourism according to motivation

We could also define the different tourism types based on the travelers’ motivations, goals, and needs. These can be broken down into 8 main types of tourism:

Business tourism

Business tourism or business travel is a subset of tourism in which travelers go to another location (domestic or international) for professional reasons, such as to:

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Sometimes, business travelers are extending their trips for leisure or are combining the two under what is now known as “Bleisure” (from business and leisure).

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Leisure tourism

Leisure tourism is a broad category that can encompass many different things: adventure tourism, ecotourism, cultural tourism, urban tourism, and more.

Leisure tourism is simply defined as tourism during your free time, in which you relax and experience a different environment than your own.

Local tourist attractions are often a major focus of leisure tourism, although you might very well decide to chill in your resort complex and simply book a bunch of spa treatments, for example.

Food is also a major motivator for many leisure travelers: many tourists visit new destinations to taste authentic local foods. Food tourism can be considered a subset of leisure tourism.

Shopping tourism

Who doesn’t love coming back with a suitcase full of exotic items, brand-new clothes, or new gadgets?

Shopping tourism is a popular type of travel among those who want to get a hold of brands and objects that aren’t locally available, be it clothes, food, jewelry, souvenirs, electronics, or something entirely different.

Fashion tourism is a subset of shopping tourism and among the top tourist destinations for it are cities like Milan, New York, Paris, London, and more.

Cultural tourism

If you’re passionate about other cultures, cultural tourism is probably your idea of a dream vacation, where you get to experience another country’s cultural heritage, such as architectural monuments, literature, religion, festivals, theater, music, cuisine, and more.

Because of the rich tapestry of its history, Europe is a popular destination for cultural tourism, and many European countries see a large number of tourists each year.

For those who want to travel to experience different cultures, UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites might be a list worth exploring, as it regroups the most significant cultural and natural sites of the whole world.

Sports tourism

Sports or adventure tourism is another type of leisure tourism that is related to a sports activity, such as rafting, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, diving, cycling, and more. Package tours might make it easier to engage in sports tourism at remote locations, rather than organizing everything on your own.

The location of choice will depend on the sport you want to do. For example, if you’re into diving, you’ll want to look for places with well-preserved coral reefs and a good choice of diving schools, while if you’re into skiing or mountain biking, your top choice would obviously be a mountain location with ski-lifts or bicycle-friendly roads.

Teams traveling for sporting events tend to use the services of a travel management company like TravelPerk . There’s no need to spend hours searching online for accommodation that will fit your whole sports team: let TravelPerk do the work for you. With the largest travel inventory on the market, we can arrange flights, trains, car hire and accommodation so your team can focus on winning!

On the other hand, sports tourism might also be related to traveling to see a major sporting event, such as, for example, the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup.

Rural tourism

Rural tourism is popular with vacationers who need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Typically, it’s a form of sustainable tourism where you go to remote, rural areas to experience a simpler lifestyle and a calmer, less polluted environment.

Local people might benefit from rural tourism in many different ways, while visitors might engage in different tourism activities, such as hiking, orienteering, hunting, fishing, and more.

Mountain tourism

If you love nature, going to the mountains might be the best way to spend your holidays. Mountain tourism is popular among sports enthusiasts, as it offers lots of opportunities to be active in nature: skiing, hiking, and mountain biking being just a few of the many.

Sustainability has been a major consideration in mountain tourism in recent years, because mountains often have fragile ecosystems that cannot tolerate a huge number of visitors or mass tourism. Itineraries follow mountain trails and visitors are often not allowed to stray off the path or camp outside designated areas.

Urban tourism

Urban tourism is a form of tourism that is hugely popular among different demographics, from backpackers to luxury travelers and from recent graduates to retirees.

Top urban tourist destinations in 2022 include Paris, Dubai, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, London, and New York, among others, and attract a large number of international tourists each year. In the top 100 list compiled by Euromonitor International, Europe is the most represented continent, with 40 cities out of 100.

Many people travel – but for completely different reasons

People travel for many different reasons and in many different ways – which means the travel industry has to adapt to travelers’ needs.

Beyond the ones we listed, there are plenty of other types of tourism, such as medical tourism, religious tourism, wellness tourism, dark tourism, and more. Broadly speaking, however, we could consider leisure and business tourism to be among the two main categories based on travelers’ motivation.

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18 Different Types of Tourism | Globally Accepted

“Life is all about adventure, so pack your bags and start the tour.”

Different Types of Tourism

What is tourism.

Suppose your friend’s aim for the tour might differ from yours. For example, you may travel for recreation, but he may go for business.

Classification of Tourism

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Tourism has a direct impact on any country’s economy. The role of tourism in economic development is important. A vast amount of job possibilities can develop through public relations in tourism. From a traveller’s perspective, knowing another state/country’s taste culture is a great filling.

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Mainly how many types of tourism are there

18 different types of tourism, 1. domestic tourism, 2. international tourism, 3. outbound tourism, 4. business tourism.

This tourist travels to meetings, officially gets together for conferences, etc.

5. Adventure Tourism

6. wildlife tourism, 7. medical tourism, 8. wellness tourism.

Ayurveda,  Yoga , Meditation, Panchakarma, and Rejuvenation Therapy are the oldest Therapy of treatments to improve health and the best way to develop wellness tourism.

9. Pilgrimage and Spiritual Tourism

10. cultural tourism, 11. dark tourism, 12. culinary tourism, 13. celebrity tourism or film tourism, 14. educational tourism.

It’s used as a tool to complement education by gathering travel experience. Many educational institutes combine these trends in primary schools and are compulsory in higher education.

15. Cruise Tourism

16. rural tourism.

There are many forms of tourism, and It’s divided into many parts. In this category, a tourist spends leisure time in rural areas or villages. Visitors can make a plan to visit the rural area for some days or a couple of months. 

17. Beach Tourism

Why is beach tourism important, negative impacts of beach tourism, 18. space tourism, there are different types of space tourism, space tourism cost, space tourism companies, space tourism advantages, top 13 list of space tourists, space tourism in india, forms of tourism, what is the main purpose of tourism, niche tourism, types of niche tourism, what is macro-niche.

Macro-niche tourism can be explained as a niche with broad customer interest categories such as rural tourism, Business tourism, sports tourism, medical tourism, environmental travel, etc.

What is Micro-Niche?

It is a small group trip, such as gastronomy tourism, cycling tourism, and geo-tourism.

Niche tourism in South Africa

Advantages of niche tourism, what are the different types of tourists, types of a tourist attraction, what is tourism planning, how do these tourism plans help us, main types of tourism planning, types of tourism activities, types of tourism packages.

For different categories of tourists, everybody needs a separate package. Let’s discuss the various types of Packages that are available.

1. Adventure Tourism package

2. wildlife tourism package, 3. medical tourism package , 4. pilgrimage tourism package, 5. eco-tourism package, 6. cultural tourism package, 7.   family tourism package, 8. honeymoon tourism package, 9. wellness tourism package, 10. cruise tourism package, what are tourism products, if(typeof ez_ad_units='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[250,250],'theholidaystory_com-narrow-sky-2','ezslot_14',194,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-theholidaystory_com-narrow-sky-2-0'); types of tourism products , human-created tourism products if(typeof ez_ad_units='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[250,250],'theholidaystory_com-mobile-leaderboard-2','ezslot_12',196,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-theholidaystory_com-mobile-leaderboard-2-0');, what are the different types of tourist destinations, if(typeof ez_ad_units='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[250,250],'theholidaystory_com-small-rectangle-1','ezslot_21',199,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-theholidaystory_com-small-rectangle-1-0'); tourism destinations, if(typeof ez_ad_units='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[300,250],'theholidaystory_com-netboard-1','ezslot_15',600,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-theholidaystory_com-netboard-1-0'); types of tourist attractions, how many types of tourism are there in india, is there anything about tourism that i’ve missed, a tour to grand canyon would fall under which type of tourism.


Glossary of tourism terms

UN standards for measuring tourism

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Glossary of tourism terms

Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which involve tourism expenditure.

Activity/activities : In tourism statistics, the term activities represent the actions and behaviors of people in preparation for and during a trip in their capacity as consumers ( IRTS 2008, 1.2 ).

Activity (principal): The principal activity of a producer unit is the activity whose value added exceeds that of any other activity carried out within the same unit ( SNA 2008, 5.8 ).

Activity (productive): The (productive) activity carried out by a statistical unit is the type of production in which it engages. It has to be understood as a process, i.e. the combination of actions that result in a certain set of products. The classification of productive activities is determined by their principal output.

Administrative data : Administrative data is the set of units and data derived from an administrative source. This is a data holding information collected and maintained for the purpose of implementing one or more administrative regulations.

Aggregated data : The result of transforming unit level data into quantitative measures for a set of characteristics of a population.

Aggregation : A process that transforms microdata into aggregate-level information by using an aggregation function such as count, sum average, standard deviation, etc.

Analytical unit : Entity created by statisticians, by splitting or combining observation units with the help of estimations and imputations.

Balance of payments : The balance of payments is a statistical statement that summarizes transactions between residents and non-residents during a period. It consists of the goods and services account, the primary income account, the secondary income account, the capital account, and the financial account ( BPM6, 2.12 ).

Bias : An effect which deprives a statistical result of representativeness by systematically distorting it, as distinct from a random error which may distort on any one occasion but balances out on the average.

Business and professional purpose (of a tourism trip): The business and professional purpose of a tourism trip includes the activities of the self-employed and employees, as long as they do not correspond to an implicit or explicit employer-employee relationship with a resident producer in the country or place visited, those of investors, businessmen, etc. ( IRTS 2008, 3.17.2 ).

Business visitor : A business visitor is a visitor whose main purpose for a tourism trip corresponds to the business and professional category of purpose ( IRTS 2008, 3.17.2 ).

Central Product Classification : The Central Product Classification (CPC) constitutes a complete product classification covering goods and services. It is intended to serve as an international standard for assembling and tabulating all kinds of data requiring product detail, including industrial production, national accounts, service industries, domestic and foreign commodity trade, international trade in services, balance of payments, consumption and price statistics. Other basic aims are to provide a framework for international comparison and promote harmonization of various types of statistics dealing with goods and services.

