Digital Web Design Agency India

Explore our Market-Fit Services

We ensure to establish websites with the latest trends as we believe that, products whose value satisfies the needs of the market and its potential customers can be efficiently successful.

Quick Links

  • About Us – ColorWhistle
  • Engagement Models
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies
  • Web Development
  • Web App Development
  • Digital Marketing
  • Travel Website Development Services Company
  • Real Estate Website Development Services Company
  • Education Website Development Services Company
  • Healthcare Website Development Services Company
  • Hotel and Restaurant Website Development Services

Everything You Need to Know About Travel & Tourism Industry

Category: Travel

Date: August 18, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Travel & Tourism Industry

The travel and tourism industry is one of the biggest and fastest-growing industries in the world. We are still witnessing the continued interest of many people preferring to spend their spare time on travel.

This has given an enormous opportunity for travel and tourism-related business like travel agencies and tour operators to cater to the needs of this emerging demand.

In an effort to help people who want to enter the travel business, we have written this comprehensive introduction blog about the travel and tourism industry. We also regularly share informative resources for people in the travel industry . Do check out our blog section on a regular basis to read information-rich resources.

Let’s dive in.

What is the Difference Between Travel & Tourism Industry?

The terms travel and tourism are often used side by side and are closely linked. However, there are differences between the two. In this blog, we will find out more about the difference between both travel and tourism and the activities that set them apart.

  • What is tourism industry? – Tourism is the act of traveling to a different location for either business or pleasure for more than one consecutive year
  • What is travel industry? – Travel refers to moving from one location to another. It can be long-distance, short-distance, overseas or domestic travel and can cover a wide variety of different travel purposes.

It is completely understandable that many find it hard to figure out the distinction between both the terms because there seems to be a significant overlap. Many of the businesses and service providers seem to carter for both travel and tourism.

Despite the progressive and adaptive nature of the industry where the changes are evident via new introduction of tourism forms , there is no attempt to develop a commonly accepted definition of travel and tourism.

While we have attempted to define the concept of travel and tourism from a generic perspective, the practical application of the meanings we outlined can be difficult when used for specific types.

We would say that academics and practitioners from the industry have to come up with appropriate definitions so that it will represent the travel and tourism industry that operates today.

Evolution of the Travel & Tourism Industry

Here is a graphic we prepared that highlights the evolution of the travel and tourism industry .

What Are the Sectors and Components Within the Travel and Tourism Industry?

In this section, we will explain the various sectors and components that are present in the travel and tourism industry.

Sectors Within the Travel and Tourism Industry

1. transportation, airline industry.

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Airlines) - ColorWhistle

The transport (accessibility) system is one of the main key parts of the travel and tourism industry. It is considered as a link between tourist generating and tourism destination regions. Some of the major airlines in the world are,

  • Emirates Airline
  • Jet Airways
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Air France KLM
  • Southwest Airlines

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Car rentals) - ColorWhistle

People give a lot of importance to comfort while traveling. That is why there is a huge rise in companies that provide a variety of vehicles according to requirement and comfort of the clients. Some of the famous car rental companies are,

  • Budget Rent a Car

Water transport

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Water transport) - ColorWhistle

Waterways are important to the transportation of people and goods throughout the world. It has played a vital role in drawing different parts of the world closer and is essential to foreign trade. The different types of water transport are,

  • Tug boats, Rigs

Bus & coach

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Bus Coach) - ColorWhistle

Buses and coaches are one of the most important forms of passenger transport around the world. They have been shaping sustainable mobility for more than a century. Here are some of the luxury busses in the world,

  • Marchi Mobile EleMMent Palazzo
  • Featherlite Vantare Platinum Plus
  • Prevost H3-45 VIP
  • Foretravel IH-45 Luxury Motor Coach
  • Country Coach Prevost

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Railways) - ColorWhistle

Railways have helped mankind in many ways – in both voyages of commerce and discovery. They are still the most popular form of transport and given the environmental benefits , they will be with us for many years to come. Here are some of the most famous trains in the world,

  • Trans-Siberian Express
  • Orient Express
  • Flying Scotsman
  • Golden Arrow
  • Maharajas’ Express

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Space  Crafts) - ColorWhistle

This type of transportation has developed in recent years and is going to be quite influential in the years to come. The most famous company offering commercial space tourism is Virgin Galactic .

