The Oxford English Dictionary dates the emergence of the term ‘tourism’ to the early years of the nineteenth century, and identifies two main strands of meaning. First, it refers to the ‘theory and practice of touring’. Second, it outlines ‘the business of attracting tourists and providing for their accommodation and entertainment; the business of operating tours’. Tourism, then, denotes a particular kind of travel that is associated with leisure and pleasure, usually clearly differentiated as a period away from ‘work’ (travel as holiday, vacation, annual leave), despite its origins in the word ‘tour’ which in its early usage denoted a period of work or duty. Unlike other forms of travel which are undertaken out of necessity or are enforced, tourism implies choice and agency, and positions the traveller as the consumer of a touristic ‘product’. Key Concepts in Tourism, edited by Loykie Lominé and James Edmunds, includes many terms which remind us of the fact that tourism as a term speaks to the business interests of those in the industry of organizing and facilitating the journeys of others (such terms include ‘cross price elasticity of demand’, ‘franchising’ and ‘public relations’ (Lominé and Edmunds 2007)).
Usage of the term ‘tourist’ emerged a little earlier than the noun ‘tourism’. Appearing in English in the late eighteenth century, ‘tourist’ was initially employed as a synonym for ‘traveller’, yet rapidly took on pejorative connotations (see Buzard 1993). James Plumptre's comic opera The Lakers (1798), for example, is both dedicated to, and satirizes, ‘tourists’. It presents a stereotype of touristic behaviour that still feels familiar: ‘Sir Incurious is so passionately fond of travelling, and the Lakes, that he drives post [swiftly] through the country every year, with his carriage windows up, and never gets out but to eat, drink, and sleep’ (Plumptre 1798, 2). Such denigration of this particular kind of travel – fast, superficial and detached – marks it out as inauthentic, simultaneously suggesting that there is another, more meaningful way to make a tour. Understood through this formulation, the tourist is an anti-traveller; as Jennifer Craik (2005) demonstrates in the entry on ‘Tourism’ for New Keywords, the traveller/tourist dichotomy suggests that there are kinds of travel that are laudable, and others that are not (see also Kinsley 2016).