Census : A census is the complete enumeration of a population or groups at a point in time with respect to well defined characteristics: for example, Population, Production, Traffic on particular roads.

Coherence : Adequacy of statistics to be combined in different ways and for various uses.

Consistency : Logical and numerical coherence.

Country of reference : The country of reference refers to the country for which the measurement is done. ( IRTS 2008, 2.15 ).

Country of residence : The country of residence of a household is determined according to the centre of predominant economic interest of its members. If a person resides (or intends to reside) for more than one year in a given country and has there his/her centre of economic interest (for example, where the predominant amount of time is spent), he/she is considered as a resident of this country.

Country-specific tourism characteristic products and activities : To be determined by each country by applying the criteria of IRTS 2008, 5.10 in their own context; for these products, the activities producing them will be considered as tourism characteristic, and the industries in which the principal activity is tourism-characteristic will be called tourism industries ( IRTS 2008, 5.16 ).

Data checking : Activity whereby the correctness conditions of the data are verified. It also includes the specification of the type of error or of the condition not met, and the qualification of the data and their division into “error-free data” and “erroneous data”.

Data collection : Systematic process of gathering data for official statistics.

Data compilation : Operations performed on data to derive new information according to a given set of rules.

Data confrontation : The process of comparing data that has generally been derived from different surveys or other sources, especially those of different frequencies, in order to assess and possibly improve their coherency, and identify the reasons for any differences.

Data processing : Data processing is the operation performed on data by the organization, institute, agency, etc., responsible for undertaking the collection, tabulation, manipulation and preparation of data and metadata output.

Data reconciliation : The process of adjusting data derived from two different sources to remove, or at least reduce, the impact of differences identified.

Destination (main destination of a trip): The main destination of a tourism trip is defined as the place visited that is central to the decision to take the trip. See also purpose of a tourism trip ( IRTS 2008, 2.31 ).

Documentation: Processes and procedures for imputation,  weighting,  confidentiality  and suppression rules, outlier treatment and data capture should be fully documented by the  survey provider.  Such documentation should be made available to at least  the body financing the survey.

Domestic tourism : Domestic tourism comprises the activities of a resident visitor within the country of reference, either as part of a domestic tourism trip or part of an outbound tourism trip ( IRTS 2008, 2.39 ).

Domestic tourism consumption : Domestic tourism consumption is the tourism consumption of a resident visitor within the economy of reference ( TSA:RMF 2008, figure 2.1 ).

Domestic tourism expenditure : Domestic tourism expenditure is the tourism expenditure of a resident visitor within the economy of reference, (IRTS 2008, 4.15(a)).

Domestic tourism trip : A domestic tourism trip is one with a main destination within the country of residence of the visitor (IRTS 2008, 2.32).

Domestic visitor : As a visitor travels within his/her country of residence, he/she is a domestic visitor and his/her activities are part of domestic tourism.

Durable consumer goods : Durable consumer goods are goods that may be used repeatedly or continuously over a period of a year or more, assuming a normal or average rate of physical usage. When acquired by producers, these are considered to be capital goods used for production processes, as is the case of vehicles, computers, etc. When acquired by households, they are considered to be consumer durable goods ( TSA:RMF 2008, 2.39 ). This definition is identical to the definition of SNA 2008, 9.42 : A consumer durable is a goodthat may be used for purposes of consumption repeatedly or continuously over a period of a year or more.

Dwellings : Each household has a principal dwelling (sometimes also designated as main or primary home), usually defined with reference to time spent there, whose location defines the country of residence and place of usual residence of this household and of all its members. All other dwellings (owned or leased by the household) are considered secondary dwellings ( IRTS 2008, 2.26 ).

Economic analysis : Tourism generates directly and indirectly an increase in economic activity in the places visited (and beyond), mainly due to demand for goods and services thatneed to be produced and provided. In the economic analysis of tourism, one may distinguish between tourism’s ‘economic contribution’ which refers to the direct effect of tourism and is measurable by means of the TSA, and tourism’s ‘economic impact’ which is a much broader concept encapsulating the direct, indirect and induced effects of tourism and which must be estimated by applying models. Economic impact studies aim to quantify economic benefits, that is, the net increase in the wealth of residents resulting from tourism, measured in monetary terms, over and above the levels that would prevail in its absence.

Economic territory : The term “economic territory” is a geographical reference and points to the country for which the measurement is done (country of reference) ( IRTS 2008, 2.15 ).

Economically active population : The economically active population or labour force comprises all persons of either sex who furnish the supply of labour for the production of goods and services as defined by the system of national accounts during a specified time-reference period (ILO, Thirteenth ICLS, 6.18).

Economy (of reference): “Economy” (or “economy of reference”) is an economic reference defined in the same way as in the balance of payments and in the system of national accounts: it refers to the economic agents that are resident in the country of reference ( IRTS 2008, 2.15 ).

Employees : Employees are all those workers who hold the type of job defined as “paid employment” (ILO, Fifteenth ICLS, pp. 20-22).

Employer-employee relationship : An employer-employee relationship exists when there is an agreement, which may be formal or informal, between an entity and an individual, normally entered into voluntarily by both parties, whereby the individual works for the entity in return for remuneration in cash or in kind ( BPM6, 11.11 ).

Employers : Employers are those workers who, working on their own account with one or more partners, hold the type of job defined as a “self-employment job” and, in this capacity, on a continuous basis (including the reference period) have engaged one or more persons to work for them in their business as “employee(s)” (ILO, Fifteenth ICLS, pp. 20-22).

Employment : Persons in employment are all persons above a specified age who, during a specified brief period, either one week or one day, were in paid employment or self-employment (OECD GST, p. 170).

Employment in tourism industries : Employment in tourism industries may be measured as a count of the persons employed in tourism industries in any of their jobs, as a count of the persons employed in tourism industries in their main job, or as a count of the jobs in tourism industries ( IRTS 2008, 7.9 ).

Enterprise : An enterprise is an institutional unit engaged in production of goods and/or services. It may be a corporation, a non-profit institution, or an unincorporated enterprise. Corporate enterprises and non-profit institutions are complete institutional units. An unincorporated enterprise, however, refers to an institutional unit —a household or government unit —only in its capacity as a producer of goods and services (OECD BD4, p. 232)

Establishment : An establishment is an enterprise, or part of an enterprise, that is situated in a single location and in which only a single productive activity is carried out or in which the principal productive activity accounts for most of the value added ( SNA 2008, 5.14 ).

Estimation : Estimation is concerned with inference about the numerical value of unknown population values from incomplete data such as a sample. If a single figure is calculated for each unknown parameter the process is called “point estimation”. If an interval is calculated within which the parameter is likely, in some sense, to lie, the process is called “interval estimation”.

Exports of goods and services : Exports of goods and services consist of sales, barter, or gifts or grants, of goods and services from residents to non-residents (OECD GST, p. 194)

Frame : A list, map or other specification of the units which define a population to be completely enumerated or sampled.

Forms of tourism : There are three basic forms of tourism: domestic tourism, inbound tourism, and outbound tourism. These can be combined in various ways to derive the following additional forms of tourism: internal tourism, national tourism and international tourism.

Goods : Goods are physical, produced objects for which a demand exists, over which ownership rights can be established and whose ownership can be transferred from one institutional unit to another by engaging in transactions on markets ( SNA 2008, p. 623 ).

Gross fixed capital formation : Gross fixed capital formation is defined as the value of institutional units’ acquisitions less disposals of fixed assets. Fixed assets are produced assets (such as machinery, equipment, buildings or other structures) that are used repeatedly or continuously in production over several accounting periods (more than one year) ( SNA 2008, 1.52 ).

Gross margin : The gross margin of a provider of reservation services is the difference between the value at which the intermediated service is sold and the value accrued to the provider of reservation services for this intermediated service.

Gross value added : Gross value added is the value of output less the value of intermediate consumption ( TSA:RMF 2008, 3.32 ).

Gross value added of tourism industries : Gross value added of tourism industries (GVATI) is the total gross value added of all establishments belonging to tourism industries, regardless of whether all their output is provided to visitors and the degree of specialization of their production process ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.86 ).

Grossing up : Activity aimed at transforming, based on statistical methodology, micro-data from samples into aggregate-level information representative of the target population.

Imputation : Procedure for entering a value for a specific data item where the response is missing or unusable.

Inbound tourism : Inbound tourism comprises the activities of a non-resident visitor within the country of reference on an inbound tourism trip ( IRTS 2008, 2.39 ).

Inbound tourism consumption : Inbound tourism consumption is the tourism consumption of a non-resident visitor within the economy of reference ( TSA:RMF 2008, figure 2.1 ).

Inbound tourism expenditure : Inbound tourism expenditure is the tourism expenditure of a non-resident visitor within the economy of reference ( IRTS 2008, 4.15(b) ).

Institutional sector : An aggregation of institutional units on the basis of the type of producer and depending on their principal activity and function, which are considered to be indicative of their economic behaviour.

Institutional unit : The elementary economic decision-making centre characterised by uniformity of behaviour and decision-making autonomy in the exercise of its principal function.

Intermediate consumption : Intermediate consumption consists of the value of the goods and services consumed as inputs by a process of production, excluding fixed assets whose consumption is recorded as consumption of fixed capital ( SNA 2008, 6.213 ).

Internal tourism : Internal tourism comprises domestic tourism and inbound tourism, that is to say, the activities of resident and non-resident visitors within the country of reference as part of domestic or international tourism trips ( IRTS 2008, 2.40(a) ).

Internal tourism consumption : Internal tourism consumption is the tourism consumption of both resident and non-resident visitors within the economy of reference. It is the sum of domestic tourism consumption and inbound tourism consumption ( TSA:RMF 2008, figure 2.1 ).

Internal tourism expenditure : Internal tourism expenditure comprises all tourism expenditure of visitors, both resident and non-resident, within the economy of reference. It is the sum of domestic tourism expenditure and inbound tourism expenditure. It includes acquisition of goods and services imported into the country of reference and sold to visitors. This indicator provides the most comprehensive measurement of tourism expenditure in the economy of reference ( IRTS 2008, 4.20(a) ).

International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities : The International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) consists of a coherent and consistent classification structure of economic activities based on a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, principles and classification rules. It provides a comprehensive framework within which economic data can be collected and reported in a format that is designed for purposes of economic analysis, decision-taking and policymaking. The classification structure represents a standard format to organize detailed information about the state of an economy according to economic principles and perceptions (ISIC, Rev.4, 1).

