Tourism is about creating memories of space, visited and experienced for a short period, away from one’s daily routine life. In the earlier unit, we looked at the concepts of anthropology and tourism. We traced the study of tourism to the point when it became an integral part of anthropological studies. In this unit, we take a look at the various meanings and connotations of the term tourism and its relationship with anthropology. 

The focus of tourism anthropology is to understand the social and cultural aspects of tourism and to study the behavior of the tourist (guest) and its impact on the host culture. There is a relation between anthropologists and tourists in that both visit and stay in places away from their homes. While the anthropologist undertakes this visit on a long-term basis and for academic purposes the tourist does it on a short-term basis and mostly for leisure entertainment purposes.

But there is an intersection between the two as both encounter different cultures and forms of social relationships, howsoever briefly, with an outside community. But before we go into a detailed understanding of this relationship, let us first consider a general overview of the concept of tourism.

Name the two groups into which tourism can be divided broadly


Tourism is a “modem ritual” (MacCannell 1976:13 cf. Graburn 1983:11) in which the populace “gets away from it all”, here all represent the everyday life which we call normal day-to-day life, where we perform some specified activities as per our roles, be it at home or in office. Tourism involves a break from our normal everyday mundane life, where one goes off to another location and is not following the day-to-day routine. This short break is supposed to rejuvenate, revitalize and refresh oneself, to regain energy to go back and carry on with the day-to-day routine, once the break is over. Graburn (1983: 11) has stated that “tourism involves for the participants a separation from normal “instrumental” life and the business of making a living, and offers entry into another kind of moral state in which mental, expressive, and cultural needs come to the fore”


A tourist has been defined as a “temporarily leisured person who voluntarily visits a place away from home to experience a change” (Smith 1977:21. cf. Grabun 1983). While according to Link 2008:8, someone who travels at least 80 kilometers from his or her home for at least 24 hours, for business or pleasure leisure, or other reasons is known as a tourist. Arunmozhi and Panneerselvam (2013: 84) stated that tourism is the short-term association of people outside the domicile where they ordinarily live and work to a destination that expressly meets their requirements. United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), 1995 provides a simplified version of the above definition.

1. Domestic (residents of a given country traveling only within that country)

2. Inbound (non-residents traveling in a given country)

3. Outbound (residents of one country traveling to another country)

On this basis, tourists have been categorized into local, regional, and international tourists.

Hospitality is a term integral to tourism. It can be defined as the business of helping people to feel welcome and relaxed and to enjoy themselves (Discover Hospitality, 2015). The Hospitality Industry is the combination of accommodation, food and beverage, and collective travel and involves entities such as hotels, restaurants, tour agents, and logistics.

Discuss the different types of tourism


Types of Tourism

Tourism can be divided into different forms based on region, duration, purpose, nationality, season, and the number of tourists. Broadly speaking, one can group tourism into two types: Domestic Tourism, for people traveling within their home country, and International Tourism for people who travel abroad, to learn and experience new cultures traditions and meet new people at the same time. However, some define tourism from the geographic criterion of the North American IndustryClassificationSystem(NAICS), because it allows the delimitation of tourist areas, such as mountain tourism, sea-beach, or archeological sites like caves.

Tourist areas are characterized by a specific type of travel or by a combination of some types, for example, if one is going to the beach then it can be combined with boating or spending some time on a yacht, or mountain tourism can be combined with rafting and trekking. The typology of tourism also varies according to the motivations of the journey, like a pilgrimage, visiting relatives for medical purposes, or attending a conference. Each type of tourism is distinguished by a specific purpose and is located in those regions where the desired goal can be achieved by the existence of some specific facilities, like hospitals and specialized doctors for medical tourism and famous or holy shrines for pilgrimage. A tourist would, for example, come to a country where cheaper yet excellent medical facilities are available; India is becoming a hub of medical tourism for these very reasons. While Saudi Arabia is an attraction for Muslims from across the world because of the Holy Mecca and Medina. 

