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History Of Travel & Tourism

by Tatiana Plesco

Travel for trade was an important feature since the opening of civilization. The port at Lothal was an important center of trade between the Indus vale civilization and the Sumerian civilization.

  • The initial form of leisure tourism can be outlined as far back as the Babylonian and Egyptian empires. A gallery of historic antiquities was open to the public in Babylon. The Egyptians held numerous religious festivals that concerned the devout and many people who thronged to cities to see famed works of arts and buildings.

In India, as elsewhere, kings toured for empire building. The Brahmins and the mutual people traveled for religious purposes. Thousands of Brahmins and the mutual folk thronged Sarnath and Sravasti to be received by the inscrutable smile of the Enlightened One- the Buddha.

  • The Greek tourists voyaged to sites of healing gods. The Greeks also liked their religious festivals that progressively became a pursuit of pleasure, and in particular, sport. Athens had become an important site for travelers visiting the main sights such as the Parthenon. Inns were recognized in large towns and seaports to deliver for travelers’ needs. Courtesans were the principal entertainment offered.

This age also saw the birth of travel writing. Herodotus was the worlds’ first travel writer. Guidebooks also made their appearance in the fourth period covering destinations such as Athens, Sparta, and Troy. Ads in the way of signs directing people to inns are also known in this period.

  • With no foreign borders amid England and Syria, and with safe seas from piracy due to Roman patrols, the situations favoring travel had arrived. First class roads joined with staging inns (precursors of modern motels) endorsed the growth of travel. Romans traveled to Sicily, Greece, Rhodes, Troy, and Egypt. From 300 AD travel to the Holy Land also became very popular. The Romans presented their guidebooks (itineraries), listing hotels with symbols to identify quality.


Travel and Tourism were to never achieve a similar status until the modern times.

Travel became problematic and hazardous as people traveled for business or for a sense of obligation and duty.

Adventurers sought fame and fortune through travel. The Europeans tried to learn a sea route to India for trade purposes and in this fashion exposed America and explored parts of Africa. Strolling players and minstrels made their living by acting out as they traveled. Missionaries, saints, etc. traveled to spread the sacred word.

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