International tourism : International tourism comprises inbound tourism and outbound tourism, that is to say, the activities of resident visitors outside the country of reference, either as part of domestic or outbound tourism trips and the activities of non-resident visitors within the country of reference on inbound tourism trips ( IRTS 2008, 2.40(c) ).

International visitor : An international traveller qualifies as an international visitor with respect to the country of reference if: (a) he/she is on a tourism trip and (b) he/she is a non-resident travelling in the country of reference or a resident travelling outside of it ( IRTS 2008, 2.42 ).

Job : The agreement between an employee and the employer defines a job and each self-employed person has a job ( SNA 2008, 19.30 ).

Measurement error : Error in reading, calculating or recording numerical value.

Meetings industry : To highlight purposes relevant to the meetings industry, if a trip’s main purpose is business/professional, it can be further subdivided into “attending meetings, conferences or congresses, trade fairs and exhibitions” and “other business and professional purposes”. The term meetings industry is preferred by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Reed Travel over the acronym MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) which does not recognize the industrial nature of such activities.

Metadata : Data that defines and describes other data and processes.

MICE : See meetings industry.

Microdata : Non-aggregated observations, or measurements of characteristics of individual units.

Mirror statistics : Mirror statistics are used to conduct bilateral comparisons of two basic measures of a trade flow and are a traditional tool for detecting the causes of asymmetries in statistics (OECD GST, p. 335).

National tourism : National tourism comprises domestic tourism and outbound tourism, that is to say, the activities of resident visitors within and outside the country of reference, either as part of domestic or outbound tourism trips ( IRTS 2008, 2.40(b) ).

National tourism consumption : National tourism consumption is the tourism consumption of resident visitors, within and outside the economy of reference. It is the sum of domestic tourism consumption and outbound tourism consumption ( TSA:RMF 2008, figure 2.1 ).

National tourism expenditure : National tourism expenditure comprises all tourism expenditure of resident visitors within and outside the economy of reference. It is the sum of domestic tourism expenditure and outbound tourism expenditure ( IRTS 2008, 4.20(b) ).

Nationality : The concept of “country of residence” of a traveller is different from that of his/her nationality or citizenship ( IRTS 2008, 2.19 ).

Non-monetary indicators : Data measured in physical or other non-monetary units should not be considered a secondary part of a satellite account. They are essential components, both for the information they provide directly and in order to analyse the monetary data adequately ( SNA 2008, 29.84 ).

Observation unit : entity on which information is received and statistics are compiled.

Outbound tourism : Outbound tourism comprises the activities of a resident visitor outside the country of reference, either as part of an outbound tourism trip or as part of a domestic tourism trip ( IRTS 2008, 2.39(c) ).

Outbound tourism consumption : Outbound tourism consumption is the tourism consumption of a resident visitor outside the economy of reference ( TSA:RMF 2008, figure 2.1 ).

Outbound tourism expenditure : Outbound tourism expenditure is the tourism expenditure of a resident visitor outside the economy of reference ( IRTS 2008, 4.15(c) ).

Output : Output is defined as the goods and services produced by an establishment, a) excluding the value of any goods and services used in an activity for which the establishment does not assume the risk of using the products in production, and b) excluding the value of goods and services consumed by the same establishment except for goods and services used for capital formation (fixed capital or changes in inventories) or own final consumption ( SNA 2008, 6.89 ).

Output (main): The main output of a (productive) activity should be determined by reference to the value added of the goods sold or services rendered (ISIC rev.4, 114).

Pilot survey : The aim of a pilot survey is to test the questionnaire (pertinence of the questions, understanding of questions by those being interviewed, duration of the interview) and to check various potential sources for sampling and non-sampling errors: for instance, the place in which the surveys are carried out and the method used, the identification of any omitted answers and the reason for the omission, problems of communicating in various languages, translation, the mechanics of data collection, the organization of field work, etc.

Place of usual residence : The place of usual residence is the geographical place where the enumerated person usually resides, and is defined by the location of his/her principal dwelling (Principles and recommendations for population and housing censuses of the United Nations, 2.20 to 2.24).

Probability sample : A sample selected by a method based on the theory of probability (random process), that is, by a method involving knowledge of the likelihood of any unit being selected.

Production account : The production account records the activity of producing goods and services as defined within the SNA. Its balancing item, gross value added, is defined as the value of output less the value of intermediate consumption and is a measure of the contribution to GDP made by an individual producer, industry or sector. Gross value added is the source from which the primary incomes of the SNA are generated and is therefore carried forward into the primary distribution of income account. Value added and GDP may also be measured net by deducting consumption of fixed capital, a figure representing the decline in value during the period of the fixed capital used in a production process ( SNA 2008, 1.17 ).

Production : Economic production may be defined as an activity carried out under the control and responsibility of an institutional unit that uses inputs of labour, capital, and goods and services to produce outputs of goods or services ( SNA 2008, 6.24. ).

Purpose of a tourism trip (main): The main purpose of a tourism trip is defined as the purpose in the absence of which the trip would not have taken place ( IRTS 2008, 3.10. ). Classification of tourism trips according to the main purpose refers to nine categories: this typology allows the identification of different subsets of visitors (business visitors, transit visitors, etc.) See also destination of a tourism trip ( IRTS 2008, 3.14 ).

Questionnaire and Questionnaire design : Questionnaire is a group or sequence of questions designed to elicit information on a subject, or sequence of subjects, from a reporting unit or from another producer of official statistics. Questionnaire design is the design (text, order, and conditions for skipping) of the questions used to obtain the data needed for the survey.

Reference period : The period of time or point in time to which the measured observation is intended to refer.

Relevance : The degree to which statistics meet current and potential users' needs.

Reliability : Closeness of the initial estimated value to the subsequent estimated value.

Reporting unit : Unit that supplies the data for a given survey instance, like a questionnaire or interview. Reporting units may, or may not, be the same as the observation unit.

Residents/non-residents : The residents of a country are individuals whose centre of predominant economic interest is located in its economic territory. For a country, the non-residents are individuals whose centre of predominant economic interest is located outside its economic territory.

Response and non-response : Response and non-response to various elements of a survey entail potential errors.

Response error : Response errors may be defined as those arising from the interviewing process. Such errors may be due to a number of circumstances, such as inadequate concepts or questions; inadequate training; interviewer failures; respondent failures.

Same-day visitor (or excursionist): A visitor (domestic, inbound or outbound) is classified as a tourist (or overnight visitor), if his/her trip includes an overnight stay, or as a same-day visitor (or excursionist) otherwise ( IRTS 2008, 2.13 ).

Sample : A subset of a frame where elements are selected based on a process with a known probability of selection.

Sample survey : A survey which is carried out using a sampling method.

Sampling error : That part of the difference between a population value and an estimate thereof, derived from a random sample, which is due to the fact that only a subset of the population is enumerated.

Satellite accounts : There are two types of satellite accounts, serving two different functions. The first type, sometimes called an internal satellite, takes the full set of accounting rules and conventions of the SNA but focuses on a particular aspect of interest by moving away from the standard classifications and hierarchies. Examples are tourism, coffee production and environmental protection expenditure. The second type, called an external satellite, may add non-economic data or vary some of the accounting conventions or both. It is a particularly suitable way to explore new areas in a research context. An example may be the role of volunteer labour in the economy ( SNA 2008, 29.85 ).

SDMX, Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange : Set of technical standards and content-oriented guidelines, together with an IT architecture and tools, to be used for the efficient exchange and sharing of statistical data and metadata (SDMX).

Seasonal adjustment : Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique to remove the effects of seasonal calendar influences on a series. Seasonal effects usually reflect the influence of the seasons themselves, either directly or through production series related to them, or social conventions. Other types of calendar variation occur as a result of influences such as number of days in the calendar period, the accounting or recording practices adopted or the incidence of moving holidays.

Self-employment job : Self-employment jobs are those jobs where remuneration is directly dependent upon the profits (or the potential of profits) derived from the goods or services produced.

Self-employed with paid employees : Self-employed with paid employees are classified as employers.

Self-employed without employees : Self-employed without employees are classified as own-account workers.

Services : Services are the result of a production activity that changes the conditions of the consuming units, or facilitates the exchange of products or financial assets. They cannot be traded separately from their production. By the time their production is completed, they must have been provided to the consumers ( SNA 2008, 6.17 ).

Social transfers in kind : A special case of transfers in kind is that of social transfers in kind. These consist of goods and services provided by general government and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISHs) that are delivered to individual households. Health and education services are the prime examples. Rather than provide a specified amount of money to be used to purchase medical and educational services, the services are often provided in kind to make sure that the need for the services is met. (Sometimes the recipient purchases the service and is reimbursed by the insurance or assistance scheme. Such a transaction is still treated as being in kind because the recipient is merely acting as the agent of the insurance scheme) (SNA 2008, 3.83).

Standard classification : Classifications that follow prescribed rules and are generally recommended and accepted.

Statistical error : The unknown difference between the retained value and the true value.

Statistical indicator : A data element that represents statistical data for a specified time, place, and other characteristics, and is corrected for at least one dimension (usually size) to allow for meaningful comparisons.

Statistical metadata : Data about statistical data.

Statistical unit : Entity about which information is sought and about which statistics are compiled. Statistical units may be identifiable legal or physical entities or statistical constructs.

Survey : An investigation about the characteristics of a given population by means of collecting data from a sample of that population and estimating their characteristics through the systematic use of statistical methodology.

System of National Accounts : The System of National Accounts (SNA) is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on how to compile measures of economic activity in accordance with strict accounting conventions based on economic principles. The recommendations are expressed in terms of a set of concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules that comprise the internationally agreed standard for measuring indicators of economic performance. The accounting framework of the SNA allows economic data to be compiled and presented in a format that is designed for purposes of economic analysis, decision-taking and policymaking ( SNA 2008, 1.1 ).

Total tourism internal demand : Total tourism internal demand, is the sum of internal tourism consumption, tourism gross fixed capital formation and tourism collective consumption ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.114 ). It does not include outbound tourism consumption.

Tourism : Tourism refers to the activity of visitors ( IRTS 2008, 2.9 ).