2. Accommodation

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Hotels) - ColorWhistle

Hotels are one of the most popular forms of accommodations for tourists or anyone who is looking for a place to stay overnight or on a short-term basis. They provide guests with private rooms, bathroom and other facilities. Some of the popular hotels in the world are

  • Emirates Palace
  • Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
  • The Westin Excelsior
  • Burj Al Arab Hotel

Shared accommodations

(Shared Accomdation) - ColorWhistle

Shared accommodations are commonly defined as two or more people living in accommodation together. Usually, each person will have their own bed and will share certain common areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. This is a budget-friendly option for tourists. Some of the most popular shared accommodation service providers are,

  • OneFineStay

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Camping) - ColorWhistle

Camping or temporary shelter is an outdoor accommodation which is in the form of a tent. Travelers who camp will also prefer to stay at a commercial campsite which has additional facilities. Some of the popular camping sites in the world are,

  • Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
  • Devon, England
  • Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, Scotland
  • The Alps, France
  • Hossa National Park, Finland

Bed and breakfast (B&B)

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Bed and Breakfast) -ColorWhistle

Bed-and-breakfast are cozy accommodations that are inviting, intimate environment where innkeepers are often present to look after every guest. In some cases, the owner of the B&B may live in the building too. Some of the most popular B&B’s in the world are,

  • Le Quartier Sonang — Amsterdam
  • Bed and Breakfast by the Beach — Bournemouth, England
  • Arbor Guest House — Napa Valley, California
  • Glendon Guest House — Derbyshire, England.
  • Cliffside Inn Bed And Breakfast — Newport, R.I.

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Cruises) -ColorWhistle

Cruise is a combined form of transportation and accommodation. People who go on cruise travel will have their own cabin where they can rest and relax. A major part of the passenger’s time is spent on the cruise ship. Some of the most popular cruise destinations in the world are,

  • Avignon, France
  • Glacier Bay, Alaska
  • Vienna, Austria

Timeshare accommodation

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Timeshare Accomadation) - ColorWhistle

Timesharing is shared ownership of a vacation property. A management company handles the construction of a property and sells shares where buyers can spend a specific amount of time on the property usually 1 week per year. Famous timeshare resorts in the world are,

  • The Ritz Carlton Club
  • The Disney Vacation Club
  • The Marriott Vacation Club
  • The Hilton Grand Vacations Club
  • The Hyatt Residence Club

3. Food & Beverage


Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Restaurants) - ColorWhistle

The restaurant and dining business is equally important as the scenery, accommodations, and destination areas because tourists want to engage in local culture when they go on a holiday. If you have any plans to create a restaurant website we have written a detailed blog about the essential elements a restaurant website must-have . Here are some of the famous restaurants in the world,

  • Osteria Francescana
  • El Celler de Can Roca
  • Eleven Madison Park

Bars & cafés

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Bars & Cafe's) -ColorWhistle

Bars & Cafés give a relaxed environment for travelers to eat and drink. Bars tend to focus on selling alcoholic drinks and soft drinks whereas cafés sell hot drinks and snacks. We have also written a detailed blog that has an amazing list of bakery & cafés website design inspiration , do check it out. Some of the world-famous bars & cafés are,

  • The Broken Shaker
  • Bell in Hand Tavern
  • El Floridita
  • Sant’Eustachio il Caffe
  • La Cafeotheque

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Night Club) -ColorWhistle

Nightclubs are commercial establishments that will stay open until late at night. These places combine music, dance and alcohol sales. Some of the world-famous nightclubs are,

  • Green Valley

4. Entertainment

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry(Casinos) - ColorWhistle

Casinos are similar to indoor amusement parks, but it is for adults. It has many games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat provides billions of dollars in revenue for casinos. Some of the world-famous casinos are,

  • WinStar World Casino
  • Venetian Macau
  • City of Dreams

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Shopping) -ColorWhistle

Shopping plays a vital role in the travel and tourism industry as it caters the basic necessities and it is also a form of entertainment. Many people specifically travel to experience shopping in those destinations. Some of the world-famous shopping destinations are,

  • New York City

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Museums)- ColorWhistle

Museums have objects and materials of cultural, religious and historical importance in one place. They are presented to the public for education and enjoyment. Some of the world-famous museums are,

  • Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Tate Modern
  • The Metropolitan Museum Of Art
  • Mauritshuis

Theme parks

Know About Travel & Tourism Industry (Theme Parks) - ColorWhistle

A theme park has various attractions, such as rides, games and events for entertainment. They will also have shops, restaurants and other entertainment outlets. Such types of parks can be enjoyed by adults, teenagers and children. Some of the famous theme parks in the world are,

  • Universal Studios
  • Pleasure Beach
  • Alton Towers

Components of Travel Services

Travel agency.

A travel agency sells or arranges transportation, accommodations, tours and trips for travelers. Some of the functions of a travel agency are to recommend a particular service that will be suitable for the traveler, provide assistance in procuring travel documents, process travel arrangements and give assistance in case of refunds or cancellations.

Online travel agency (OTA)

An OTA is a travel website that specializes in providing travel services to customers including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, activities, and packages. These websites have in-built booking systems that allow users to instantly book.

Some of the popular examples of OTAs are Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz. We have also written a detailed blog about what is an online travel agency and the benefits of partnering with them. If you are planning to create an OTA website, you can take inspiration from these 100+ travel websites .

