Wealthy people have always traveled to remote parts of the world, to see grand buildings, works of art, learn new languages, experience new cultures and taste different cuisines. There has been an upward trend in tourism over the past decades and now domestic or international travel for short breaks is very common. Tourists have a wide range of budgets and tastes, and a wide variety of resorts and hotels have been developed to meet their needs.
If global definitions of tourism and tourist are desirable; In practice, tourists represent a heterogeneous, not homogeneous, group with different personalities, demographics and experiences. We can classify tourists in four basic ways that relate to the nature of their trip:
National and international tourists
A fundamental distinction can be made between domestic and international tourists, although this distinction is blurring in many parts of the world (for example, in the European Union). Domestic tourism refers to trips made by residents in their country of residence. There are rarely monetary, language or visa implications, and domestic tourism is more difficult to measure than international tourism. As a result, domestic tourism has received little attention. In contrast, international tourism involves travel outside the country of residence and there may well be currency, language and visa implications.
Based on travel arrangements
The type of travel arrangements purchased, such as:
- An inclusive tour where two or more elements of the trip are purchased together and only one price is paid;
- Independent travel arrangements where the traveler buys the different elements of the trip separately
- Tailor-made travel, which is a combination of the two and is common due to the use of the internet to purchase travel
- The distance travelled, which makes it possible to distinguish long-haul tourism (generally considered as travel over a distance of at least 3000 kilometres) and short-haul or medium-haul tourism (involving shorter journeys). This is important in terms of aircraft marketing and operations (and has carbon emissions implications)
Purpose of the visit
Tourists can also be classified according to the “purpose of visit category”. Not only are these categories used for statistical purposes, but they are also useful for tourism marketing. The terms tourism and travel are generally used interchangeably. However, travel has a similar definition to tourism, but involves more purposeful travel. Thus, the trip can be done for leisure or to accomplish a specific objective, such as an IT professional traveling on site to meet the client on his project. Thus, “tourists” can be conventionally classified into the following three categories:
1. Leisure and relaxation
This includes holidays, sports and cultural tourism, and visits from friends and relatives. These people travel for pleasure. In recent times, leisure tourism has emerged strongly due to lifestyle changes; people’s consumption pattern, increasing leisure must de-stress and rejuvenate. Pleasure trips can be made for vacations, sports, educational projects, school trips, family outings, weekends, etc.
2. Other tourism purposes
This includes study and health tourism. While the tourist visa will not allow the holder to follow a study program, the holder of a student visa can travel in the country and enjoy the visits and the meetings. Educational tourism is growing due to the growing popularity of teaching and learning knowledge and improved technical competition outside of the school environment. In educational tourism, the primary purpose of the visit or leisure activity includes visiting another country to learn about the culture, study trips, or to work and apply skills learned in the classroom in a different environment, such as within the framework of the international practical training programme. Health tourism is a broader term for travel focused on medical treatment and the use of health services. It covers a wide area of health-oriented tourism, ranging from preventive and health-promoting treatments to rehabilitation and curative forms of travel. Wellness tourism is a related field.
3. Business and Professionals
This includes meetings, conferences, missions, incentives and business tourism. These individuals travel to meet their work-related needs, such as attending business conventions, meetings, conferences, or for any purpose incidental to the demands of the job. Business tourism is travel to a destination away from home or a normal place of work. It is a type of travel for professional rather than personal purposes. Some types of business tourism are incentive travel, exhibitions and trade fairs, conferences and meetings, and corporate events.
There are many other ways to classify tourists. These range from simple demographic and travel classifications, to their lifestyles and personalities, to their perceptions of risk and familiarity and postmodern interpretations of consumers and products. However, an increasingly relevant approach for contemporary tourism is to classify tourists according to their level and type of interaction with the destination. We can also distinguish many types of tourism such as heritage, cultural, urban, rural, ecological and nature tourism.