Tourism characteristic activities : Tourism characteristic activities are the activities that typically produce tourism characteristic products. As the industrial origin of a product (the ISIC industry that produces it) is not a criterion for the aggregation of products within a similar CPC category, there is no strict one-to-one relationship between products and the industries producing them as their principal outputs ( IRTS 2008, 5.11 ).

Tourism characteristic products : Tourism characteristic products are those that satisfy one or both of the following criteria: a) Tourism expenditure on the product should represent a significant share total tourism expenditure (share-of-expenditure/demand condition); b) Tourism expenditure on the product should represent a significant share of the supply of the product in the economy (share-of-supply condition). This criterion implies that the supply of a tourism characteristic product would cease to exist in meaningful quantity in the absence of visitors ( IRTS 2008, 5.10 ).

Tourism connected products : Their significance within tourism analysis for the economy of reference is recognized although their link to tourism is very limited worldwide. Consequently, lists of such products will be country-specific ( IRTS 2008, 5.12 ).

Tourism consumption : Tourism consumption has the same formal definition as tourism expenditure. Nevertheless, the concept of tourism consumption used in the Tourism Satellite Account goes beyond that of tourism expenditure. Besides the amount paid for the acquisition of consumption goods and services, as well as valuables for own use or to give away, for and during tourism trips, which corresponds to monetary transactions (the focus of tourism expenditure), it also includes services associated with vacation accommodation on own account, tourism social transfers in kind and other imputed consumption. These transactions need to be estimated using sources different from information collected directly from the visitors, such as reports on home exchanges, estimations of rents associated with vacation homes, calculations of financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM), etc. ( TSA:RMF 2008, 2.25 ).

Tourism direct gross domestic product : Tourism direct gross domestic product (TDGDP) is the sum of the part of gross value added (at basic prices) generated by all industries in response to internal tourism consumption plus the amount of net taxes on products and imports included within the value of this expenditure at purchasers’ prices ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.96 ).

Tourism direct gross value added : Tourism direct gross value added (TDGVA) is the part of gross value added generated by tourism industries and other industries of the economy that directly serve visitors in response to internal tourism consumption ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.88 ).

Tourism expenditure : Tourism expenditure refers to the amount paid for the acquisition of consumption goods and services, as well as valuables, for own use or to give away, for and during tourism trips. It includes expenditures by visitors themselves, as well as expenses that are paid for or reimbursed by others ( IRTS 2008, 4.2 ).

Tourism industries : The tourism industries comprise all establishments for which the principal activity is a tourism characteristic activity. Tourism industries (also referred to as tourism activities) are the activities that typically producetourism characteristic products. The term tourism industries is equivalent to tourism characteristic activities and the two terms are sometimes used synonymously in the IRTS 2008, 5.10, 5.11 and figure 5.1 .

Tourism ratio : For each variable of supply in the Tourism Satellite Account, the tourism ratiois the ratio between the total value of tourism share and total value of the corresponding variable in the Tourism Satellite Account expressed in percentage form ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.56 ). (See also Tourism share).

Tourism Satellite Account : The Tourism Satellite Account is the second international standard on tourism statistics (Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008 –TSA:RMF 2008) that has been developed in order to present economic data relative to tourism within a framework of internal and external consistency with the rest of the statistical system through its link to the System of National Accounts. It is the basic reconciliation framework of tourism statistics. As a statistical tool for the economic accounting of tourism, the TSA can be seen as a set of 10 summary tables, each with their underlying data and representing a different aspect of the economic data relative to tourism: inbound, domestic tourism and outbound tourism expenditure, internal tourism expenditure, production accounts of tourism industries, the Gross Value Added (GVA) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) attributable to tourism demand, employment, investment, government consumption, and non-monetary indicators.

Tourism Satellite Account aggregates : The compilation of the following aggregates, which represent a set of relevant indicators of the size of tourism in an economy is recommended ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.81 ):

Tourism sector : The tourism sector, as contemplated in the TSA, is the cluster of production units in different industries that provide consumption goods and services demanded by visitors. Such industries are called tourism industries because visitor acquisition represents such a significant share of their supply that, in the absence of visitors, their production of these would cease to exist in meaningful quantity.

Tourism share : Tourism share is the share of the corresponding fraction of internal tourism consumption in each component of supply ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.51 ). For each industry, the tourism share of output (in value), is the sum of the tourism share corresponding to each product component of its output ( TSA:RMF 2008, 4.55 ). (See also Tourism ratio ).

Tourism single-purpose consumer durable goods : Tourism single-purpose consumer durables is a specific category of consumer durable goods that include durable goods that are used exclusively, or almost exclusively, by individuals while on tourism trips ( TSA:RMF 2008 , 2.41 and Annex 5 ).

Tourism trip : Trips taken by visitors are tourism trips ( IRTS 2008, 2.29 ).

Tourist (or overnight visitor): A visitor (domestic, inbound or outbound) is classified as a tourist (or overnight visitor), if his/her trip includes an overnight stay, or as a same-day visitor (or excursionist) otherwise ( IRTS 2008, 2.13 ).

Travel / traveller : Travel refers to the activity of travellers. A traveller is someone who moves between different geographic locations, for any purpose and any duration ( IRTS 2008, 2.4 ). The visitor is a particular type of traveller and consequently tourism is a subset of travel.

Travel group : A travel group is made up of individuals or travel parties travelling together: examples are people travelling on the same package tour or youngsters attending a summer camp ( IRTS 2008, 3.5 ).

Travel item (in balance of payments): Travel is an item of the goods and services account of the balance of payments: travel credits cover goods and services for own use or to give away acquired from an economy by non-residents during visits to that economy. Travel debits cover goods and services for own use or to give away acquired from other economies by residents during visits to other economies ( BPM6, 10.86 ).

Travel party : A travel party is defined as visitors travelling together on a trip and whose expenditures are pooled ( IRTS 2008, 3.2 ).

Trip : A trip refers to the travel by a person from the time of departure from his/her usual residence until he/she returns: it thus refers to a round trip. Trips taken by visitors are tourism trips.

Usual environment: The usual environment of an individual, a key concept in tourism, is defined as the geographical area (though not necessarily a contiguous one) within which an individual conducts his/her regular life routines ( IRTS 2008, 2.21 ).

Usual residence : The place of usual residence is the geographical place where the enumerated person usually resides (Principles and recommendations for population and housing censuses of the United Nations, 2.16 to 2.18).

Vacation home : A vacation home (sometimes also designated as a holiday home) is a secondary dwelling that is visited by the members of the household mostly for purposes of recreation, vacation or any other form of leisure ( IRTS 2008, 2.27 ).

Valuables : Valuables are produced goods of considerable value that are not used primarily for purposes of production or consumption but are held as stores of value over time ( SNA 2008, 10.13 ).

Visit : A trip is made up of visits to different places.The term “tourism visit” refers to a stay in a place visited during a tourism trip ( IRTS 2008, 2.7 and 2.33 ).

Visitor : A visitor is a traveller taking a trip to a main destination outside his/her usual environment, for less than a year, for any main purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than tobe employed by a resident entity in the country or place visited ( IRTS 2008, 2.9 ). A visitor (domestic, inbound or outbound) is classified as a tourist (or overnight visitor), if his/her trip includes an overnight stay, or as a same-day visitor (or excursionist) otherwise ( IRTS 2008, 2.13 ).

main types of tourism

The different types of Tourism according to Cohen, UNWTO, motivation and type

Home » Travel Industry » The different types of Tourism according to Cohen, UNWTO, motivation and type

main types of tourism

The Tourism industry has a direct impact on the global economy. In 2019 alone, 1.4 billion international arrivals were recorded, which is equivalent to one-fifth of the world’s population .

Due to the number of components that play an active role in tourism, there are an infinite number of criteria that can be used to classify it. In this article we will share what we consider to be the most significant of these criteria.

Types of Tourism according to the UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization defines three basic types of tourism in its glossary :

 These types can be combined with each other to give rise to other categories:

Beyond this categorization, there is a sociological approach, in which Erik Cohen, sociologist and winner of the UNWTO Ulysses Prize for his contribution to the knowledge of tourism, defines different types of tourism associated with the organization of the trip, as well as the nature of the interaction with the destinations.

Types of tourism according to Cohen:



Cohen also proposes a division based on the importance of travel in people’s lives .  There are five types of experience: 

Types of tourism according to motivation

Valene Smith, a key figure in the Anthropology of Tourism, defines in her introduction to “Host and Guest” the following types of tourism, according to the motivation of the trip:

And later she expands the classification according to Tourist types , where she describes:

They engage with the destination environment and are willing to adapt their behavior to the environment. They choose to visit less-traveled places and do not want to be seen as tourists.

Elite tourists

They also travel in small groups and adapt to local life, but for a limited time. They demand more amenities.

Off-beat tourists

These are independent tourists who break away from traditional itineraries and are looking to see new places. They use guidebooks for tips.

Unusual tourists

They travel on package tours or tours to visit indigenous communities. Their interest in local cultures is contemplative, and they demand the comforts of modern life so as not to take risks in the exchange.

Incipient mass tourists

Although not large in volume, these groups are beginning to demand infrastructure in the destinations they visit.

Mass tourists

They do not forgo the comforts of their country of origin and expect to be served in their own language.

Charter tourists

They purchase tours for short periods of time, demand high-quality services and have almost no interaction with the local environment.

There are infinite approaches and classifications for tourism around the world. A study by the Inter-American University for Development (UNID) makes an interesting distinction between “Classification” and “Typology” in which it defines eight kinds of tourism according to their form, which can, in turn, be subdivided into types.

Types of tourism according to type and purpose of the trip

Beyond these broad approaches, there is a series of categories approved by the UNWTO that is defined by the destination and purpose of the trip , and can be summarized as follows:

Rural Tourism

This takes place in destinations with low population density where agriculture and forestry are prevalent. The main objective is to experience nature, culture and productive activities.  

The core element is responsible contact with the natural environment, where the tourist observes and carries out activities in the open air.

Adventure tourism

Tourism in contact with nature, involving physical dexterity to undertake activities that are generally carried out in the open air.

Cultural Tourism

This takes place in destinations that have a remarkable cultural heritage and preserve its value. The objective is to discover and enjoy these values and traditions.