A. Recreational Tourism

B. Therapy

C. Visiting relatives

D. Reduced distance relaxation

E. Transit tourism and

F. Professional tourism.

While the first five types of tourism are categorized as leisure activities, professional tourism is understood as a productive activity. Some exclude professional tourism from the main types of tourism, because being profit-making, it is far from the meaning of classic leisure activity. In terms of choosing the tourist destination Plog 2001, distinguished between dependable (who travelers) and ventures (who travel more) tourists while discussing psychographic characteristics in terms of the typology of tourist.

a) Voluntary tourism: Destination is chosen by the tourist – (relaxation, visiting relatives) 

b) Forced Tourism: Destination is chosen for various requirements- (health care, medical recommendations). 

Let’s take a quick look at some of the forms of tourism

1. Initial area and destination

a) Domestic tourism

b) International Tourism

2. Number of Participants

a) Individual Tourism

b) Group Tourism

3. Organisational criterion

a) Organised Tourism

b) Unorganised tourism

c) Semi–organized tourism

4. Season

a) Continuous Tourism

b) Discontinuous Tourism

5. Temporary or long term

a) Long period

b) Long duration

c) Reduced duration

6. Transportation availability

a) Tourism by train

b) Ship, boat, cruise ship

c) Aeroplane

d) Local transport

e) Cycling/walking

7. Social criterion:

a) Private Tourism

b) Social Tourism

8. Age and occupation

a) Youth Tourism

b) Adult Tourism

c) Older Generation

9. Type of destination

a) Mountains

b) Beaches

c) Wildlife sanctuary

d) Jungle safari

e) Trekking- Rafting (River)

What are pilgrimage and political tourism? 

Types of Tourism

Pilgrimage or Religious

Tourism Religion, rituals, sacred spaces, etc., since the early times have been explored by anthropologists and sociologists. Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912) puts forward the Functional theory that even the simplest form of religion has ritual performances, that are a celebration of the society itself and which bring about social solidarity. Following the cue given by Durkheim, MacCannell claims that tourism “is a ritual performed to the differentiations of [modern complex] society”. A tourist needs to visit other places because they are different and provide an experience not available to the tourist in his or her native place.

One can also apply Van Gennep’s theory of rites de passage, to the tourist experience. Gennep has described the three stages of transitional rituals, first separation (from ordinary day-to-day life), second, liminality (derived from the concept of crossing over the threshold in Latin (limen) where the person has been inscribed with a new role different from the everyday life and finally the third stage of reincorporation, whereby after the ritual period the person is re-established in the society and takes up normal day to day activities. In terms of tourism Turner, applied the concept of liminality, the segregation or the central period of a ritual, and suggested that it is most appropriate for truly religious, or societally comprehensive phenomena. The concept of liminal is best illustrated when pilgrimage is undertaken to renowned religious destinations like Mecca for ‘Hajj’ undertaken by Muslims or the pilgrimage to Kumbh Mela by the Hindus.

The preparations like fasting, abstention, and self-purification that are done for such religious pilgrimages can be called a liminal period in the real sense. The tourist first separates from day-to-day life, the first stage; then he or she goes into a stage of ascetic and contemplative mood and enters the liminal stage, and finally, after returning from the pilgrimage, they go back to the day-to-day life, so it is the third stage of reincorporation. Liminality in secular tourism and leisure activities may be called liminoid (Turner 1977: 43-46 cf. Graburn 1983: 14) to distinguish it from the rigorously imposed liminality for important pilgrimages. For many millennia people have made pilgrimages to cities, shrines, rivers, and mountains. Cities around the world have developed religious tourism, either because they are considered sacred or have sacred centers like famous temples or churches, or because they are places from where miracles have been reported (e.g. Fatima in Portugal, Lourdes in France).

Furthermore, while pilgrimages are usually associated with religious events or localities, tourism anthropology has also looked at the concept of sacred and cemetery tourism. Here the concept of sacred is broadened to include the sacredness assigned to important political or other secular events, that may be attached to emotions like patriotism or even family pride. Tourist at times visits some sites where political events have occurred, or which mark burial sites of political leaders or is marked by a famous historical event, like Lenin’s tomb, in atheistic U.S.S.R. (Graburn 1983:14) or War Cemeteries at various places in Europe or a place of a grave political eventuality like the Berlin Wall. Cemetery tourism deals with the transformation of death into touristic events like the visits made to the ancient city of Pompei near Mount Vesuvius where an entire city was buried under volcanic ash.

