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Forms of Tourism

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This OER enables you to:

  • explain the different forms of tourism
  • distinguish between the various forms of tourism
  • suggest appropriate form of tourism to the tourist
  • define special interest tourism


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There are two ways we can look at this activity. One is visiting some place for a reason and then go as a tourist or you can directly go as a tourist. You already know that tourism is an activity done by an individual or a group, moving from one place to another, from a country to another for performing a specific task, or a visit to a place or several places for entertainment which leads to an awareness of other civilizations and cultures and history. Tourism is an important industry that depends on culture and science and has a direct impact on the national revenue for all touristic countries.

Forms of Tourism

There are different purposes of visits
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Based on the purpose of visit tourism is categorized into the following

Leisure Tourism

Tourists may travel to experience a change in climate and place and learn something new, enjoy pleasant scenery, or to know more about the culture of a destination. Tourists, who seek break from the stress of day to day life, devote their holiday to rest and relaxation, refresh themselves. These tourists prefer to stay in some quiet and relaxed destination preferably at a hill resort, beach resort or island resort. Nowadays tourists undertake various adventure sports activities for leisure and to refresh themselves after working hard. This tourism includes following forms based on the activities undertaken:

Cultural tourism

It is also called as heritage tourism. People are curious to know about foreign lands and their cultures. Culture is most important factors which attracts tourists to a destination.

Cultural tourism gives insight to

  • Way of life of the people of distant land
  • Dress, jewellery, dance, music, architecture
  • Customs and traditions
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Religions
  • Culinary delights

Religious tourism

It is also called as Pilgrimage tourism / Spiritual tourism. It is a form of tourism, where people travel individually or in groups for pilgrimage. The world's largest form of mass religious tourism takes place at the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Modern religious tourists are more able to visit holy cities and holy sites around the world. The most famous holy cities are Jerusalem, Mecca and Varanasi.

Family Tourism

Family tourism involves the family unit and their participation in diverse forms of tourism activity. This includes visiting one’s relatives and friends for interpersonal reasons. Many people in India travel for visiting their friends and relatives. While visiting friends or relatives, people also visit tourists’ attractions in and around the city.

Health Tourism

Health tourism is also called as Medical tourism. People have been travelling for centuries to improve and rebuild their health and stamina. Today, many people travel great distances to exotic locations or health care facilities in faraway countries, in search of medical treatment and care. Medical tourism is an age-old concept that has gained popularity in the recent times. Many developing countries are emerging as hot medical tourism destinations capitalizing on low cost advantages. Many hospitals have specially designed packages including resorts facilities. Thus health tourism covers one or more of the following aspects-

  • Change of climate
  • Alternative therapy- Ayruvedic treatment, hot Sulphur springs, Naturopathy and art of living
  • Medical treatment

Sports Tourism

Sports Tourism refers to travel which involves either viewing or participating in a sporting event staying apart from their usual environment. Sport tourism is a fast growing sector of the global travel industry. Sports tourism refers to people travelling to participate in a competitive sport event. Normally these kinds of events are the motivators that attract visitors to visit the events like Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup. Sports tourism can be adventurous also. Adventure sport tourism is also called as Adventure tourism. Adventure sport tourism is more challenging because it takes the tourists into regions which are less frequently visited and may not have easy access. According to the National Tour Association, adventure tourism is a "tour designed around an adventurous activity such as rafting, hiking, or mountain climbing."

Adventure sports tourism is a package of

  • Recreation
  • Enjoyment
  • Education
  • Thrills of participating in an adventure

Adventure tourism has various forms, which can be broadly categorized as follows:
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Educational Tourism

Educational tourism developed, because of the growing popularity of teaching and learning of knowledge and the enhancing of technical competency outside of the classroom environment. In educational tourism, the main focus of the tour visiting another country to learn about the culture, such as in Student Exchange Programs and Study Tours, organizing specialized lectures of the eminent personalities and for research. image:Research.png|100px image:Learning.png|100px image:Teaching.png|100px

Business Tourism

The business traveler’s main motive for travel is work. Tourists visit a particular destination for various reasons pertaining to his /her work such as attending a business meeting, conferences, conventions selling products, meeting clients. Business tourism is popularly called as MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) tourism (MICE Tourism: )

Alternative forms of Tourism

Alternative tourism aims at seeking a change from impersonal, traditional tourism to establishing cardinal rapport between visitors and the local community. Instead of using touristic commodities these tourists prefer to use or share the services of local people. The focus in these travels is the preserved natural environment, authentic atmosphere and cuisine, and local traditions. Alternative tourism is nowadays regarded as a key to sustainable development. It is also known as special interest tourism. It is of various types

  • Ecotourism
  • Food tourism
  • Agro-rural tourism

image:alternative forms of tourism.swf File:ecotoruism kerala.flv


On tourist map of India highlight famous sites for the following forms of tourism. • Leisure • Water Adventure Sport • Health tourism • Religious tourism


Nowadays, people are more aware of destinations and attractions, have money to spend, and need break from their routine stressful life. They take breaks to refresh and relax or may travel for some psychological and social needs. Tourism service providers need to understand what motivates a person to travel. Various purposes have been categorized and these have led to different forms of tourism. The popular and most basic form of tourism is leisure tourism, under which family tourism, cultural tourism, religious tourism, sports tourism are included. Business tourism is also getting momentum.

Inkpot.png Assignments

  1. How cultural tourism is different than religious tourism?
  2. What does MICE stands for? What are its components? How it is beneficial for the country?
  3. Visit various places of interest in your city and classify the types of attraction as per the above classification.