Tour operators

A tour operator will combine tour products and travel services together to offer packaged holidays to the customers. Usually, a packaged tour will have a combination of air travel, accommodation and entertainment. The tour operator will provide organized activities for customers.

Destination marketing organizations (DMO)

DMO’s represent destinations and help to promote a particular destination as an attractive one by creating a long-term travel and tourism strategy.

Through this, they try to strengthen the economic position of that place which in turn will improve the employment opportunity for the people in that region. At ColorWhistle, we can help any type of travel and tourism provider to improve online visibility . All you have to do is, just get in touch with us to learn how we can help.

Drive Conversions and Boost your Business with Expert Travel Website Development.

How can colorwhistle’s digital solutions help travel and tourism businesses.

One thing that is common in this blog is that when we were researching to find the famous travel-related product or service provider in the world, each one of the big players had amazing websites. Those websites were the gateway through which those players showed their expertise to the world.

That is where ColorWhiste can help. We will help you to present your capability to the online world. If you are Solopreneur looking to enter the travel arena or growing or established travel business, we understand that improving your current state of affairs will always be on your mind.

Our amazing team at ColorWhistle can offer professional assistance. We have a powerhouse of multi-talented people experienced in web development and digital marketing .

If it is redesigning your existing website or creating a new one, we can polish your online image in no time. Get in touch with us today and let’s talk business!

In quest of the Perfect Travel Tech Solutions Buddy?

Be unrestricted to click the other trendy writes under this title that suits your needs the best!

  • Best Tour Operators USA
  • Online Travel Marketing Techniques
  • Travel Insurance Agency Technology
  • Best Tour Operators Europe
  • Travel Tourism Trends
  • Travel Marketing Campaigns
  • Medical Tourism Business

Related Posts

SEO Statistics and Trends for the Travel Industry

SEO Statistics and Trends for the Travel Industry

Integrating Booking Engine on Travel Website and Streamlining the Reservation Process - ColorWhistle

Integrating Booking Engines into Your Travel Website: Streamlining the Reservation Process

The Role of Social Media in Travel Marketing Best Practices and Case Studies - ColorWhistle

The Role of Social Media in Travel Marketing: Best Practices and Case Studies


About the Author - Anjana

Anjana is a full-time Copywriter at ColorWhistle managing content-related projects. She writes about website technologies, digital marketing, and industries such as travel. Plus, she has an unhealthy addiction towards online marketing, watching crime shows, and chocolates.

View Our Services

Have an idea? Request a quote

Share This Blog

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready to get started?

Let’s craft your next digital story

Our Expertise Certifications - ColorWhistle

Sure thing, leave us your details and one of our representatives will be happy to call you back!

Eg: John Doe

Eg: United States

Eg: [email protected]

More the details, speeder the process :)

Go to the homepage

Example sentences travel industry

Shame, then, that only a lucky few will get to make the journey, because the announcement seems to have caught the travel industry by surprise.
The travel industry welcomed the establishment of the taskforce yesterday but there was frustration that the process was only just starting.
The travel industry has said that it may lose more than $700 million.
The travel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak over the past month, with investors worried that fewer people will holiday abroad.
The moves rule out the possibility of a price war in the travel industry .

Definition of 'industry' industry

IPA Pronunciation Guide

Definition of 'travel' travel

Cobuild collocations travel industry, browse alphabetically travel industry.

  • travel halfway
  • travel in a direction
  • travel independently
  • travel industry
  • travel inland
  • travel insurance
  • travel internationally
  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'T'

Quick word challenge

Quiz Review

Score: 0 / 5


Wordle Helper


Scrabble Tools

  • Asset Management
  • Cash Management
  • Customer Management
  • General Ledger (Record to Report)
  • HRMS & Payroll
  • Manufacturing Processes
  • Order to Cash
  • Procure to Pay
  • Plan to Perform (Projects)
  • Tax & Compliance
  • Treasury Management
  • Warehouse Management
  • Aerospace Industry
  • Automotive Industry
  • Banking Domain
  • BFSI Industry
  • Consumer/ FMCG Industry
  • Chemicals Industry
  • Engineering & Construction
  • Energy Industry
  • Education Domain
  • Finance Domain
  • Hospitality Domain
  • Healthcare Industry
  • Insurance Domain
  • Retail Industry
  • Travel and Tourism Domain
  • Telecom Industry
  • Change Management
  • Communication Skills
  • Creativity Tools
  • Career Management
  • Decision Making
  • Leadership & Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Leadership
  • Strategy Tools
  • Stress Management
  • Team Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Leadership Theories
  • Leadership Styles
  • Domain Knowledge
  • What is Travel & Tourism

What is Travel & Tourism

What is Travel & Tourism

We all travel and have been a tourist, perhaps many times in our life. Tourism and tourist are so common words that they find mention in newspapers and magazines almost on a daily basis. In spite of its popularity, have you ever deliberated what the definition of travel and tourism is? What components constitute the tourism industry? Who qualifies to be called a tourist? Well, this article attempts to explore the words "travel”, “tourism” and "tourist'- both technically as well as conceptually.