Cemetery tourism also involves visiting other cultures’ monuments dedicated to the dead, like the Taj Mahal in India or the Pyramids in Egypt. The guest tries to find solace in another culture’s ritual ways to find an understanding of the concept of death, thus, bringing about an empathetic relation between the guest and the host as the tourist tries to emotionally connect to the pain and sorrow of the native people. Visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC brings the visitor face to face with the trauma and pain of the Jewish people and it is visited by millions of tourists from across the world. Venbrux, 2010 in his work had explored the relationship between the guest and the host when coming to terms with death through cemetery tourism in his work, ‘Cemetery tourism: coming to terms with death?’ Some spaces are made sacred by particular narratives, in the form of myths and legends, like the myth of the appearance of the Virgin Mary or the site of a legendary battle, like Kurukshetra. The visitor should be a believer in the narrative. A faith-based pilgrimage not based on a spiritual narrative may be classified as pilgrimage-based tourism. In the Indian context, the visits to holy places like Hardwar and Banaras for life cycle events like mundane, shraddha, upanayana, etc., comes under this category. 

Travel for missionary work or humanitarian interest projects and for religious conventions and conclaves such as Nirankari Sabha, Radha Saomi Satsang, 750 years of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji, and Sufi Sai Baba conference are examples of faith-based tourism. It is big business as most people believe in some or the cause and also for most people, even if they are not very religious, pilgrimage for the rites of passage of dear ones is seen as an essential responsibility. Pilgrimage tourism can occur as an individual event or group activity. Since people consider it as an imperative like going for Hajj; it is less threatened by economic crises. It encompasses all ages and nationalities. The Tourist agencies have to be sensitive to religious needs and the nature of faith, to be successful in the conduct of religious tourism.

Eco and Nature Tourism: It entails visits to places that are renowned for their natural beauty and cultural practices that sustain the environment. Ecotourism is successful only when it takes care not to disturb the ecological balance. Anthropologists have studied the indigenous tribes and their relationship with nature and how sustainable tourism has provided a win-win situation for preserving the indigenous cultures and nature. Sofield 2002, in his work, Australian Aboriginal Ecotourism in the Wet Tropics Rainforest of Queensland, Australia addresses the concept of ‘perfect partnership’ between the indigenous communities and the wet tropical forest of Australia. The indigenous communities have always shared a special relationship with the land and nature, and their long-established practices of sustainable and harmonious development are often consulted for the needs of sustainable development, especially in the context of tourism. Many anthropological works have also highlighted the negative impacts of tourism and how the nature-culture relationship has been jeopardized owing to the development of the tourism industry. But tourism is a vital source of funds and dying cultures or threatened environments are often rejuvenated if they attract tourism. Therefore, to maintain balance and harmony between the environment and economy, the local communities need to be provided with the authority to manage their own culture and present it in their own way, to develop ecotourism (Sofield 2002, 118-122)

Wildlife Tourism: This type of tourism deals basically with the resources in nature that help in creating opportunities for tourists to spend some time with nature like visiting wildlife sanctuaries, trekking, bird watching, or being in the midst of nature that also forms part of eco-tourism. This kind of tourism is ideally environmentally responsible, has minimal environmental impact, and at the same time is economically advantageous to the local community. For example, the Himalayan region has several eco-tourism projects like trekking and river rafting. India has a rich forest cover and exotic wildlife. Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Corbett National Park, Gir, and Kaziranga are well visited and popular.

Leisure Tourism: It is mostly for the urban population. Urban life is full of stress and many people feel the lack of natural beauty and fresh air. Other reasons include the need for recreation and a change of scene. Sometimes people may go for tourism because of certain incentives like leave travel concession (LTC), where a person may get money for travel from their workspaces. The offices or work organizations may also provide their employees with summer or winter vacations with a tourist destination thrown in. Usually, such tourists who take a vacation because of routine reasons are conventional in their approach. Holiday tourism involves a crowded or traditional tourist area, and routes to transport them. Other important considerations involve criteria such as, that the place should not be very far, the climate should be salubrious, and there should be some specific activities there. An important consideration is that the place should be within the tourist’s income level and also compatible with the age and gender of the tourist. Natural resorts and calm environment for the aged, for the young, amusement resorts and trekking and adventure activities while most women love a place with good shopping opportunities.