Business Tourism

Regardless of the destination, the reason for the trip is business or professionally motivated. This type of tourism entails a specific approach, as it is carried out by demanding travelers, with little time and particular needs.

Gastronomic Tourism

The trip must involve culinary experiences in the destination, which can range from enjoying a meal to learning how to cook. 

UNWTO notes the high potential of this category as a sustainable activity to boost the development of local economies and promote inclusiveness.

A growing trend worth highlighting is Wine Tourism.

Coastal, Maritime and Inland Water Tourism

Includes all water-related activities. The most prominent category is Sun and Beach Tourism . However, the following should not be overlooked:

Urban Tourism

This tourism takes place in a non-agricultural economic environment. Urban destinations offer a wealth of experiences related to art, architecture, commerce, social activities and good transport connectivity

Health tourism

Relates to the physical, mental or spiritual health benefit that travel can offer, provided by specific activities.

Mountain Tourism

The nature of the trip is determined by the relief of the destination. It is not related to adventure sports, but to enjoying the attributes of the environment.

Educational Tourism

The objective is focused on acquiring new skills and knowledge.

Sports Tourism

This is aimed at those who are going to enjoy or watch a sporting activity.

Each category will also be defined according to the needs and possibilities offered by the tourist destination, but in principle it is important to be able to sustain a basic classification in order to guide the statistics and to be able to work on comparisons and equivalences, depending on the focus we are addressing.


Erik Cohen , Major trends in contemporary tourism . Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2004

Erik Cohen , The sociology of tourism: Approaches, issues and findings.  in  Annual Review of Sociology, 10,373-392., 1984

Smith, Valene , Hosts and guests. The anthropology of tourism . Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989. 

Cristóbal Reali

Hotelmize is an AI-driven Travel-tech startup company that allows travel companies to increase their hotel bookings’ profits by more than 35%, optimizing their purchasing rates post-booking in a fully automated procedure. Hotelmize monitors and processes millions of bookings and billions of US$ value each year.


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Where The Road Forks

35 Types of Tourism

Posted on Last updated: February 23, 2023

Categories Travel , Travel Destinations

Home » Travel » 35 Types of Tourism

There are a million different ways to travel. Some people prefer to be pampered in a luxury resort while others don’t even care if they have running water. Some people enjoy exploring crowded cities while others would rather venture as far from civilization as possible. To help you plan your next trip, this list outlines 35 types of tourism. Hopefully, it inspires you to tour the world a bit differently. 

One thing to keep in mind is that not all types of tourism will appeal to every traveler. Some are a bit controversial or unethical. Some are dangerous. A few might even be illegal. This article is designed to inform you of your options and give you some ideas for future trips. 

main types of tourism

1. Adventure Tourism

Adventure tourism is a broad category of tourism with multiple definitions. The overall goal of adventure tourism is to explore remote destinations, participate in adventure activities, and maybe even take a bit of risk.

Many adventure tourists participate in physically challenging outdoor activities during their trips such as mountaineering, rafting, rock climbing, kayaking, or hiking. Some adventure tours may require a particular set of skills. Some adventure tourists visit off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Five different types of adventure tourism exist including:

2. Dark Tourism

main types of tourism

Dark Tourism, a relatively new term, is defined as travel to an area where death, disaster, or tragedy occurred in the past. People visit these sites mostly for historic reasons or simply out of morbid curiosity. Humans seem to have a natural interest in death and disaster. Dark tourist sites are some of the most visited places in the world.

Dark Tourism Destinations include:

Some dark tourism sites are pretty controversial. Visiting war zones and slums cause ethical concerns among some groups of people. This is something to take into consideration before you go.

For more info, check out my complete dark tourism guide.

3. Ecotourism

main types of tourism

Ecotourists visit exotic destinations to view pristine, fragile, and undisturbed natural environments. Visiting places that have not been affected by human interference. The goal is to experience these places while leaving as little impact on the environment as possible. Ecotourism is sometimes referred to as sustainable tourism.

Ecotourists aim to leave the environment as it was or better than when they arrived. The focus is on conservation. Ecotourists try to improve the well being of the environment and local people in the region. Ecotourism is quickly gaining in popularity as more and more people become interested in conservation and environmentalism.

One major benefit to ecotourism is that some of the money that tourists bring into the country is put into preserving the environment that they are visiting. This makes for a very sustainable form of tourism.

main types of tourism

Popular Ecotourism Destinations

4. Voluntourism

Voluntourism is a combination of tourism and volunteering. A voluntourist travels to a destination to do volunteer work. Usually for a charity organization. In their off time, voluntourists usually explore their travel destination like a normal tourist. This is becoming a major part of the tourism industry.

The volunteer work could be building homes, working in agriculture, teaching, etc. Anyone can take a volunteer vacation but you really need to have an in-demand skill for the work to be worthwhile.

This is one of the more controversial types of tourism. Before taking a volunteer vacation, you have to do your homework to make sure that your work will be worthwhile. Sometimes volunteer work can do more harm than good.

Popular Voluntourism Destinations

Volunteering opportunities can be found all over the world. Generally, you’ll find more openings in developing countries than in developed countries. A few of the most popular voluntourism destinations include:

A few arguments against voluntourism include:

If you do choose to do volunteer work abroad while traveling, make sure that you understand and trust the organization that you are volunteering for.

5. Domestic Tourism

Domestic tourism is travel within the country in which you reside. This is sometimes referred to as a staycation. Domestic tourism offers an exciting and unique way to experience the beauty of your own country. You can enjoy domestic tourism wherever you live. Even if you don’t leave your city.

The classic road trip is probably the most popular form of domestic tourism. No matter where in the world you live, you can load up your car, motorcycle, or bicycle and set out on an adventure. Every country has camping and hiking opportunities. Domestic tourism is a fun and inexpensive way to explore your home country.

Domestic tourism is more common in some countries than in others. Generally, domestic tourism is more popular in larger countries. For example, domestic tourism is extremely popular in the United States, Japan, Germany, China, and India.

Domestic tourism is particularly popular in my home country, the United States. Because the country is so large and diverse, you could spend a lifetime traveling here and still not see it all. There are bustling cities, sandy beaches, and spectacular national parks to visit. Millions of Americans exclusively travel domestically.

In smaller countries, d omestic tourism options are more limited. Having said that, regardless of where you live, there are dozens of interesting sites to visit within a couple of hours of your home. You could even simply tour your home town. Even if you’ve lived there your whole life, there are sure to see places you’ve never been.

Benefits of Domestic Tourism include:

Domestic tourism may not be as exciting as international tourism. Staying in your home country isn’t s exotic as visiting a foreign country.

6. Medical Tourism

a hospital room

Medical tourism is travel for the purpose of receiving healthcare. This type of tourism is also called health tourism. A few of the most common procedures people travel for include cosmetic surgery, dental care, and cancer treatment. It is becoming increasingly common for people to travel abroad to buy prescription medications as well.

An entire industry is set up around medical tourism. For example, some doctors and dentists cater to foreigners traveling to their countries for treatment. They often hire English-speaking staff and may even offer hotel and food packages to make the process as easy as possible. The medical tourism industry is booming. This is quickly becoming a major part of the tourism industry in some countries.

Three reasons to take a medical tour include:

Popular Medical Tourism Destinations

7. Bicycle Tourism

main types of tourism

Bicycle tourism is travel by bicycle. The average bicycle tourist covers about 50 miles per day, camps at night, and cooks many of their own meals. All gear is carried in panniers or bikepacking bags on the bike.

The main benefit of this type of tourism is that you get to see parts of the world between cities. Most travelers just take a bus, train, or plane from town to town and miss out on the rural areas in between. When bicycle touring, you get to see every inch of the country that you’re touring. You can smell flowers and feel the topography of the land as you cycle up and down hills.

Bicycle touring is one of the cheapest ways to travel. Accommodation and transportation costs are cut to almost nothing because you camp every night and have your own transport with your bike. You end up saving a lot of money this way. Some frugal bicycle tourists can travel on less than $500 per month.

There are several different styles of bicycle touring. Some bicycle tourists prefer off-road riding while others prefer to stay on paved paths or roads. Off-road bicycle touring is often called bikepacking. Credit card touring is bicycle touring in comfort. Most credit card tourists pack light, stay in hotels every night, and eat most meals in restaurants. Expedition bicycle tourists travel long distances through exotic countries. Some bicycle tourists spend years crossing continents and cycling around the world.

Top Bicycle Tourism Destinations

8. Sex Tourism and Romance Tourism

Sex tourism is a controversial type of tourism that involves traveling for the purpose of having sex in different countries around the world. People may choose to do this because prostitution isn’t legal in their home country. Some people wish to fulfill a fantasy that they can’t achieve in real life. Others travel abroad for sex because it is cheaper than in their home country. This type of tourism is much more popular among men but women participate as well.

Popular Sex Tourism Destinations

Romance tourism is travel for the purpose of finding a husband or wife. Someone may participate in this type of tourism if they are unable to find the right person in their home country. Sometimes people who have immigrated abroad return to their home country to find a partner.

9. Motorcycle Tourism

main types of tourism

Motorcycle tourism is travel by motorcycle. This is a great way to see the world because you always have your own transportation. This means you don’t have to rely on buses or trains. You can stop wherever you want. The absolute freedom is hard to beat. Maybe the biggest benefit of motorcycle tourism is simply the fact that motorcycles are cool. You will make friends everywhere you go.

Adventure touring bikes are probably the most popular these days due to their comfort and off-road capabilities. You can explore places that the average cruiser or touring bike can’t reach. My last bike was a Suzuki DR 650. I regret selling it.

There are drawbacks to motorcycle tourism. Getting started traveling by motorcycle is pretty expensive. You have to buy a bike, protective riding gear, and learn to ride. This sets you back a minimum of a few thousand dollars before you even hit the road.

Some countries also require that you have a carnet du passage to enter with a vehicle. This is a bureaucratic process and also costs money. Shipping the bike between countries is a hassle and expensive as well. Motorcycle tourism is generally not for budget travelers.

Traveling between continents on a motorcycle is also a hassle. It usually involves putting the bike in a crate and shipping it. You can’t just hop on a plane to your next destination.