What is the meaning of travel and how it converted into a full-time industry? What are the fundamental concepts pertaining to tourism and what are the characteristics of tourism as an industry? What are the different forms of tourism? In this article, we will explore answers to these basic questions on the travel and tourism industry.

Meaning of Travel

The term travel originates from the Old French word ‘travail’ which meant heavy labor. Travel refers to the movement of people or objects such as airplanes, boats, trains, and other conveyances between various distant geographical locations. Another "etymologically for the world tour as suggested by Theobald in 1994 is that it is derived from the Latin, 'tornare' and the Greek, 'tornos', meaning 'a lathe or circle and the movement around a central point or axis'. This meaning changed in modern English to represent 'one's turn‘ and they suggest the action of movement around a circle. Argument is that a circle represents a starting point, which ultimately returns back to its beginning. Therefore, like a circle, a tour represents a journey in that it is a round-trip, i.e., the act of leaving and then returning to the original starting point, and therefore, one who takes such a journey can be called a tourist

What is Tourism? Defining Tourism

Tourism in our minds is connected with vacation, holidays, pleasure, tours and travels, attractions, historic or scenic places, and going or arriving somewhere. Tourism is prevalent from the pre-industrial age and some common examples are cruises on the Nile River, tours made by wealthy Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and the grand tour. People travel for short-term to other places from their normal place of residence and during these temporary visits consume goods and services like transportation, accommodation, etc., and the entire process is known as tourism. The tourism industry revolves around providing enjoyment and pleasurable experiences. Hence the term ‘tourism’ is comprised of several social practices and experiences, signifying a 'departure' from normal mundane life.

According to the W.T.O , Tourism is the movement of people away from their normal place of residence and work for a period of not less than 24 hours and not more than 1 year. United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) definition is “Activities of persons traveling to, and staying in places outside their usual environment; not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purposes.”

Walter Hunziker , a Swiss professor who founded the Tourism Research Institute, defines tourism as “the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, in so far as it do not lead to permanent residence and is not connected to any earning activity".

The League of Nations in 1937 recommended that tourism covers the social activity of those who travel for a period of 24 hours or more in a country other than the one a person usually lives in.

The Rome Conference on Tourism in 1963 adopted the recommendation to replace the term "tourist" with the term "visitor" and defined tourism as a visit "to a country other than one’s own or where one usually resides and works"; for the following reasons:

  • Tourism - the activity of temporary visitors staying at least 24 hours for leisure, business, family, mission or meeting
  • Excursion - the activity of a temporary visitor staying less than 24 hours but excluding people in transit

The limitation with the above two definitions is that they exclude domestic tourists, although they do mention the day visitor.

The Tourism Society of Britain in 1976 defined tourism as "Tourism is the temporary, short-term movement of people to destinations outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during their stay at these destinations, including day visits and excursions."

AIEST the oldest international association of scientific and practical experts with a particular interest in tourism in 1981 held that "Tourism may be defined in terms of particular activities selected by choice and undertaken outside the home environment. Tourism may or may not involve overnight stays away from home".

These definitions indicate that definition of tourism has changed and expanded over time to include all types of leisure activity within its scope. We can now simply state that “Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes.”

Characteristics of Tourism

Given below are characteristics of tourism as evident from the definitions discussed above. Theses will be helpful in understanding tourism at a conceptual level.

  • Tourism involves travel and stay, can also include day trips, business trips, etc.
  • There is a movement of tourists from the place of origin to the destination. The tourism industry is tourist-oriented and built entirely upon people.
  • Tourism can be international when travel is from one country to another
  • Domestic tourism means the travel is within the country
  • Tourism is a leisure activity
  • Tourism also involves a journey and services like transport, accommodation, catering, and viewing, etc.
  • The journey and stay is generally at a site is outside the normal working place or residence
  • Tourism is for a short period
  • Tourism may involve a variety of experiences. Every individual tourist may have different perceptions about the same products/services of the tourism industry. Tourism is always about the experience that the customer makes.
  • The products and services of the tourism and travel industry are perishable meaning they are consumed as soon as they are produced and cannot be stored for the future.
  • Tourism is also associated with the status symbol in modem society
  • There may be indirect and direct recreational and health benefits of tourism
  • Tourism is now emerging as global phenomena
  • There exists a variety of tourist types and modes of tourist experiences
  • The tourism industry involves tourists, tourist product, types of destinations, attractions, and tour management
  • Most of the tourism products are intangible as tourism is about the time spent and the experience made
  • Social, economic, and institutional factors affect travelers’ decisions to travel to certain selected destinations that affect these decisions
  • Supply-side of the tourism industry is limited and pre-fixed that is surplus capacity based on demand cannot be instantly created like train berths, hotel rooms, etc.

