Tourism is travel for pleasure; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. Tourism may be international, or within the traveler's country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go "beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only ", as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".
Tourism can be domestic or international, and international tourism has both incoming and outgoing implications on a country's balance of payments. Today, tourism is a major source of income for many countries, and affects the economy of both the source and host countries, in some cases being of vital importance.
Tourism suffered as a result of a strong economic slowdown of the late-2000s recession, between the second half of 2008 and the end of 2009, and the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus,〔〔 but slowly recovered. International tourism receipts (the travel item in the balance of payments) grew to trillion ( billion) in 2011, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 3.8% from 2010.〔 International tourist arrivals surpassed the milestone of 1 billion tourists globally for the first time in 2012,〔 the same year in which China became the largest spender in international tourism globally with billion, surpassing Germany and United States. China and emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil had significantly increased their spending over the previous decade.
The word ''tourist'' was used by 1772 and ''tourism'' by 1811.
William F. Theobald (1994) suggested that "etymologically, the word ''tour'' is derived from the Latin, 'tornare' and the Greek, 'tornos', meaning 'a lathe or circle; movement around a central point or axis'. This meaning has changed in modern English to represent 'one's turn'. The suffix ''–ism'' is defined as 'an action or process; typical behaviour or quality', while the suffix, ''–ist'' denotes 'one who performs a given action'. When the word ''tour'' and the suffixes ''–ism'' and ''–ist'' are combined, they suggest the action of moving in a circle. Describing a circle implies returning to one's starting point, so a tour is a round-trip journey, i.e. the act of leaving and ultimately returning to the original starting point. Therefore, one who takes such a journey can be called a tourist."
Today, three schools discuss the roots of 'tourism'. The French School, led by A. Houlot, argues that the term 'tourism' comes from the old Aramaic Tur, which was used for the exploration and movement of people in the Bible. This word was used for the first time when Moses began his expedition to the lands of Canaán.〔Houlot, Arthur. (1961). Le Turisme et La Biblie. Revue l´Académie Internationale du Turisme. Monaco.〕 Another school of thought, the Onomastic School, considers the origin of the concept not from a linguistic perspective but rather links it to the last name of the French aristocrat Della Tour. According to this school, after Carlos V signed a treaty with England in 1516, in celebration of this event, the future king gave the Della Tour family exclusive rights to conduct commercial transport and related businesses.〔Leiper, Neil (1983). An Etymology of Tourism. Annals of Tourism Research (2). New York: Pergamon Press. Volume 10〕 A third school focuses on the Anglo-Saxon world, and scrutinises Theobald´s thesis. Surmising that the roots of the word 'tourism' lie in the ancient Anglo-Saxon term Torn, these scholars have found evidence that the term was coined in the 12th century by farmers to denote travel with an intention to return. Over the centuries, the meaning of the word has shifted. By the middle of the 18th century, English noblemen used the term 'turn' to refer to trips undertaken for education and cultural exploration. In reality, the purpose of the noblemen’s trips to the different parts of the kingdom was to acquire knowledge that was later useful for governing.〔Korstanje, M. 2007 The Origin and meaning of Tourism: Etymological study. E Review of Tourism Research. Vol 5 (5): 100-108. Texas A&M University, US〕
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