International Tourism Trend Analysis: Tourism as a Learning Experience and Educational Tool
The international use of tourism as a learning tool can be argued to be fundamental to the history and expansion of the industry, as the original 19th century European tours were devised to enable experience of the cultural epicentres of the continent. It can equally be argued to be a relatively recent development, which all levels of tourism actors, from multinational tour operators to local businesses, are now embracing in order to provide a holistic and forward thinking product. As the founders of the membership organisation Educational Travel Community (ETC) state, “educational travel facilitates deeper, more enduring connections between travellers and the communities they visit through strong interpretation, experiential programming, and meaningful engagement,” (ETC online, 2010). This essay seeks to explore the history and current extent of this trend, with reference to utilising educational tourism to benefit indigenous cultures, as well as outline its anticipated future evolution and impacts.