What is Travel & Tourism

Growth of Tourism as an Industry

There has been an up-trend in tourism over the last few decades. People have a wide range of budgets and tastes, and a wide variety of resorts and hotels have developed to cater for them. As per the reports of the World Tourism Organization, in 2010, there were 940 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 6.6% as compared to the year 2009. As per their reports, France and the United States are the most visited countries in terms of the number of international travelers. Economic growth in China triggered tourist inflow and in 2010, China overtook Spain to become the third most visited country. The tourism industry is already the largest of all sectors in terms of world employment and is expected to grow 50 percent faster than in other sectors. It is also an excellent career option and offers various avenues to pursue a fulfilling career.

  • The travel and tourism industry’s percentage of world gross domestic product is 9.0 percent.
  • The world travel and tourism industry support 266 million jobs (1 in 11 of world jobs).
  • The world travel and tourism industry accounts for 6 percent of the world’s exports.
  • By 2020 there were over a billion international tourism trips and up to 7 billion domestic trips.
  • Tourism is an activity of global importance and significance and a major force in the economy of the world

Related Links

You may also like.

Impact of Tourism Industry

Impact of Tourism Industry

How does Tourism Industry impact a country? The impact of the tourism industry can be classified into the social & cultural impact, economic impact, and environmental impact. Social & cultural impact signifies the impact which it creates in terms of social changes. The economic impact can be quantified in terms of monetary benefits and overall economic development of the society. Environmental impact refers to the impact on nature and the surrounding areas.

Environmental Impact of Tourism Industry

Environmental Impact of Tourism Industry

The environment is the surrounding atmosphere or condition for existence. The impact of tourism on the environment is both positive and negative. This article considers the major issue of the consequences of tourism for the environment. This is a complex area as, whilst tourism is dependent upon environmental quality to attract and support visitors, it also can have a detrimental effect upon those very environments – and their climate.

Challenges in the Tourism Industry

Challenges in the Tourism Industry

Top challenges confronting tourism are taxation, travel marketing, infrastructure issues, and security and cross border regulations. Too many tourism destinations are not prepared for visitors. Tourists or travelers can at times deem travel marketing to be exaggerated. Another major challenge that the tourism industry faces is the fluctuating rates and cost inflation. New challenges seem to arise quickly impacting the industry as a whole.

Social & Cultural Impact of Tourism

Social & Cultural Impact of Tourism

Tourism may have different effects on the social and cultural aspects of life in a particular region depending on the strengths of the region. The effect can be positive or negative. Tours also focus on unique natural or geographical features like the coastline, islands, mountains, health resorts, countryside, etc. At such locations, the provision of tourist services and the pressure of tourists are bound to have impacts on the environment, economy, and local social practices and on the people.

Components of Tourism Industry

Components of Tourism Industry

The tourism sector is a range of businesses and organizations involved in delivering the tourism product. All the elements of tourism are related and interact; in essence, the tourism industry is a system of customers and suppliers who demand and supply tourism products and services. In relation to tourism, very often you will come across terms like tourism products and services. These components of travel and tourism can be broadly divided into six key areas highlighted below.

Types of Tourists

Types of Tourists

Wealthy people have always traveled to distant parts of the world, to see great buildings, works of art, learn new languages, and experience new cultures, and to taste different cuisines. There has been an up-trend in tourism over the last few decades and now national 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 cater for them.

What is Travel & Tourism

Economic Impact of Tourism Industry

The tourism industry has contributed to the economic growth of a country through factors like industrialization, education, advanced technology, a higher number of qualified professionals, opening up of foreign markets, liberal trade policies, and better advertising and strategic marketing. The income generated helps the national balance of payments, earning revenue through direct taxation, as well as from indirect taxes on goods and services purchased by the tourists.

Overview of Hospitality Industry

Overview of Hospitality Industry

Hospitality is the act of kindness in welcoming and looking after the basic needs of customers. The hospitality industry is a broad group of businesses that provide services to customers. The industry can be broken down into three basic areas: accommodations, food and beverage, and travel and tourism. Hospitality is actually one facet of the service industry. It primarily involves addressing customer satisfaction and catering to the needs of guests.

Explore Our Free Training Articles or Sign Up to Start With Our eLearning Courses

short definition of travel industry

  • Emerging Technology

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

© 2023 TechnoFunc, All Rights Reserved

Tour Operator Software

How does the travel industry actually work?

A traveller exploring an alleyway with pink buildings, and the words Understanding the travel industry.

