Travel has become an innate part of our human existence. We desire to experience unfamiliar lands filled with rich cultures and languages. Centuries ago, leaving the confines of your home boasted financial power by the wealthiest. Fast-forward to the 21 century, the growth of technology has made travel is seemingly accessible to more people than ever before.
“The Travel and Tourism Industry is valued at an estimated $8.2 billion accounting for 10% of the global GDP” The Internet has revolutionised the way we travel through simplicity. Our handheld devices enable us to book trips in minutes. Travel has become a normality in our lives. Target Marketing through social media and the web sells us endless opportunities to venture to exotic and unfamiliar destinations. How has this information overload world altered the way travel agencies operate? The evolution of travelling in time spans a small fragment of the human existence. What can we learn from how those before us voyaged to different lands?
Travel has become an innate part of our human existence since the beginning of civilization. Exporting of goods to allied factions, war and conquest became necessary in the progression of groups. On the contrary, for much of time travel has as been a means of leisure. A burning desire to experience unfamiliar lands filled with rich cultures and languages. Travelling “becomes the very condition of modern consciousness, of a modern view of the world.”(Voyages and Visions:Towards a Cultural History of Travel).
Greek Civilization – Birth of Travel Writing
Greek mythology has shown us the power of belief in a religious cause. Between 430 BC to 500 BC, Athens was a popular destination for tourists wishing to see . Visitors primarily went to visit the Parthenon. A temple conceptualized by Greek statesman Pericles. Inside a crafted sculpture which gave homage to Athena, the goddess of wisdom. An act of show and tell of the Athenian values that still brings multicultural seekers this day. Trade between city- states was an essential part of Greek Culture. This negotiation factored the ability to travel through the following. “ Innovations in transport, goods could be bought, sold and exchanged“. Ancient Greece was a very mountainous and this made land travel difficult. The Mediterranean made travel by sea vital access route to factions.
Roman Social Order
In Roman times, leaving the confines of your home to venture abroad boasted financial power. The upper class who sat at the top of social order of could afford such a luxury. They “prided themselves on artistic, scientific and philosophical pursuits, travelling abroad was considered a method of expanding this search into other cultures and potentially provide additional enlightenment and learning opportunities”(Medium Article). The Roman Empire seeked expansion for its growing population. Emperor and political leaders like Julius Caesar had strong military ties which motivated them to fight wars. Occupying land was the perfect solution for their growing number of citizens.
The Middle Ages
Between 500-1500 AD travelling became extremely common among citizens. The types of people who travelled included “ merchants, migrants, messengers, military, religious figures”. Whether it was pilgrims seeking enlightenment in the holy land or conquest for plunder ; the common denominator was the need to travel swiftly and effectively. Transportation of products and people posed a number of challenges for the majority. Travelling was expensive due to the scarcity of mechanical vehicles. Consequently, trips could take to an enormous amount of time. Long walks had to be mustered by those who couldn’t afford horse carriers. The terrain of the land travel routes infused with a lack a road maps meant that carriers found navigating difficult. People had to rely on word of mouth when it came to reaching their desire destination. Sea travel was another mode of transportation. Distant trips to these coastal towns and cities could take weeks, and hazards in the form of disease, storms and navigation confusion. Overall, this time period is suggestive of how easy we have it today. Our medieval predecessors faced life threatening risks when they travelled. In contrast to the rapidity of air and sea travel that provides refreshments, sanitary conditions and relatively safe transportation.
19th Century Travel
The Victorian Age saw consequential problems for youth in relation to excessive alcoholism. The working class were simply drinking more and educating less.
A former Baptist preacher sought to rid of these problems by optimising “the great powers of railways and locomotion”. Thomas Cook birthed the world’s first travel agency in 1841.
Cook persuaded Midland Railway to transport his supporters of alcohol activism. Soon this expanded to regular working class. People were experiencing rail travel for the first time. Travelling allowed them to visit distant cities.This would take them days and weeks by horse drawn carriages.
He laid the foundation for what is the National Rail Service today. His collaboration with the Midland Rail Service allowed people to not only travel to cities all around the UK, but it opened up options trips in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. After setbacks in planning and persuading the right figure heads, in 1855, he eventually his business expanded internationally to Europe and North America. His sheer expertise am of this industry combined will determination would solidify his name as the mogul of travel. Pioneering what modern travel agencies do today.
20th Century Movement Towards Digitalization
The revolutionary work of Thomas Cook was a mere grain of sand in the evolution of the travel agency. The 20th Century saw the birth of car renting and the exponential growth of airline and travel technologies. This is the culmination of the highly digitized information world today.
In tomorrow’s blog you will learn about what is digitalization delving into the exploration of simplistic apps like Uber. Moving towards defining what are modern travel agencies today and the impact of digital technology has on their methods.