If you are on a tight budget, there is one way that you can experience motorcycle tourism on the cheap. Starting at about $150, you can buy your own motorcycle in Vietnam and ride it around much of Southeast Asia. For a step-by-step guide to doing this, check out my Guide to buying a motorcycle and riding through Vietnam. 

10. Cultural Tourism

Cultural tourism is a form of tourism where the goal is to seek out cultural experiences. On a cultural tour, you might attend festivals and events, visit historical sites and monuments, explore museums, and galleries, take language classes or cooking classes, and participate in traditional activities.

Cultural tourism is an increasingly popular form of travel as it allows people to immerse themselves in different cultures and gain a more global perspective. Cultural tourism also provides economic opportunities for locals.

A few different examples of culture include:

Culture is interesting because it varies so widely. In some parts of the world, you can travel just a few miles down the road and people completely change. They may speak a different language, eat different food, and pray to different gods. Human culture is diverse. Sometimes even shocking. This is a big part of the appeal of cultural tourism.

Cultural Tourism Activities

main types of tourism

Cultural Tourism Destinations

Every country has a different culture to learn about. Depending on where you come from, you may find some more interesting. A few of the most popular countries for cultural tourism include:

11. Rural Tourism

main types of tourism

These days, most of the world’s population lives in cities. Some travelers like to take a break from the fast-paced and stressful urban lifestyle and travel to slower-moving rural areas. This is rural tourism. Rural tourism usually involves living a rural lifestyle, experiencing local culture, and learning local history.

Rural tourism has a lot of overlap with cultural tourism and ecotourism. Because rural areas don’t offer many major tourist attractions, you’ll mostly spend your time learning about and experiencing the rural lifestyle. You’ll also spend much of your time enjoying the outdoors.

One major benefit of rural tourism is that it provides economic opportunities for locals by allowing them to offer services such as farm stays, guided tours, homestays, and meals. This is important because rural areas tend to be poorer than cities.

Rural Tourism Activities

Where to Stay in Rural Areas

Accommodation options are more limited in rural places. There just aren’t enough people to support a big chain hotel. Places you may stay while participating in rural tourism include:

Best Destinations for Rural Tourism

Every country except for a few city-states has some rural areas where tourists can visit. Some of the more popular rural tourism destinations include:

12. Tribal Tourism

main types of tourism

Tribal tourism involves travel to visit tribes or indigenous people that have had little contact with the outside world. The goal is to experience the culture and lifestyle of the locals. These areas are becoming rarer and rarer as the world becomes more developed and connected. There are only a few regions left on the planet where you can take an authentic tribal tour.

Many of the world’s tribes are no longer authentic. The people wear traditional clothing and basically put on a show for tourists. They may dance and perform ceremonies that their ancestors did. While it is interesting to see, it isn’t really authentic. There are a handful of places left where you can experience a real and thriving tribal culture.

This is another controversial form of tourism. Many people argue that tourism to these regions is voyeuristic. Like looking at animals in a zoo. Some complain that visiting these tribes degrades their culture. After all, local people will be introduced to modern ways of living and thinking. These are valid points that should be considered before visiting. Is it ethical to visit tribal regions? I’ll let you decide.

Tribal Tourism Destinations

13. Business Tourism

Business tourists in an airport

Business tourism is travel for the purpose of doing business. Some companies send employees abroad for meetings, conferences, consulting, negotiation, etc. While participating in business tourism, an employee is still doing work, just away from the office or home. During time off, a business tourist may have time to visit the tourist sites of the region that they are visiting. Oftentimes, other types of tourism are combined with business tourism.

Business tourism is different from being an expat, digital nomad, or living abroad because it is only temporary. Generally, a business tourist is someone who is working abroad for one year or less. Most business trips last less than a week. Business tourists generally stay in hotels or accommodation provided by the company that they work for.

Business is conducted all over the world. This type of travel is slightly less common than it used to be because of the internet. Many meetings can be conducted online over video. Business tourism is still common.

Some of the most common business tourism destinations include Berlin, Dubai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, and London.

14. Birth Tourism

Birth Tourism is a controversial form of tourism where a pregnant woman travels to a foreign country to give birth to her child. The main reason for this practice is so the child obtains citizenship in the country where it was born. Once the child has citizenship, the parents will generally use it as a means of obtaining citizenship for themselves. The baby is often referred to as an anchor baby.

Laws vary from country to country. In the past, birth tourism was much more common. Laws were much less strict and allowed pretty much anyone born within the country’s borders to become citizens from birth.

These days, most countries either don’t allow birth tourism or don’t grant citizenship to children born there unless they meet specific requirements. Usually, one of the parents also has to hold citizenship in order for the child to be eligible for citizenship. Birth tourism is still common in North and South America but has been abolished in most of the rest of the world.

15. Sports Tourism

main types of tourism

Sports Tourism is defined as travel for the purpose of watching or participating in a sporting event. This type of tourism could involve professional sports, armature sports, team sports, or individual sports. This type of tourism is one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors. Some of the world’s biggest events cater to sports tourists. These include:

Anyone who travels to watch a football game, basketball game, tennis match, auto race, etc. is also considered a sports tourist.

Those who travel to participate in sports are considered active sports tourists. The players and coaches and support all fall into this category of tourist. Some tourists travel to participate in extreme sports like skydiving, mountain climbing, mountain biking, surfing, skateboarding. These are also sports tourists.

16. Slum Tourism

main types of tourism

Slum tourism, also called ghetto tourism, involves travel to some of the poorest neighborhoods around the world. Tourists come to see what life is like for the poorest people on earth. Mostly out of curiosity.

This type of tourism is not new. It originated in the 19th century in the slums of New York and London where wealthy tourists would travel to see how the impoverished lived in the two cities. These days, slum tourism almost exclusively occurs in the developing world.

Slum tourism is another controversial type of tourism. Many people claim that it is unethical to tour slums because it basically treats people like zoo animals. You are essentially entertaining yourself by touring areas where people are living in extreme poverty. Traveling to people watch just doesn’t sit well with some.

While I understand this argument, these neighborhoods are public places where anyone is free to wander. For this reason, it’s an acceptable activity in my mind. You are simply visiting a neighborhood within a city.

Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Slum Tourism Destinations

17. Geneology Tourism

Genealogy tourism is a type of tourism where travelers visit the places their ancestors came from. This could be recent ancestry or distant ancestry. This type of tourism is much more common in countries with a high level of emigration.

Genealogy tourism is quickly growing in popularity because of the rise in interest in DNA testing from companies like Ancestry.com and 23andme.com. For less than $100 people can find out exactly where in the world their ancestors originated. As the technology develops, these services get more and more accurate. In some cases, they can pinpoint exact villages where your ancestors lived hundreds of years ago.

Some genealogy tourists visit places where they have much more recent roots. For example, if a couple immigrated to another country before having children, their child may wish to visit their parent’s homeland later in life. This is also considered genealogy tourism. In this case, the person may have living relatives in the place that they are visiting.

18. Package Tourism (Group Tourism)

a group tour

Package tourism is a type of travel where accommodation, transportation, and excursions are combined and sold in a single package. Sometimes meals, drinks, and guides are also included. This can be a private tour or a group tour. A package tour is also called a package vacation or package holiday.

The main draw of this type of tourism is the simplicity. You pay once and everything is done for you. It’s easy and stress-free. You don’t have to worry about finding a hotel, choosing a restaurant, or struggling to figure out public transportation systems. This is a style of tourism many beginner travelers choose to participate in because it requires basically zero planning.

Drawbacks to Package Tourism

Packaged Tourism Destinations

You can take a packaged tour wherever you want to go. Cruises and large resorts are popular packaged tour options. A handful of countries only allow tourists to visit if they are traveling on a packaged tour. These countries include:

Many travelers choose to take packaged tours to Africa. Check out my guide to overland tours vs independent travel for more info. 

19. Culinary Tourism (Food Tourism)

main types of tourism

Culinary tourism, also called food tourism, is travel for the purpose of exploring different types of food and drinks around the world. Many travelers consider a destination’s cuisine to be as important as the climate, scenery, or accommodation. The popularity of culinary tourism has exploded over the past decade.

Culinary Tourism Activities

main types of tourism

Culinary Tourism Destinations

Pretty much every country has at least one decent dish to try. Having said that, some countries just have better food than others. This could be for a number of reasons. Some parts of the world have benefited from trade and migration. New people come and bring their favorite foods along with them. Over the years, fusions develop and a new cuisine is born. Some parts of the world are just lucky and have unique flavors available in their region. Some of the top countries for food tourism include:

20. Wellness Tourism

Wellness tourism is travel for the purpose of increasing your health. This could be physical health or mental health. Wellness tourism often involves some sort of spiritual activity like yoga, meditation, or prayer for example. This is quickly becoming a major part of the tourism industry.

Wellness tourism is similar to medical tourism with one major difference. G enerally, w ellness tourists don’t have anything in particular wrong with their health. They travel to maintain or improve their quality of life in general. The goal is often to prevent future health problems. This style of tourism focuses on low stress and relaxation. This is the main distinction between wellness tourism and medical tourism.

Wellness Tourism Activities 

While it is generally agreed upon that vacationing is good for health and well-being, it has not yet been established whether wellness-related activities offer any benefit over normal vacation activities. Many of these activities can be fun and relaxing, but offer no benefits after the vacation is over.

main types of tourism

Top Destinations for Wellness Tourism

Wellness tourism is currently a very niche market. North America currently has the largest wellness tourism infrastructure followed by Europe. A few top destinations include:

21. Recreational Drug Tourism

Recreational drug tourism is travel for the reason of purchasing or using drugs. People travel to use drugs because they are illegal, difficult to obtain, or more expensive in their own country. This is different from medical tourism where people may travel to purchase prescription drugs. In the case of recreational drug tourism, the drugs are not for health purposes, rather just for fun.

Recreational Drug Tourism Destinations

This is a very controversial type of tourism because many people around the world are against the use of drugs for moral, religious, or economic reasons.

22. Nautical Tourism

main types of tourism

Nautical tourism as a type of travel involving boating. This includes both motor boating and sailing. A few popular nautical tourism activities include:

Top Nautical Tourism Destinations

Nautical tourism is most popular during the summer and in warm weather tourist destinations. You can go on a nautical tour anywhere where there is a body of water. This includes oceans, lakes, or rivers. The Caribbean and Mediterranean are probably the most popular regions for nautical tourism.