You may be new to the travel industry, investigating a career in travel or just trying to research a bit about the industry ahead of your next adventure. There’s a mass of information out there and it can be overwhelming to wrap your head around. Lucky for you, our team of travel experts have been hard at work to give you a bird’s eye view of the travel industry as a whole .

The travel industry has gone through many evolutions with a variety of external factors contributing to who has access to travel, where they are travelling to and what the travel industry looks like overall.

A few important travel industry statistics

Let’s start by setting the scene…the travel industry is HUGE and the numbers certainly prove it .

In 2022, the travel industry contributed 9.5% GDP with a traveller purchasing a ticket; employed 320 million people globally with a tour guide telling a story; and 969.4 million international tourist arrivals with a traveller excited to explore the city they are in.

Source: Statista

A brief history of the travel industry

We are fortunate to live in a globalised world meaning that travel is reasonably accessible. At the press of a button, most people are able to book a flight and jet off to wherever our wallets will take us. 

But, it hasn’t always been so easy. To help you understand how the industry has developed to the point it has today and where it might head in the future, here is a travel industry timeline.

Before the mid 20th century, travel was reserved for the extremely wealthy. It was expensive and it was time-consuming (can you imagine having to travel on a boat for 3 weeks…. or 3 months!). The concept of a ‘travel industry’ had not yet formed; it was more a collection of hotels, restaurants and coachlines who all operated independently from one another.

1950 – 2000

After the Second World War, travel suddenly started to become accessible for many more people due to the development of commercial airlines. Although they were originally still very expensive,  costs started to reduce over the years and more people were able to invest in seeing the world.

The industry grew and grew, and many saw a gap in the market for people wanting to travel but not having the knowledge, or time to organise it themselves – travel agents and tour operators started to establish themselves!

2000 – 2019

The travel industry has undoubtedly boomed, and the way that people travel is almost unrecognisable from the early 20th century. With smartphones, we now have unlimited apps at our fingertips, specifically designed to make every aspect of travel easier. 

For travellers, there are websites and apps to help them plan their travel, help them while travelling and to give them inspiration for their next trip! For travel agents and tour operators, itinerary software has streamlined much of their processes, from itinerary planning to customer relationship management. Now all this technology is amazing, and helps our lives in many ways, but has also resulted in fragmentation of the travel industry with travellers choosing to plan and manage their trips themselves or online increasingly.

 2020 and the future of travel

Due to the pandemic and the pause in travel, both countries and travellers worldwide re-evaluated travel and how it should be conducted. Countries who experienced over-tourism considered ways to encourage more sustainable travel in their destinations . For travellers, Covid triggered them to start thinking about their bucket list destinations and working with travel designers to plan and book them. This resulted in tourism returning with a significant rise in 2022, although the industry is indicating it might be plateauing in 2023/2024 .

How does the industry actually work?

You may be thinking to yourselves, how does travel actually function as an industry . How does it all fit together? You are not alone, it’s a complex industry notorious for its jargon, terminology and abundance of acronyms!

A diagram explaining the travellers journey from inspiration to destination, which involves intermediaries like tour operators, travel agents, DMC's and Suppliers.

As you can see there are a few key players to remember:

Tourism Boards and Government organisations: Usually run or overseen by local or national governments. These boards set in place regulations for the other players in the industry. They also market countries or cities as tourist destinations for potential travellers

Suppliers/Vendors: Suppliers (or Vendors) are the hotels, the restaurants and the activity providers that travellers eat, stay and partake in on their travels. Travellers may liaise with and purchase from suppliers directly if they are organising their own travels, or communications with suppliers may be managed entirely by a middle-man (AKA, the tour operator, travel agent, travel wholesaler or DMC).

Tour Operators: Tour Operators design itineraries, often tailor made, for their customers, liaising with suppliers to organise and book the travel itinerary (partially or start to finish)

Travel Agents: Travel agents liaise with tour operators to book packages and tours for their clients. As such, tour operators will often focus on a certain destination or market area, whereas travel agents can focus on selling the whole world – with a comprehensive list of suppliers in their books

Destination Management Companies (DMC’s) : Organisations that specialise in offering tours, logistics, and planning services for a particular destination. They often re-sell their services to tour operators

Ground Handlers : A ground handler takes care of some day to day operations and tour management such as picking customers up from the airport and arranging sightseeing tours

Associations and Memberships: These organisations exist to provide support, promotion, and opportunity to other players in the travel industry. All of them operate with a slightly different mission, whether it’s to promote sustainable business practices, celebrate the luxury travel market or to connect travellers with LGBTQ friendly travel businesses

Travellers: Arguably the most important cog in the wheel. Everyone in the tourism industry sets out to meet travellers’ needs – to ensure they keep coming back for more!

The beauty of the travel industry supply chain is how all of these key players work together creating one of the worlds biggest industries.   

A diagram explaining how all the key players in the travel industry interact with each other and work together to market to the traveller.

