Welcome to coolgeography.co.uk
Back to main Back to GCSE Back to Tourism
The global growth of tourism
Think about it
Global growth
International tourist arrivals
MEDC dominance of wealth
Reasons for growth
Try this gap fill exercise

Produce a graph on this Excel file

Attempt the diamond rank and Quizlet games at the base of the page

Tourism is the world's largest income earner and was worth $500 billion in 2007. Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2008, there were over 922 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 1.9% as compared to 2007.

The graph above shows the last 60 years of tourist growth, increasing from just tens of millions in 1950 to 694 million in 2004.  The other massive trend is the continued dominance of Europe as a destination, but also the massive growth in numbers to East Asia and the Americas.

It generates huge amounts of wealth for countries and generates jobs at countries of all stages of development.  The reliance on tourism as a source of income varies across the globe and can be measured as a percentage of countries GDP.  Most Caribbean countries get at least half of their GDP from tourism and France, Spain, the USA, China, Italy and the UK are the most visited countries. This can be seen below;

In addition, it can be seen that many MEDCs also dominate the income earned by tourism;

Tourism has grown massively as an industry over the past century for a variety of reasons:
Advances in travel technology - There are a wider range of ways to travel as a tourist and these methods are widely available.  You can be a tourist using a car, a boat and most importantly an airplane. Motorways have linked places together, whilst Budget airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair have brought prices down and increased traffic volumes.
Holiday entitlement in many rich nations has increased over the past century.   This means that people can take more holidays during the year and swells the number of tourists.
People have more disposable income now - this is income that people have to spend on themselves.  This is partly because of salary rises and partly because the price for essential goods such as food and clothing has fallen. Many families now have 2 income earners rather than one; they have fewer kids and often have a car.  All of these factors increase the likelihood of people becoming tourists.
The availability and type of holiday has increased - mass tourism and package holidays have opened up markets to huge numbers of people.  Extreme and ecological tourism are also becoming popular, further swelling the choice.
The Media - Extensive coverage of holiday types has increased the demand to travel.  Most newspapers have a "holiday" section, whilst TV shows can show people the enormous choice on offer - shows such as Ray Mears and 71 degrees north can promote extreme tourism for example, whilst "Benidorm" promotes (???!) mass tourism.  Gap years have also been pushed by the media and are popular.

Watch how Stansted has grown above
Tourism growth can be limited on a local scale.  If there is civil unrest or a war tourist numbers can fall.  If there is a fear of terrorism, similar declines in tourist numbers can happen.  Bali was bombed and suffered a severe decline in tourist numbers, and global tourist numbers fell after the September the 11th terrorist attacks.  The banking crisis of 2008 also hit tourist numbers as people had less money available to them to travel.



Click here for larger version

Creative Commons LicenseCoolgeography.co.uk by Rob Gamesby is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Contact - robert.gamesby@st-marys.newcastle.sch.uk