Adventure Tourism: This involves exploration of remote areas, exotic locales, trekking to difficult terrains, and adventure sports like bungee jumping, hot air balloon rides, and paragliding. Such tourism is undertaken by persons who have a spirit of adventure and who are not satisfied with routine lifestyles. In the Indian context, the growth of adventure tourism is still at its niche stage as Indians are rarely interested in such tourism as involves too much risk. Safety is the main concern as per Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) an organization that is presently responsible for such tourism in India. In India, areas like Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttaranchal are some of the places where the possibility of adventure tourism seems promising. However, Meghalaya has opened up for adventure tourism with its many forest attractions like the root bridges, the sacred grooves in the forest, etc. Rishikesh is also coming up as a space for adventure tourism with facilities for river rafting.

Medical or Healthcare Tourism: Healthcare Tourism is known since antiquity, being one of the oldest types. Pollution in large urban centers and towns, sedentary life of people, and stress factors lead to this type of health tourism. The tourists value these resources with prophylactic and therapeutic properties. In addition, they can also avail of the arrangement of facilities for providing medical treatment. Tourists may come to improve health, physical appearance, or fitness, for instance, certain countries promote their medical facilities by facilitating the coming of tourists with amenities like providing them with visas and other incentives. Some regions may promote specialized treatments like in the area of cosmetic surgery or specific treatments like cancer.

Business Tourism: This involves the marketing of the enjoyable and other features of a travel destination and the provision of facilities and services for the carrying out of business activities. Such destinations include facilities for conducting business transactions, attending a conference, exhibition, or event associated with a business; and at the same time providing opportunities for enjoyment and sightseeing. For example, the International Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) is hosted by one University or the other among the member countries, held every five years at different locations. This allows not only the exchange of ideas and knowledge among the anthropologists but also helps in providing a glimpse of the cultures and other attractions of the places where these conferences are held.

Political Tourism: This refers to visits made for political ends to places of strategic importance. Israel can be taken up as an apt case. It is fast coming up as a space for political as well as war tourism because of the ongoing conflict that centers around Palestine. Koensler and Papa (2011) through their work on Political tourism in the Israeli-Palestinian space explore the lives of the volunteers from different parts of the world engaged in the peacemaking process. These volunteers from different parts of the world take part in peace marches and political activities. Some of them have also created graffiti presenting the new age Israel as an added tourist attraction. Similar graffiti is seen in the city of Belfast which has been marred by the ‘troubles’ since the early 1960s that continued up to the late 1990s. It finally came to an end with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 that left this part of Northern Ireland with a bitter legacy of communal violence between the Protestants and the Catholics. The horrors of the period find reflection in graffiti on the walls that to date divide the city into two halves. Peace marches every year by the two communities depicting their part of the story continue to be a living legend and reminder of the division in the city. This has attracted tourism and today Belfast is one of the well-known spaces for political tourism with the ‘peace wall’ as a great attraction that has been signed by many political leaders from all over the world.

Cultural and Heritage Tourism: Tourists visit landmarks of a particular country that are known for their historical and aesthetic importance like the Taj Mahal in India. They may also come to attend festivals and ceremonies to understand the beliefs and practices of different countries, like the carnival in Brazil, the Tomatina festival of Spain, etc. Tourists may come for famous cultural activities like theater and music festivals, performances of famous performers, and for visiting museums, archaeological and historical sites, and landmark events. Cultural tourism may involve visiting folk and rural areas, to savor the food and lifestyles that are different and away from what one is used to. In India, rural areas are of interest to tourists. Ethnographic traditions and folklore play a very significant role in cultural tourism. Current mass media promotions such as internet and television also lead tourists to certain areas which were not visited often in the past. 

Visiting Tourism: Visiting relatives or acquaintances is a very common practice in India. Spending vacations with grandparents and various relatives was a common practice. For women, visiting their natal homes with their children has been part of folklore and various kinds of folk sayings and songs. It is also a part of Indian mythology like the visit of goddess Durga to her maternal home with her children is celebrated as Durga Puja in Bengal. This type is characterized by lower mobility but longer periods of stay. This type of tourism does not also take into account tourist services in the areas visited, as people stay in the homes of relatives. But offices sanction special leave and at times even money for such visits to one’s hometown. It may or may not be seasonal. It does often coincide with long school vacations or other holiday seasons. Visiting the local historical monument or pilgrimage site does not bring large benefits to travel agents in these localities.

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