 Interested to learn more?

The ultimate A-Z glossary for the Travel industry. Understand the different terms, jargon and acronyms.

For a taste of the luxury end of travel, explore our list of Exclusive luxury travel communities

To discover more about sustainable tourism, download our ebook focusing on how to elevate travel design with sustainability.

Travel designers- meet the influencers you should work with.

Travel designers- meet the influencers you should work with.

Understand the role travel influencers play in the industry and why tour operators should be following, interacting and collaborating with them. Explore eight global travel influencers who are inspiring travellers daily.

Tourism news websites you can trust

Tourism news websites you can trust

In the tourism industry it can be hard to differentiate the reliable travel news sources from the not-so-trustworthy ones. In this blog we summarise the top travel news websites that tour operators, travel agencies and DMC’s should pay attention to.

How to set your team up for success when introducing new software

How to set your team up for success when introducing new software

Making changes happen is hard. Especially when it is something that will create a significant impact on the way you work, like new software. We discover what change management is and how it can assist you, your leaders and your team in creating new processes that will make you more successful in the long run. Is it time for a change?

How can tour operators contribute to sustainable tourism?

How can tour operators contribute to sustainable tourism?

Sustainability is a key pillar of tourism, with a growing number of people interested in travelling responsibly and sustainably. We explore the easy ways in which your tour operator business can make a positive change. You can help to encourage economic growth and protect our environment whilst also watching your business flourish… could it get better?

short definition of travel industry

Logo for BCcampus Open Publishing

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

Chapter 1. History and Overview

1.1 What is Tourism?

Before engaging in a study of tourism , let’s have a closer look at what this term means.

Definition of Tourism

There are a number of ways tourism can be defined, and for this reason, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) embarked on a project from 2005 to 2007 to create a common glossary of terms for tourism. It defines tourism as follows:

Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes. These people are called visitors (which may be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure (United Nations World Tourism Organization, 2008).

Using this definition, we can see that tourism is not just the movement of people for a number of purposes (whether business or pleasure), but the overall agglomeration of activities, services, and involved sectors that make up the unique tourist experience.

Tourism, Travel, and Hospitality: What are the Differences?

It is common to confuse the terms tourism , travel , and hospitality or to define them as the same thing. While tourism is the all-encompassing umbrella term for the activities and industry that create the tourist experience, the UNWTO (2020) defines travel as the activity of moving between different locations often for any purpose but more so for leisure and recreation (Hall & Page, 2006). On the other hand, hospitality can be defined as “the business of helping people to feel welcome and relaxed and to enjoy themselves” (Discover Hospitality, 2015, p. 3). Simply put, the hospitality industry is the combination of the accommodation and food and beverage groupings, collectively making up the largest segment of the industry (Go2HR, 2020). You’ll learn more about accommodations and F & B in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 , respectively.

Definition of Tourist and Excursionist

Building on the definition of tourism, a commonly accepted description of a tourist is “someone who travels at least 80 km from his or her home for at least 24 hours, for business or leisure or other reasons” (LinkBC, 2008, p.8). The United Nations World Tourism Organization (1995) helps us break down this definition further by stating tourists can be:

  • Domestic (residents of a given country travelling only within that country)
  • Inbound (non-residents travelling in a given country)
  • Outbound (residents of one country travelling in another country)

Excursionists  on the other hand are considered same-day visitors (UNWTO, 2020). Sometimes referred to as “day trippers.” Understandably, not every visitor stays in a destination overnight. It is common for travellers to spend a few hours or less to do sightseeing, visit attractions, dine at a local restaurant, then leave at the end of the day.

The scope of tourism, therefore, is broad and encompasses a number of activities and sectors.

Spotlight On: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible “for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism” (UNWTO, 2014b). Its membership includes 159 countries and over 500 affiliates such as private companies, research and educational institutions, and non-governmental organizations. It promotes tourism as a way of developing communities while encouraging ethical behaviour to mitigate negative impacts. For more information, visit the UNWTO website .

NAICS: The North American Industry Classification System

Given the sheer size of the tourism industry, it can be helpful to break it down into broad industry groups using a common classification system. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was jointly created by the Canadian, US, and Mexican governments to ensure common analysis across all three countries (British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, 2013a). The tourism-related groupings created using NAICS are (in alphabetical order):

  • Accommodation
  • Food and beverage services (commonly known as “F & B”)
  • Recreation and entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Travel services

These industry groups (also commonly known as sectors) are based on the similarity of the “labour processes and inputs” used for each (Government of Canada, 2013). For instance, the types of employees and resources required to run an accommodation business whether it be a hotel, motel, or even a campground are quite similar. All these businesses need staff to check in guests, provide housekeeping, employ maintenance workers, and provide a place for people to sleep. As such, they can be grouped together under the heading of accommodation. The same is true of the other four groupings, and the rest of this text explores these industry groups, and other aspects of tourism, in more detail.

