Tourism, Grand Tour

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Summary

Tourism is the travel for recreational, leisure, family or business purposes, usually of a limited duration. Tourism is commonly associated with trans-national travel, but may also refer to travel to another location within the same country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists 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".

Details

Modern tourism can be traced to what was known as the Grand Tour, which was a traditional trip of Europe (especially Germany and Italy) undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means, mainly from Western and Northern European countries. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational opportunity and rite of passage. Though primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of Protestant Northern European nations on the Continent, and from the second half of the 18th century some South American, U.S., and other overseas youth joined in. The tradition was extended to include more of the middle class after rail and steamship travel made the journey less of a burden, and Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" a byword.

The Grand Tour became a real status symbol for upper classes' students, in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this period, Johann Joachim Winckelmann's theories about supremacy of classic culture became very popular and appreciated in the European academic world. Artists, writers and travellers (such as Goethe) affirmed the supremacy of classic art whose Italy, France, Spain and Portugal are excellent examples. For these reasons, the Grand Tour's main destinations were to those centres, where upper class students could find rare examples of classic art and history.

The New York Times recently described the Grand Tour in this way:

The primary value of the Grand Tour, it was believed, laid in the exposure both to the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, and to the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of the European continent.

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