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About this book

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world, yet leisure travel is more than just economically important. It plays a vital role in defining who we are by helping to place us in space and time. In so doing, it has aesthetic, medical, political, cultural, and social implications. However, it hasn't always been so. Tourism as we know it is a surprisingly modern thing, both a product of modernity and a force helping to shape it. A History of Modern Tourism is the first book to track the origins and evolution of this pursuit from earliest times to the present. From a new understanding of aesthetics to scientific change, from the invention of steam power to the creation of aircraft, from an elite form of education to family car trips to see national 'shrines,' this book offers a sweeping and engaging overview of a fascinating story not yet widely known.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Modern Tourism

Abstract
According to license plates and roadway signage, the state of Maine, located in the extreme northeastern corner of the United States, is America’s “Vacationland.” During the summer, the various towns along the old coast road, Route 1, are packed with shorts-wearing, camera-toting, sandal-clad visitors racing excitedly from lobster shack to souvenir stand, beach arcade to sand towel. In Portland, the state’s major population center, tourists flock to the Old Port. This district, mirrored in virtually every major New England coastal town as well as many others around the world, features cobbled streets, vintage-looking storefronts, copious bars and restaurants, and souvenir shops heavily stocked with t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, and a host of gifts that proudly celebrate the state’s great claim to fame: lobsters and moose.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

1. Beginnings: The Grand Tour

Abstract
Edward Gibbon (1737–94), author of the epic six-volume Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, started his education on a sour note. Hindered by ill health, he was a poor student and the future classicist did not immediately take to Latin or Greek. Worse, although he loved to read, the boy was largely unimpressed with his tutors. As a result, when Gibbon matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, in April 1752 he was unprepared for his studies. On arrival the future historian found this most wealthy, prestigious, and ancient of Oxford colleges sorely lacking. He huffed, “these venerable bodies are sufficiently old to partake of all the prejudices and infirmities of age. The schools of Oxford and Cambridge were founded in a dark age of false and barbarous science and they are still tainted with the vices of their origin.”1 Much as critics of large research universities today decry the use of teaching assistants, Gibbon was disgusted by the fact that professors seldom taught while the tutors were wholly inadequate. In the end, his fourteen months at Oxford “proved … the most idle and unprofitable of my whole life.”2 It was all too much. A show of protest was called for; Gibbon converted to Catholicism, eschewing the established Church of England. Given a prohibition on Catholic attendance at Oxford, he was summarily tossed out of college.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

2. The sublime and beautiful

Abstract
The romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) was prone to dependency. Like many others of his day, he was hooked on opium and in 1803 he cut short a trip around Scotland with fellow authors William (1770–1850) and Dorothy Wordsworth (1771–1855) partly because withdrawal symptoms became painfully pronounced. Laudanum, the most prevalent form of opium in the nineteenth century, was simply not available in the rural Highlands.1 Yet this was not his only compulsion. The great romantic was strung out on something else, a fact clearly illustrated by an incident that took place during a hiking trip through England’s Lake District in the first week of August 1802. “There is one sort of Gambling, to which I am much addicted,” he wrote to love interest Sara Hutchinson. The poet continued: “It is this. When I find it convenient to descend from a mountain, I am too confident & indolent to look round about & wind about till I find a track or other symptom of safety; but I wander on, & where it is first possible to descend, there I go—relying upon fortune for how far down this possibility will continue.”2 As climbing historian Robert Macfarlane summarizes: “It was Russian Roulette, with the mountain-top the chamber of the gun and the ways off the mountain the bullets and the blanks.”3
Eric G. E. Zuelow

3. The age of steam

Abstract
Prior to the proliferation of the iron horse, travel was a misery. Roads, both in Europe and elsewhere, were terrible. Going to the North of England assured routes that were little more than “trackways for ponies” along which no cart could move. Even in Oxfordshire during the mid-eighteenth century, a distance of less than sixty miles from the capital, roads “were in a condition formidable to the bones of all who travelled on wheels.” Even if the surface was smooth, crime was a problem, stagecoach travel was dangerous and it was slow. It was not unheard of for horses to run away with their drivers after being startled. Bandits raised the threat of theft or worse—as poor Fynes Moryson discovered on his Grand Tour, and as many others realized when they confronted highwaymen such as the infamous Dick Turpin (1705–39) closer to home. A trip from Edinburgh to London took anywhere from four days on horseback to ten or more via stagecoach. Unless you had a substantial amount of time to spare and money to spend, this was no way to get around.1
Eric G. E. Zuelow

4. Packaging new trips

Abstract
The steam age and industrialization did not create the idea that tourism is healthy or introduce workers single-handedly to the notion of leisure, but it certainly helped to expand opportunities. Most people had long enjoyed the occasional day off from their labors. Religious holidays, seasonal festivals, and saints’ days were an established part of the annual calendar. By the first decade of the nineteenth century, there were forty-four bank holidays in England. Although that number declined to only four by 1839, some factories introduced their own holidays. Sunday was long a day of rest and Parliament eventually added half-days on Saturdays, then whole weekends.1 From the 1840s, labor legislation and rising real wages brought very real improvement to the lives of many, if not most, workers. The rise of railways provided a backdrop for these developments.2 British tourism promoters and seaside resort developers conspired to help workers, as well as their middle-class countrymen, fill leisure time with trips and adventures. The nineteenth century was a period of significant tourism growth, marked by continued emphasis on health, as well as increasing coordination.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