Two female front desk employees speak to a male guest in a hotel lobby.

It is typical for the entire tourist experience to involve more than one sector. The combination of sectors that supply and distribute the needed tourism products, services, and activities within the tourism system is called the Tourism Supply Chain. Often, these chains of sectors and activities are dependent upon each other’s delivery of products and services. Let’s look at a simple example below that describes the involved and sometimes overlapping sectoral chains in the tourism experience:

Tourism supply chain. Long description available.

Before we seek to understand the five tourism sectors in more detail, it’s important to have an overview of the history and impacts of tourism to date.

Long Descriptions

Figure 1.2 long description: Diagram showing the tourism supply chain. This includes the phases of travel and the sectors and activities involved during each phase.

There are three travel phases: pre-departure, during travel, and post-departure.

Pre-departure, tourists use the travel services and transportation sectors.

During travel, tourists use the travel services, accommodations, food and beverage, recreation and entertainment, and transportation sectors.

Post-departure, tourists use the transportation sector.

[Return to Figure 1.2]

Media Attributions

  • Front Desk by Staying LEVEL is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 Licence .

Tourism according the the UNWTO is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.

UN agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism worldwide.

Moving between different locations for leisure and recreation.

The accommodations and food and beverage industry groupings.

someone who travels at least 80 km from his or her home for at least 24 hours, for business or leisure or other reasons

A same-day visitor to a destination. Their trip typically ends on the same day when they leave the destination.

A way to group tourism activities based on similarities in business practices, primarily used for statistical analysis.

Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC - 2nd Edition by Morgan Westcott and Wendy Anderson, Eds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

short definition of travel industry


  1. Travel & Tourism

    short definition of travel industry

  2. Introduction to the Travel and Tourism Industry

    short definition of travel industry

  3. Tourism Industry: Here's all you should know about the structure

    short definition of travel industry

  4. PPT

    short definition of travel industry

  5. Travel Industry Overview

    short definition of travel industry

  6. Travel Industry Overview

    short definition of travel industry


  1. short definition wallpapers

  2. meristem kya ha ? short definition in Urdu ۔۔۔۔

  3. Dashain: Importance and Short Definition

  4. what is communication short definition #tranding #allstudy #allstudyeducation #communication

  5. Short definition 😂| Funny Video

  6. Sustainability in the context of digitalization & competitiveness in the aviation sector


  1. Why You Should Consider Renting a Cheaper Car for Short Trips

    If you’re planning a short trip, whether it’s for business or leisure, renting a car can be an excellent option. It gives you the freedom to go where you want when you want, without having to worry about public transportation schedules or r...

  2. What Is an Electrical Dead Short?

    A dead short is a short circuit that creates no real resistance, allowing the amperage to build up until it trips the circuit breaker. These can be difficult to track down and diagnose because the current builds so rapidly that it usually t...

  3. Why Short-Term Rentals Like 3 Month Rentals Are Becoming More Popular

    In recent years, short-term rentals have become increasingly popular among travelers and renters alike. One type of short-term rental that has gained particular attention is the 3 month rental.

  4. Travel Industry: An Overview of One of the Largest Service Industries

    In simple terms, the travel industry provides services related to travel from one location to another. This includes services directly related

  5. Travel Industry Definition

    Travel Industry means the markets which convention and visitor bureaus seek to attract in order to sell travel products. Such markets include group tour

  6. Travel and Tourism Industry; An complete Overview of All Activities

    The travel industry, therefore, refers to the numerous aspects of the wider service industry which cater to the needs and desires of those who have traveled

  7. Everything You Need to Know About Travel & Tourism Industry

    ... definitions so that it will represent the travel and tourism industry that operates today. ... short-term basis. They provide guests with private

  8. Tourism

    Tourism is travel for pleasure, and the commercial activity of providing and supporting such travel. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more

  9. TRAVEL INDUSTRY definition and meaning

    Example sentences. travel industry. These examples have been automatically selected and may contain sensitive content that does not reflect the opinions or

  10. Travel agency

    A travel agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism-related services to the general public on behalf of accommodation

  11. What is Travel & Tourism

    According to the W.T.O, Tourism is the movement of people away from their normal place of residence and work for a period of not less than 24 hours and not more

  12. How does the travel industry actually work together?

    A brief history of the travel industry. We are fortunate to live in a globalised world meaning that travel is reasonably accessible. At the press of a button

  13. An Overview of the Travel and Tourism Industry

    Key points, Travel Industry, Tourism Industry ; Definition, A network of businesses and services that facilitate travel, including transportation

  14. Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC

    Building on the definition of tourism, a commonly accepted description of a tourist is “someone who travels at least 80 km from his or her home for at least 24