Once upon a time, tourism was primarily associated with leisure and visits to exotic places for recreation and possibly a visit to see family. In the last few years, a number of different classes of tourism have been mentioned that relate to altogether different reasons for tourism: If tourists are attracted repeatedly to a particular location, no matter for what reason, they represent a potential resource for a wide range of local businesses.
Some kinds of tourism
- Health tourism this involves activities that promote good health. Examples of health tourism include visiting exercise or meditation centres or resorts that provide health services or specialise in vegetarian food. Such visits are typically of a specified duration, such as 3,5, or 7 days.
- Nip&Tuck/Plastic surgery tourism some tourists go to South Africa for plastic and reconstructive surgery following which they recuperate in a bush lodge for a few days. The surgery, bushlodge and travel are marketed as a package.
- Ecotourism - occurs in natural areas and integrates the local socio-cultural identity with ecosystem considerations. It promotes a sustainable ecosystem through a participatory environmental management processes involving key stakeholders.
- Agro-tourism - tourism in agricultural areas such as orchards, agro-forestry farms, herbal farms and animal farms, which have been prepared in some way for the tourists. Tourists gain experience in farming activities such as working with animals or harvesting crops, usually under the supervision of a farm guides. Lectures describing the operation of the farm may also be given.
- Cultural tourism (including Spiritual tourism & Knowledge tourism) - allows tourists to admire, learn and engage with local culture and traditions. The local community participates in the management of this form of tourism, which is based on the principle of conserving local culture and the environment. In Africa, examples of culture-based tourism include visiting palaces or experiencing local life in a tribal village.
Newly emerging categories of tourism include
- Disaster tourism - some tour operators have been marketing attractions such as the Maldives using a 'see it now before it is lost forever' approach.
- Stem Cell Tourism - Illegal in some countries, this procedure is being increasingly offered in the third world.
- Transplant tourism – still relatively rare in Africa but has been offered in South Africa
Key knowledge creation questions
- Why do people go to a particular destination?
- Are the number of tourists going to a particular destination predictable?
- What are the attractions of the area? Are there other potential attractions?
- What product or service could you provide within the system?