5. Guidebooks and the importance of seeing the sights

Abstract
Great literature does more than present a good story or interesting characters; it plunges the reader into life. It reveals truth about a time, a place, and a people. We should therefore take notice when the protagonist of E.M. Forster’s (1879–1970) novel A Room with a View (1908), Lucy Honeychurch, tears up outside Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. She is without her Baedeker: “How could she find her way home? How could she find her way about in Santa Croce?” Entering the famous Franciscan church, she is without moorings. Where are the famous frescoes by Giotto? Which tomb was “most praised by Mr. Ruskin?” Earlier, in preparation for her day out and before her far more adventurous friend Miss Lavish made off with the Baedeker in an effort to force Lucy to “simply drift,” the young tourist had poured over her guidebook carefully memorizing important dates in Florentine history.1 Such was the obligation of a respectable sightseer.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

6. Tourism in an age of empires and nationalism

Abstract
The nineteenth century was an “age of empire,”1 a period when European countries, led by Great Britain, assumed control of territory around the world. Related news coverage, travel accounts, adventure stories, and exotic art circulated widely.2 Perhaps as a result, people in both Europe and the United States grew more interested in the world around them. Some pursued colonial service. Others avidly followed accounts of far-off adventure in the pages of books or newspapers, such as Henry Morton Stanley’s description of his search for Dr. David Livingstone.3 Still others either set out alone, or joined an organized tour, to see the world.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

7. Bicycles, automobiles, and aircraft

Abstract
By the end of the nineteenth century tourism was global in scope and popular among a growing number of social actors. New inventions played a significant part in this process by reducing costs and increasing the number of people who could take part in travel. At the dawn of the twentieth century, three new technologies contributed to the development of mass tourism: bicycles, automobiles, and airplanes. Each new vehicle followed a similar trajectory. It was first the purview of elites. Then, new production techniques and novel inventions helped to increase accessibility while also spawning more uses—car camping, for example. Finally, each mode of conveyance caught the popular zeitgeist, became a regular part of daily life, and an accelerant for mass tourism.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

8. Tourism during the interwar years

Abstract
The nineteenth century was remarkable, filled with technological and cultural innovation, a rising standard of living, and widespread, though far from universal, optimism about the future. World War I (1914–18) changed much of this, especially for Europeans. It was a very different conflict from those of prior centuries. The Great War went on and on, seemingly without end. Casualty rates were dizzying, a sharp contrast with what had taken place in the past. Technology was supposed to make life better, yet on the battlefield it seemed only to result in mass death and vicious dismemberment. Young men, once the picture of health, were reduced to shadows.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

9. Tourism in the postwar

Abstract
World War II was both global and total. It was fought in the air, on land, and on the seas. The combatants leveled towns, destroyed factories, and decimated infrastructure. Once great cities such as Berlin, London, Dresden, Pisa, Coventry, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and many others were rendered vast ruins, mountains of rubble. Millions died, both soldiers and, on a hitherto unheard of scale, civilians. There were refugees everywhere.1
Eric G. E. Zuelow

10. Mass tourism

Abstract
Disneyland, the “happiest place on earth,” opened on July 17, 1955. Fifteen thousand invited guests and a sizable television audience anxious to catch a first glimpse of the park joined company founder Walt Disney (1901–66) and hosts Art Linkletter (1912–2010), Ronald Reagan (1911–2004), and Bob Cummings (1910–90) for the event. The program spoke volumes about tourism as it then looked. In particular, family and young people were everywhere. Cummings and Linkletter both brought their wives and children and the little ones were more than passive participants. Linkletter asked his kids which area of the park they were most anxious to see. Diane, his six-year-old, was itching for Fantasyland, “where Sleeping Beauty is.” Sharon, aged eight, hoped to see Frontierland, “when [sic] Davy Crockett fights the Indians.” The youngest, Robert, was set on a boat trip down “the Congo.” The eldest daughter, Dawn, dreamed of “a cruise to the moon in the rocket ship.”1 All of these things were possible.
Eric G. E. Zuelow

Conclusion: “Never ask an historian about the future”

Abstract
In the second decade of the twenty-first century tourism looks different than when elite males (and a few well-off women) embarked on trips around Europe more than two hundred and fifty years ago. There are similarities, an accretion of the past. Politics remain an important element of the story, even if in an altered way from when Queen Elizabeth I paid the best and brightest Britons to go abroad to learn about the neighbors. The notion that travel is good for you, that it will make you a better, more rounded person, is very much in play. As was true for spa- and beach-goers almost three hundred years ago, today people link health with leisure. Modern tourists maintain a desire to find the sublime and beautiful, even if they do not use those terms. Despite living in an age of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, postcards and other souvenirs still fill shops at major attractions and sightseers race to buy. But the overall scale is now larger. Once, tourists journeyed almost exclusively in Western Europe. Today they go nearly everywhere. Once critics remarked on the presence of a few hundred British visitors in Rome, today the figure stands in the millions. Once tourism was the purview of elites, today it occupies the minds of virtually everybody, at least in the developed world. Most striking, while in the past elites used tourism as a means of identifying themselves as part of a social group who all did roughly the same thing, today far more niche travel options help people express their claim to the “cool,” a state that is inherently about being above the crowd.
Eric G. E. Zuelow
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