Tourism: Meaning, Types, Nature, Components & Importance


Meaning Of Tourism

Tourism refers to social, cultural and economic phenomenon entailing the movement of people to foreign countries or places outside their usual environment for leisure or business motives. It is simply an act of travelling to places away from your hometown or usual area. It is quite interesting and thrilled filled activity that peoples have either done or would love to do it. Tourism is a collection of activities, services and industries that together provides better travel experience to peoples travelling away from their home. It comprises of transportation, eating and drinking establishments, accommodation, entertainment, retail shops and other hospitality services provided either to individuals or group of travellers. 

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) has specially defined tourism as a practice of travelling and staying away from your home or usual environment for 1 year or less in case if it is for leisure purposes, or for 24 hours or less if meant for business/professional purposes. Tourism concept is distinct from travel. In order for tourism to happen, some displacement must be there: a person has to travel using any mode of transportation (person can even travel on foot that is nowadays the case for poorest societies and happens even in more developed countries). Also, not all travels can be considered as tourism.

Types Of Tourism

Tourism is mainly of two types based on the purpose of visit and alternative forms of tourism. It can be categorized as international and domestic tourism. 

International tourism involves people travelling outside the boundary of their home country to some other foreign country. For travelling to foreign country, one need to go through several formalities and require documents such as valid passport, visa, foreign exchange, health documents etc. It is also divided into 2 types: Inbound Tourism and Outbound Tourism. 

Inbound Tourism: Inbound tourism refers to tourist belonging to some outside country entering a particular country. Travelling outside the home country to some another country is categorised as inbound tourism for the country where people are travelling. Like for example, when Indian origin tourists travel to Australia, then it will inbound tourism for Australia as foreign tourists have entered the country. 

Outbound Tourism: This refers to people travelling from their origin country to some different country. When tourists move to some foreign place, then it is categorized as outbound tourism for their own country as they are going outside their home country. For example, when Indian tourists travel to Australia, then it will be outbound tourism for India and inbound tourism for Australia. 

Domestic Tourism refers to tourism activities of people within their home country. When people travel to different parts of their home country, then it is covered under the domestic tourism. Travelling within the home country is easier because it does not need formal travel documents and tedious formalities such as compulsory health check-ups and foreign exchange. People when travelling domestically does not face much language issues or foreign exchange issues unlike in case of foreign travels. 

Nature of Tourism

The nature of tourism is much connected with travelling. It has been the human phenomenon since the beginning of human civilization. This is a sensitive factor for human nature in terms of moving to survive, explore and get to know the unknown things. Humans started travelling as nomads for search of prey and foods, in earlier times. Later on, the agricultural development developed the base for movement of peoples as traveller. After this the industrial revolution made various destinations prominent to travelling. This made the lifestyle of traveller much easier as well as safe to realize their tourism activities. Nature of tourism is further discussed in points below: – 

Tourism and service

Tourism is a service industry comprising of all those sectors of economy that are involved in offering services such as transportation, accommodation, food, beverage, as well as distribution and sales services. The tourism industry has been taken as term of economic growth, productivity, social development, employments income, etc. However, it does not produce any commodity that can be touched or taken home. Therefore, tourism is a hospitality industry and bridge in between peoples. It makes valuable contribution to world’s economy via offering jobs to more and more people than any other industry. 

Tourism is economy contributor

With the help of tourism business, a lot of income is generated within economy in the form of domestic or foreign exchange. A large population gets employed in this industry. Tourism industry is a major contributor to public revenue. Also, nature too can be tapped and friendly relations with other countries can lead to provide benefits for economy. 

Tourism products are highly perishable

The tourism products cannot be transported to customer location. Customers need to move to the products or visit the points of service delivery. For example, hotel rooms, culture, attraction is not possible to be transported from Sri Lanka. ‘Export’ or ‘Export of tourism products’ denote the arrival of tourists or facilities utilized by tourists. 

Tourism assists in educating the mass

Tourism industry plays an effective role in spreading ideas and knowledge among mass population. There is a spontaneous method of learning and exchange of ideas in this industry. Exploration and discovery scope is very high among the adventure tourists. Also, because of tourism, respect for each other’s own life exists. 