23. Agritourism (Agrotourism)

main types of tourism

Agritourism is travel which involves agriculture. Generally, this means visiting a farm or ranch. This style of tourism is quickly growing as people become more and more interested in the foods they eat and where they come from. Sustainability is a big part of agritourism. Agritourism is quickly becoming a major part of the tourism industry. This is similar to rural tourism.

Agritourism Activities

Popular Agritourism Destinations

Pretty much every country has agricultural regions that you can visit. A few of the best agritourism destinations include:

24. Religious Tourism

main types of tourism

Religious tourism is one of the oldest forms of tourism. Religious tourism, also known as faith tourism, is a growing trend, where travelers visit places that are either the birthplace of a major figure in their religious faith, memorialize important events in their religion, or simply experience the culture and spiritual practices of another faith. Pilgrimages can also be considered religious tourism. Non-religious people can also participate in religious tourism by visiting religious sites and learning about the history of various religions.

Religious Tourism Activities

Popular Religious Tourism Destinations

25. Solo Tourism (Solo Travel)

main types of tourism

Solo Tourism is any kind of travel that is done alone. This means without a guide and without any friends or family. You organize everything by yourself including transportation, accommodation, and activities. You choose what you eat and how you organize your days. A solo tour can be a simple weekend getaway or a multi-year sabbatical.

Reasons to Travel Alone

Drawbacks of Solo Tourism

For help deciding whether or not this type of tourism is for you, check out my guide: Solo Travel Vs. Groups Travel: My Pros and Cons List

Top Solo Tourism Destinations

For more solo travel ideas, check out my guide: The Best Solo Travel Destinations. Also, check out my first solo trip review.

26. Extreme Tourism

mountain climbing

This is a type of tourism which involves travel to dangerous areas or participating in dangerous sports or events. In most cases the danger is not real, rather perceived. The goal is an adrenaline rush. Extreme tourism is very similar to adventure tourism.

Extreme Tourism Activities

Top Extreme Tourism Destinations

Generally, extreme tourism activities take place in the mountains or the ocean. A few popular destinations include:

27. LGBT Tourism

Also called Gay tourism, LGBT tourism is a type of travel designed for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Unfortunately, many countries around the world are dangerous or unwelcoming to LGBT people so they must put extra care when traveling or planning a vacation for the following reasons:

Popular LGBT Tourism Destinations

28. Experimental Tourism

In an experimental tour, destinations and itineraries are chosen based on a game, idea, or experiment. This often involves some kind of humor or chance. Examples of experimental tourism include:

For more info on experimental tourism including its history and some more examples, check out this extensive article from Medium.com.

29. Danger Tourism

Similar to extreme tourism, danger tourism involves travel to dangerous places or participating in dangerous events or activities. In this type of tourism, there is a real risk of injury or death involved.

Examples of Danger Tourism


There is a certain level of risk in all travel. Some trips are just on another level. In a danger tour, there is some chance that you are injured or killed.

30. Suicide Tourism

This isn’t a type of tour you want to go on, but I’ll describe it anyway because it is a type of tourism that, sadly, seems to be growing. Also known as euthanasia tourism, suicide tourism is traveling with the intent of committing suicide.

The main reason people choose to travel to commit suicide is because in some countries physician-assisted suicide is legal. Some countries sell drugs over the counter that can be used to commit suicide.

Suicide Tourism Destinations

31. Disaster Tourism

Disaster tourism is travel to a location where an environmental disaster is currently occurring or has recently occurred. This disaster could be man-made or natural. Most tourists choose to visit these destinations out of curiosity. Viewing an area that has been destroyed is interesting in a morbid kind of way. Looting could also be a motivation for criminals.

Examples of Disasters

This is a controversial type of tourism. There are two schools of thought when it comes to the ethics of disaster tourism. Some people believe that it is immoral for tour companies to profit off of the bad fortune of others. Also that it is voyeuristic to essentially people watch during a low point in someone’s life.

Others say that disaster is good because it allows people to see first hand what exactly is happening. This raises awareness and allows people to be empathetic to fellow human beings going through a rough time. Disaster tourism may also stimulate the local economy during a time where money is needed.

Both sides have a point. In my opinion, disaster tourism is fine as long as you aren’t adding to the suffering by making the life of the victims harder. For example, looting during a disaster situation is unacceptable.

Disaster Tourism Destinations

32. War Tourism

War tourism is defined as recreational travel to a former or active war zone. The purpose is usually to better understand the history of a particular war or battle.

The most common form of war tourism is travel to battlegrounds from famous wars. At these sites, you’ll find plaques, museums, artifacts, and tours of the actual battle sites.

Some hardcore travelers choose to visit active war zones for the thrill and unique experience. Of course, this practice is incredibly dangerous and controversial.

War Tourism Destinations

33. Urban Exploration Tourism

Urban exploration is a type of tourism that involves exploring man-made structures. Usually, these are places that have been abandoned and left to sit for long periods without any upkeep. These sites are in a state of ruin and decay. Urban exploration can also involve visiting sites that are just hidden or difficult to access.

This type of tourism usually involves trespassing and can result in fines or punishment. There can be some danger involved as well. Dilapidated buildings may not be structurally sound. It would be easy to fall and injure yourself. You could inadvertently expose yourself to asbestos as well as toxic chemicals and gasses. There is a high level of risk involved.

Urban Exploration Tourism Destinations

34. Budget Tourism (Budget Travel)

main types of tourism

Budget tourism involves travel on with a small amount of money. Limiting your budget can be done for the purpose of adventure or simply due to a lack of funds. Budget tourism proves that you don’t have to be wealthy to travel. 

Backpackers are the most common type of budget tourist. This style of travel involves traveling by public transportation and staying in hostel dorms most nights. Bicycle tourists, hitchhikers, vagabonds, campers, and hikers can also be considered budget tourists.

The budget depends on where you’re traveling and how many comforts you’re willing to give up. Some travelers can get by on $5-$10 per day. This is what I would consider budget travel. Other travelers consider $100 per day to be a low budget. The average budget tourist probably spends somewhere around $1000 per month on average.

A few ways to cut your travel budget include: 

Budget Tourism Destinations

35. Space Tourism

This type of tourism involves travel to space for recreational purposes. This could mean orbital, suborbital, or lunar space. 

So far, only a handful of people have traveled to space recreationally. Between 2001 and 2009, the Russian Space Agency allowed civilians to travel to the International Space Station in a Soyuz spacecraft. This is no longer an option.

At this time, there are no available space tourism options but there are a few companies working on it. Within the next few years, aerospace companies like Boeing, Space X, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic plan to begin offering recreational trips into space. 

36. Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism is an approach to travel that focuses on environmental, social, and cultural conservation. It involves minimizing the negative impacts of tourism while maximizing its potential for local benefit and providing an enjoyable experience for tourists.

Sustainable tourism emphasizes awareness of environmental challenges, caring for both people and the planet by reducing the consumption of natural resources, supporting local economies, and preserving local culture. The goal is to create a better environment for future generations.

37. International Tourism

International tourism is travel to another country. It is an important aspect of the global economy, as tourists contribute by spending money on hotels, restaurants, transportation, and entertainment. International tourism is a major part of the tourism industry. In addition to money, international tourism also brings culture, knowledge, and understanding. This can help to bridge divides between nations and cultures. International tourism is also known as outbound tourism.

Whenever you travel to another country, you are participating in international tourism. Even if you just cross over the border for a day. International tourism is generally more expensive than domestic tourism.

The top 10 most popular international tourism destinations include:

Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Tourism

As you can see, there are many different types of tourism. The tourism industry is a major part of the global economy.

Traditional vacations to a resort or the beach are great but sometimes it’s nice to try something a bit different. Hopefully, this list of 35 types of tourism helps you expand your horizons while planning your next big trip.

One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to plan your whole trip around one type of tourism. For example, maybe you’re a foodie but you also want to give surfing a try. You can be a food tourist and extreme tourist in the same trip. Simply choose a destination that allows you to do both. Mexico would work great for this example. 

I’m pretty open-minded. Personally, I always like to try something different when I travel. I believe that tourists should be able to go anywhere they want, see anything they want, and do anything they want as long as they don’t harm anyone or cause any damage to the natural environment. I always try to choose a destination that allows me to experience something that I’ve never experienced before. 

What are your favorite types of tourism? Share your experience in the comments below!

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History of Travel and Tourism

Travel was inspired initially by the need for survival (food, shelter, and security), the desire to expand trade, and the quest to conquer. As the transportation system improved, the curiosity for transforming the vast and virgin world into a close neighborhood created a new industry, i.e., Travel and Tourism .

Types of Tourism

International tourism, inbound tourism.

This refers to tourists of outside origin entering a particular country. Traveling outside their host/native country to another country is called inbound tourism for the country where they are traveling. For example, when a tourist of Indian origin travels to Japan, it is  Inbound tourism for Japan because foreign tourists come to Japan.

Outbound Tourism

Domestic tourism, forms of tourism.

Some most basic forms of tourism are the following:

Classification of Tourism

3) Sports/Adventure : Trips taken by people with a view to playing golf, skiing and hiking, fall within this category.

Nature of Tourism

Tourism as a socio-economic phenomenon comprises the activities and experiences of tourists and visitors away from their home environment and are serviced by the travel and tourism industry and host destination. The sum total of this activity experience and services can be seen as a tourism product.

Importance of Tourism

Employment generation, infrastructure development, foreign exchange.

The people who travel to other countries spend a large amount of money on accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, shopping, etc. Thus, an inbound tourist is an important source of foreign exchange for any country.

Impacts of Tourism

Economic impacts, economics benefits, economic costs, social impacts, social benefits, social costs, cultural impacts, cultural benefits, cultural costs, environmental impact, environmental benefits, environmental costs, industries related to tourism, restaurants, retail and shopping, transportation, travel agencies, tour operators, tourist destinations, cultural industries, leisure, recreation, and sport, tourism products, charecterstatics of tourism products.

21 Fascinating Types of Tourists Around The World

There are so many different types of tourists around the world and it is important that we understand the different types of tourists in order to be able to ensure that the tourism industry meets their needs. Heck, it wouldn’t make sense to try to sell kids clubs tickets to tourists are are mostly elderly and without young children, just as it wouldn’t make much sense to sell  volunteer tourism  trips to tourists who just want to relax by the poolside for their annual vacation!

