Tourism, in particular mass tourism, is frequently described as a phenomenon of modern society (Sharpley, 1994). It is modern society, through the development of fast, efficient and economical forms of mass transport, increasingly high levels of disposable income and the provision of socially-sanctioned free time that has provided the means and the opportunity for people to participate in tourism. Additionally, modern society is a major factor in tourist motivation. Whether to simply escape from the pressures and stress of modern life or to seek the authentic, satisfying and meaningful experiences elsewhere, people increasingly believe that the only way to survive in modern society is to regularly remove themselves from it, albeit on a temporary basis. Thus, in short, tourism is both caused and sustained by modern society.
However, tourism is not a single, well defined activity. Tourism encompasses an enormous variety of holidays, modes of transport, destinations and activities, each of which increase or decrease in popularity over time. In other words, the developments and trends that have, and continue to, occur in tourism cannot be simply explained as resulting from the modernisation of society. In order to fully understand the link between society and the development of tourism, in particular trends and changes in tourism practices rather than tourism as an overall human activity, it is necessary to consider the nature or condition of modern societies. That is, modern, industrial societies are characterised by a combination of economic, political, social and cultural processes that together create a form of social life that sociologists call modernism. These processes are constantly evolving and adapting according to the needs and demands of society so that, whereas modern in the temporal sense is a fixed state, modernity as a social condition is dynamic. Indeed, it has been suggested that as modern societies become post-industrial,... [continues]
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