Tourism industry is sustainable

There is not any horizon or end to tourism activities. Tourism industry is a long-term industry. It represents non-stop movement of peoples and this incessant move give rise to more and more tourism activities. 

Components of Tourism

Tourism does not operate in isolation, but contains some components without whom it can’t be operated. Tour undertaken by person is affected by distinct elements or components. These components are core parts of tourism and are known as 4 A’s of tourism. 

The four components are: Attraction, Accessibility, Accommodation and Amenities. 


Attraction is considered as the most important component of tourism that creates desire among people to make visits to a specific place or destination. It is anything influencing or inspiring people to make visit/travel. Every country has different type of attraction that attracts in large number of tourists. The lack of attraction cannot pull travellers. Attraction is all those elements, that determines the tourist’s choice to visit one place over others. Peoples can be attracted by different attraction such as trekking, sunrise, waterfall, monument, historical building, cultural sites, national parks, beach resort, flora and fauna, scenic beauty, religious sites etc. The attraction creates flow of tourism to particular area/place and act as magnetic power on pull factor of tourism. 

Attraction can also be classified into two ways: – 

Core Attraction: Core attraction denotes the basic assets or attributes of particular place/destination. This makes up the main theme of destination. Core attraction may be natural or man-made, cultural recreations, historic or spectator events. 

Supporting Attraction: It includes the facilities and services that serve the needs of travellers lodging, food service, shopping and local transport, foreign currency exchange and so on. Also, the success of every tourism destination depends not only on its power to attract visitors but also on its ability to hold them. Therefore, a destination must have sufficient attraction such that it is appealing to wider market.


Accessibility is also key component of tourism that denotes reachability to place of destination via distinct modes of transportation. It is simply the way through which tourists can easily reach their destination point. An attraction is not only necessary but it should also be accessible. Tourists reach the place of attraction by using the means of transportation. Therefore, transportation services should be regular, economic, comfortable and safe, as if travel services are better then more will be the tourists coming. Transportation is very crucial and if tourism destination lacks transport facilities, it becomes of little value. 

The passenger transport is categorized into public or private, international air and surface, etc.

Air Transport: Air transport is the fastest growing means of long-distance tourist transport and served as primary means of transport on many routes. 

Sea Transport: It plays a major role on short sea routes, waterways and for cruises. 

Rail Transport: Rail Transport is good for both short and medium distance within the home country or in-between different countries. This assist in reaching destination or for movements at destination. 

More and more tourists will visit a place if it has good modes of transportation available. For example, if we compare rara lake and phewa lake- Rara lake is beautiful destination in western Nepal but only few tourists visit this place due to transportation problem. Whereas, phewa lake is visited by millions of people due to the availability of good transportation.


Accommodation is another component of tourism which is a primary service needed by tourists at the place of destination. It has important role to play in influencing the tourists to choose destination. Accommodation denotes a place where travellers get food and shelter to stay. The tourists can stay in distinct types of accommodation such as staying with relatives, friends, other private accommodation and their own means of accommodation such as tent and caravans. This also include the provision of food and beverages for tourists. 

Tourism arises from the movement of people and stay at the place of destination. Accommodation complements the attraction and every tourist want such accommodation where they can stay comfortably and served good food. They give more priorities to place with good accommodation having all facilities such as hotel, lodges, apartment, bar and restaurant. A huge amount of investments are needed on accommodation that are designed as per the paying capacity of tourists. A well-designed accommodation at nice location with all facilities is also attraction. Tourist must spend at least one night on destination; therefore, accommodation is important. No one is going to visit a place with attraction and accessibility, but no accommodation. 


Amenities are yet another important component of tourism that are extra facilities like service added with attraction, accessibility and accommodation in order to create tourism. They on their own does not generate any tourist flow but their absence may distract the tourists. Amenities are basically the elements which provide pleasure and satisfaction to tourists from destination. Modern amenities are primary elements of tourism and are provided by government, hotel, airlines, travel agencies etc. Different amenities that government provides are visa, entry to archaeological and cultural sites, mountaineering permit, custom facilities etc. The necessary service and facilities for making guest feel comfortable while travelling such as food, rest, sport, communication and entertainment are also included within amenities. For example, sea side resort offer facilities such as swimming, yachting, boating, recreation.

