Many tourists spend their holidays on beaches. They relax, go bathing or just enjoy the salty sea breeze and the ocean. Spending holidays on beaches has had a long tradition for over one and a half centuries.
Winter tourism started out in the middle of the 19th century when wealthy Europeans went to St. Moritz and other alpine resorts. In Europe and in the American Rockies skiing resorts attract millions of people every year. Various lifts bring skiers to altitudes of over 3,000 meters.
People go to other countries for medical treatment and operations. Irish women, for example, go to the UK because abortions are forbidden in their country. West Europeans go to Eastern Europe for dental treatment. Americans go to Mexico for plastic surgery and other operations.
Organized tours were started in the middle of the 19th century by a British businessman, Thomas Cook. Package tours are made up of travel to and accommodation at the destination. A tourist agency often provides everything from a plane flight to a rental car. Sometimes such package tours offer a combination of beach holidays and sightseeing trip.
Spas have been popular since Roman times. In 16th century Britain, Bath became the center of spa tourism for the rich population. During the 19th century spas emerged all over Europe. Today people go to spas for the healing effect of mineral waters as well as for wellness treatment, massages, steam baths and other services.
In the past few decades trips to faraway exotic places have become popular. Tourists looking for thrilling activities go mountaineering, rafting, trekking , or even to remote places in the rainforest.
Religious tourists go on pilgrimages to holy sites. Roman Catholics, for example, travel to Lourdes, Fatima or the Vatican in Europe. Muslims are required to go to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. Varanasi , on the banks of the Ganges River, is the spiritual capital of the Hindus.
Recently many people have chosen a type of tourism that does not damage the environment. They avoid travelling by plane or do not buy souvenirs that are made out of endangered plants and animals. Some holiday offers give tourists the chance to take part in environmental projects.
Rafting on a wild river
Relaxing in a spa
Mountain biking in winter
On a pilgrimage in northern Spain