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Traveling through Time
From the Grand Tour during the Age of Enlightenment to Space Tourism of the Digital Age, travel has changed drastically. It is not only how we travel that has changed, but also why. While there will always be adventurers among us, most tend to follow current trends. The Macaroni of the past traveled through Europe during several months, or years. He gained status via experience and culture during his travel to Rome, the epicenter of classical rediscovery. Today, many seek leisure at luxury resorts along white-sand beaches or pampering aboard large cruise lines. While early tourists came from a life of riches, many modern tourists see a vacation as an opportunity to enjoy the luxury they usually don’t experience in their everyday life.
It was the Industrial Revolution that allowed travel to become an easier undertaking, allowing middle class tourists to seek out leisure at a more affordable price. The very first travel agency, Cox and Kings, was founded in Great Britain in 1758, where tourism first took off. Cox and Kings are still in business, along with the continuously thriving travel industry. Tourists have relied on travel agencies for a very long time. While the travel business has gone through challenging circumstances in the last few decades – epidemics, terrorism, and recession – the travel industry has recovered and continues to grow, and travel agents continue to gain business.
Do I need a travel agent?
The internet makes it easy and accessible for people to book their own travel, so why would anyone still need a travel agent? Well, travel agents don’t only sell travel, they sell insight, exclusive deals, and a peace of mind. The great thing is your personal travel agent doesn’t cost more than any other “online” agency you may use. You didn’t think about that, did you? That faceless, automated website is a travel agency too. Your personal travel agent’s credentials may seem questionable compared to a big business online, but with the backing of a powerful host agency, an independent travel agent is equipped with all the professional tools they need to provide the safety net many are looking for when they venture across the globe to discover new and exotic destinations. While a travel agent may have their own web presence, they are accessible to serve you personally via email, chat or phone calls. The last person you want to talk to when you need help with your travel is someone at a call center with a cheat sheet.
So what are the latest tourist trends?
Cruising has become bigger than ever, and the large cruise companies compete to add cutting edge experiences and excursions. Royal Caribbean International recently introduced their North Star, a capsule that rises more than 300 feet above sea level for a grand oceanic view. Norwegian Cruise Line has an enormous ropes course that includes both a zip track and a plank that allows you to lean out over the ocean for a thrilling sight. Destinations also compete in offering the extraordinary. For many countries, tourism is the main source of income. Some destinations rely on tourism so heavily their main population is in fact made up of tourists at any given point. Dubai, in the U.A.E., may have oil, but they have greatly invested in becoming a top tourist destination. Besides boasting the tallest building in the world, there’s not much you can’t do in Dubai, including skiing. If you really want to expand your horizon (pun intended) there’s always space travel. The future of tourism is shooting for the moon and beyond. Currently, space travel offers suborbital flights, and so far, such ventures are exclusive to our modern Macaronis – tourists of extreme wealth. However, as technology moves forward, space travel may very well become affordable to a greater demographic.
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By Jessica Lang, Multimedia Team Specialist, Travel Planners International