Amenities are both natural and man-made where natural amenities comprise of fishing, trekking, beaches, climbing, viewing, and man-made amenities comprises of cinema, internet, telephone, drama, music, fair and festival, E-mail and fax service.

Importance of Tourism

The tourism industry is important due to the benefits it brings and its role as a commercial activity that creates demand and development for many more industries. Tourism not only contributes towards the economic development, but also generates large number of employment opportunities and revenues. The importance of tourism is well-discussed in points given below: – 

Brings in Influx of Wealth

The biggest advantage tourism provides to every country it that it provides way to economy for receiving influx of wealth. This thing becomes very crucial for nations with newer and weaker economies, and requires the boost. There are numerous countries in Africa that especially need this, and are heavily dependent on tourism sector. Tourists travelling from strong economy countries provide foreign cash that is much stronger than the currency of weak economy countries. This in turn means that tourists are willing to spend more, considering the strength of their money in particular area. Of course, this will bring in more benefits for country. The money spend by tourists not only goes to popular tourist destination and activities, that funds local tour operators and small ventures, but also goes at their general stay.

Large job opportunities

One of the best advantages of tourism industry is that it provides large employment opportunities for locals. Creation of jobs is the most obvious benefit provided to every country. This got spread throughout all industries, from pilots flying the planes for connecting countries to the people washing utensils in restaurant kitchens. Rise of customers during tourist peak season within the wide range of business fields provide enormous benefits. Tourism too creates new jobs for local peoples within the countries, paving the way for opening of new locally run business. More jobs are created from these new businesses both within the travel and tourism sector. 

Building infrastructure

An important benefit of tourism industry is construction and improvement of infrastructural facilities within the country. With the help of wealth inflow from tourists and local communities, large expenses for building up of roads, school, parks, hospital and community areas can be easily afforded. A booming tourism industry won’t be able to survive in country having absence of right infrastructure, as tourists face difficulties in moving around and there won’t be much activities available. For example, if country’s roads are badly damaged and cannot be driven on then tourist won’t be able to move to places where they want to. 

Source of diverse income

Most of the countries are heavily reliant on different industries operating within them, and when these industries fall short then entire economy broke down. Tourism is one of the industries that is much reliable and provides regular flow of income to countries. This means that sometimes the main industry of country can be tourism industry. Tourism remains heavy unlike the other one that changes with seasons. The tourism industry helps in easing the strain caused by suffering industries, and assist in minimizing the massive negative effect this has on overall economy of country. 

Environmental protection

The environmental health is nowadays taken seriously by entire world. Due to this, there is a demand for destinations to be environment friendly. Business involved in tourism activities are taking efforts to make themselves stand out by being more responsible to environment offering eco-tours. These businesses then impact the wellness of environment and improves ways of treating massive habitats. Now, key natural areas remain unharmed and conserved due to their value to tourism industry. Practice of eco-friendly tours and accommodations motivate tourists to respect the untouched sites they are visiting, that helps in keeping these sites and their inhabitants unharmed.

Gender equality

Women fill up the majority of positions in tourism industry among most parts of the world. Unfortunately, they tend to hold more jobs at lower designations and many of them even perform unpaid jobs in their family tourism businesses. That said, the gap in wages is smaller as per the UN Women. Women are earning 14.7% less as compared to men and fill more management roles than in other fields. Tourism industry carries lots of opportunities and strategies that has great potential to further empower women. 

Preserves heritage

Another important advantage of tourism is the preservation of culture and heritage. There are lots of tourist who visit the destination specially to see the local heritage. And due to this, many destinations will take all possible steps to preserve their heritage. This can involve putting restrictions in place or limiting the number of tourists, if necessary. It is also an example of careful planning of tourism and sustainable management of tourism.