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From a tourism management perspective, we need to understand the different types of tourists so that we can provide each tourist type with the products and the services that best suit their needs and  demands . So in this article I will introduce you to the the major types of tourists, are you ready to learn more? Read on….

Cohen’s types of tourists

Cohen’s tourist typology was one of the first major typologies developed in the travel and tourism industry. Cohen said that types of tourists can be put into four categories- I have explained these briefly below (if you want a more comprehensive explanation, read my article on  Cohen’s tourist typology ).

Drifters typically have an authentic and deep  immersive tourism  experience, opting for staying with members of the local community rather than in hotels and spending their time in the local community. They seek adventure and plan their own itineraries. This type of tourist always opts for novelty over familiarity- you won’t see a Drifter eating in McDonalds or shopping in Zara! The Drifter is the type of tourist that is least connected with the mass tourism industry.

The Explorer

Explorers also seek novelty over the familiar, however these types of tourists do often have a little more interaction with the commodities associated with the tourism industry. For example, an Explorer may travel independently and enjoy an immersive cultural experience, but they may rest their head on a hotel pillow at the end of the day. This type of tourist will generally eat and shop local, but don’t be surprised if they enjoy a Big Mac from time to time too.

The Individual Mass Tourist

The Individual Mass Tourist seeks the familiar rather than the new. These types of tourists want familiar food, they want to be able to communicate in a familiar language and they want to stay in  types of accommodation  that they are familiar with. However, the Individual Mass Tourist is not constrained by the likes of group tours and activities- yes, they may book their holiday through a travel or use a local tour guide, but they will typically opt for solo travel over group tours.

The Organised Mass Tourist

The Organised Mass Tourist seeks the familiar, typically as part of an organised group. These types of tourists seek the familiar over novelty every time and they are often found with tour guides and undertaking group tours. The Organised Mass Tourist will generally have an itinerary or a plan and they will stick to it.

Plog’s types of tourists

Stanley Plog is another tourism academic who categorised types of tourists in his model of Allocentricity and Psychocentricity. Essentially, he grouped tourists into three types and then mapped this to the way that a destination may rise and fall in popularity. I won’t go into the details of Plog’s theory here, but if you do want to learn more you can head on over to my article ‘ Plog’s model of allocentricity and psychocentricity: Made easy ‘

Allocentric tourists

According to Plog, the allocentric tourist is most likely associated with destinations that are un(der)developed. These types of tourists might be the first tourists to visit an area. They may be the first intrepid explorers, the ones brave enough to travel to the ‘unknown’. Allocentric tourists like adventure. They are not afraid of the unknown. They like to explore.

Allocentric tourists are often found travelling alone. They are not phased that the destination they are visiting doesn’t have a chapter in their guidebook. In fact, they are excited by the prospect of travelling to a place that most people have never heard of!

Psychocentric tourists

Psychocentric tourists are the opposite to allocentric tourists. Psychocentric tourists are most commonly associated with areas that are well-developed or  over-developed for tourism . Many people will have visited the area before them- it has been tried and tested. These tourists feel secure knowing that their holiday choice will provide them with the comforts and familiarities that they know and love.

Psychocentric tourists travel in organised groups. Their holidays are typically organised for them by their  travel agent . These travellers seek the familiar. They are happy in the knowledge that their holiday resort will provide them with their home comforts. The standard activity level of psychocentric tourists is low. These types of tourists enjoy holiday resorts and  all inclusive packages . They are components of  enclave tourism , meaning that they are likely to stay put in their hotel for the majority of the duration of their holiday. These are often repeat tourists, who choose to visit the same destination year-on-year.

Mid-Centric tourists

Mid-centric tourists fall somewhere in the middle- these types of tourists like some adventure, but also some of their home comforts. Perhaps they book their holiday themselves through dynamic packaging, but then spend the majority of their time in their holiday resort. Or maybe they book an organised package, but then choose to break away from the crowd and explore the local area.

Types of tourists by destination type

It is common for types of tourists to be grouped by the destination type. This typically encompasses four major categories, as I have explained below.

Domestic tourists

Domestic tourism  is the act of travelling for business or leisure within one’s home country.  According to the UNWTO , a person must be away from their usual place of residence (but still in their home country) for at least one night to qualify as a domestic tourist.

Popular destinations for domestic tourism include the USA, India and China . This is because they are big countries with a variety of tourist experiences to offer.

International tourists

International tourism  is the act of travelling overseas for business or leisure. International tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world. Which tourists visit which destinations is determined by a number of different factors, such as distance to travel, cost of living in the  traveller generating region and the tourism destination region , the tourist ‘s culture, disposable income and a range of other factors.

Inbound tourists

Inbound tourism  is the act of someone travelling to a country other than that of where they live for the purpose of tourism.

Many countries around the world rely on inbound tourism. Inbound tourism is often seasonal, meaning that many destinations will have evident peak, shoulder and low seasons. This is often dependant on weather conditions (for example sun or snow) and school and public holidays.

Outbound tourists

Outbound tourism  is the act of travelling ‘out’ of your home country for the purposes of tourism. Outbound tourism does not include the purchasing of good or services before or after the trip within the tourism generating country.

The terms outbound tourism and inbound tourism are often used interchangeably. This is because a tourist who is travelling internationally is both an outbound tourist (because they travel OUT of their home country) and an inbound tourist (because they travel IN to another country).

Types of tourists by tourism type

Many people will differentiate types of tourists according to the type of tourism that they are undertaking. Whilst this  can  be useful, it can also become rather complication when you consider how many different types of tourism there are! Below I have outlined some of the most common types of tourists according to tourism type, but I do suggest that you also take a look at this article, which outlines  150 different types of tourism !

Sustainable tourists

Sustainable tourism is one of the most important types of tourism, if not THE most important type of tourism that there is and more and more tourists are embracing sustainable tourism nowadays than ever before.

Sustainable tourism , also often referred to as  responsible tourism , relies on the premise of taking care of the environment, society and economy. Sustainable tourism principles intend to minimise the negative impacts of tourism, whilst maximising the positive impacts.

Ethical tourists

Ethical tourism  refers to tourism that benefits the people and the environment involved. It is closely aligned with the concepts of sustainable tourism and responsible tourism. Many tourists now seek advice on  how they can be ethical tourists  and implement this into their travel decisions and behaviours.

Experiential tourists

Experiential tourism  is derived from the concept of experiential learning, whereby a person learns and creates meaning through their experiences. Therefore, these types of tourists focus on immersion with a particular destination, its culture, people, customs and histories. Experiential tourism is popular amongst backpackers, students and tourists looking for an authentic and deep travel experience.

Adventure tourists

Adventure tourism  is one of the most exciting types of tourism. Adventure tourism is tourism which involves a degree of risk. It typically requires specialist skills or physical exertion. Adventure tourists might go rock climbing, skydiving, white water rafting, mountain climbing, zip-lining and paragliding, to name just a few examples.

Dark tourists

Dark tourism , also known as black tourism, thanatourism or grief tourism, is tourism that is associated with death or tragedy.

The act of dark tourism is somewhat controversial, with some viewing it as an act of respect and others as unethical practice. Popular dark tourism attractions include Auschwitz, Chernobyl and Ground Zero. Lesser known dark tourism attractions might include cemeteries, zombie-themed events or historical museums.

Cultural tourists

Cultural tourism  is the act of travellers visiting particular destinations in order to experience and learn about a particular culture. This can include many activities such as; attending events and festivals, visiting museums and tasting the local food and drinks. Cultural tourism can also be an unintentional part of the tourism experience, whereby cultural immersion (with the local people, their language, customs, cuisine etc) is an inevitable part of a person’s holiday.


Ecotourism  is a form of tourism directed at preserving fragile environments and eco-systems. Ecotourism commonly occurs in threatened natural environments, where the intention is to provide conservation. Ecotourism efforts include building tourist facilities that have minimal impact on the natural environment, adopting the use of products such as compost toilets or solar-powered electricity.

Ecotourism has become somewhat of a ‘buzz word’ in recent years and is closely related to the concept of  sustainable tourism .

Medical tourists

Another type of tourist that is increasing rapidly are Medical tourists.  Medical tourism , also known as health tourism, refers to the act of travelling to another destination for the purpose of medical treatment. Motivations of medical tourists may include reduced costs for treatments or higher quality of provision. Medical tourists may seek life-saving treatments unavailable to them at home, cosmetic surgery or dental procedures amongst a range of other medical needs. Popular destinations include India , Turkey and Panama.

Religious tourists

Religious tourism , also known as faith tourism, refers to the act of travelling for the purposes of religious pilgrimage, missionary, or interest. A branch of  cultural tourism , religious tourism constituted some of the earliest tourism forms. Not all religious tourists conform to beliefs of or religious practices of the attractions/destinations that they are visiting which can cause conflict between visitors and worshippers. Popular religious tourism destinations include Israel, Mecca and Varanassi.

Business tourists

Business tourism , or business travel, is one of the most important types of tourism there is, because it is so big! Business tourism is essentially a form of travel which involves undertaking business activities that are based away from home.

Business tourism activities includes attending meetings, congresses, exhibitions, incentive travel and corporate hospitality.

The traveller versus tourist debate

I would like to finish off this article by paying reference to a debate that I see referenced a lot by my fellow travel bloggers- the tourism versus traveller debate- and I would like to debunk it.

There are many people who claim that they are not a tourist, but instead they are a ‘traveller’. They claim that this is because they enjoy immersing themselves into the local culture and avoiding  mass tourism  places. However, I would like to point out (as I explain in more detail in my article on the  definition of tourism ), that these people are indeed tourists, just as much as anyone else is a tourist.

As I have demonstrated throughout this article, there are many different types of tourists- yes, some enjoy local experiences and avoiding packaged, commodified and mass tourism products, and other types of tourists are at their happiest while sipping a cocktail by the pool in their  all inclusive holiday resort . It doesn’t matter exactly what we do on our travels- if we are travelling away from home to see and experience new and different places, we are tourists.

Types of tourists- further reading

If you enjoyed this article outlining the different types of tourists, I am sure that you will enjoy these articles too!

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