Monthly Archives: October 2012

The history of mass tourismMillions of Germans are annually sent to travel abroad. With tourism as a mass phenomenon began to develop just a few decades ago. Before long journeys could afford only very wealthy people.

Many kilometers of traffic jams on roads and endless queues at airports – so Germany looks during the summer school holidays. A trip to one of the Canary Islands, including flights and the cost of a weekly stay in the hotel with Breakfast and dinner, you can buy it for 300 euros. While on vacation the majority of Germans have begun only a few decades ago.

In carriages over rough roads

“Researchers believe that the concept of “tourism” appeared in the XVIII century” – says the Hasso Spode (Hasso Spode), member of the historical archive at the Free University of Berlin. But what separates the traveler from the tourist? “Tourism is travel without clearly defined objectives, – the expert believes. – Previously, the travelers set out on a journey with a specific mission: the pilgrims sought spiritual solace, the conquerors had set sail for new victories.” And only in the XVIII century people began to travel just for fun.

Only for the rich

At first, the journey could afford only wealthy people. Had to get to the goal on rough roads, to take care of the nights and the change of horses. Because Germany at that time was not a unified state, travelers at border crossings had to pay fees for the use of roads and other charges.

According to the testimony of German historians, the first “shelter” organized tourism began in the late eighteenth century the Mecklenburg Baltic sea coast. In the town of Heiligendamm began to open the baths and beaches. Travelers were asked all thirty-three pleasures: gambling, horse riding, horse racing, various festivals, and even the services of prostitutes. Swimming in the sea was not the main occupation of the illustrious visitors. The writer Ludwig Bern (Ludwig Börne) in 1825 laughed at them: “the Princes and princesses here so much as the snails: they are met at every step”.

Advertising poster Thomas cook

Revolution Thomas Cook

“Tourism was popular among a small number of people. In the eighteenth century only about one percent of people in Germany could afford to travel,” explains the Hasso Spode. However, the situation quickly changed. Not only aristocrats longed for rest. In 1841 a British entrepreneur Thomas cook has made a revolution in the field of tourism: using the railway, it carried a group of about 600 people for the purpose of walks. Thomas cook booked for clients whole trains and in hotels. Staying out of the competition, he offered tourists vacation at very affordable prices.

“Thomas cook was a very successful businessman in the field of tourism”, – emphasizes the Berlin expert Hasso Spode. It offered its clients the services of tour guides, took responsibility for solving various organizational problems while traveling. In Germany very quickly found followers cook, who began to engage in tourist business, taking advantage of rail transport. Because the train could ride in any weather, regardless of the state of the roads, and the passengers could enjoy the views from the Windows of cars.

When national socialism

After coming to power in 1933 the Nazis took into their own hands and travel business. Their main goal was to attract representatives of the working class. “The Nazis created in 1933 the organization “Strength through joy” (“Kraft durch Freude”), which became one of the world’s largest travel companies,” emphasizes the Hasso Spode. She offered, for example, cruises that were previously available only to the rich. Propaganda pictures show people on the loungers, enjoying the sunshine on Board the ship.

Passenger liner “Wilhelm Gustloff”, 1938

But with the outbreak of the Second world war, the tourist zeal of the Nazis subsided. The private travel company continued to exist, which is very irritated the authorities, who wanted to use trains exclusively for military purposes. “Wanderlust in the people was so great that the Nazis were afraid of her to interfere”, – says the expert on the history of tourism the Hasso Spode. Only in 1943 the German travel companies was suspended.

The economic success of West Germany led to the revival of the tourism industry. Many went on the road already in their own cars. In 1970-ies routes vacations have become more diverse. Especially fond of the Germans, Italy and Spain. Rising wages and relatively low prices of sale vouchers made the experience accessible to everyone.

The beach in the Italian resort town of Rimini

In the GDR have been a somewhat different situation. Here, according to the expert the Hasso Spode, the widespread so-called social tourism. The rest of the citizens were controlled by the authorities, and the unions were the main coordinators of the holiday destinations of the inhabitants of the GDR. The choice was, but not too wide: GDR citizens could go to neighboring socialist countries, say, in Hungary or Czechoslovakia, Poland or the USSR. Only with the fall of the Berlin wall, East Germans gained full freedom of movement.

Prospects

But not all Germans today pulling abroad. “Germany itself for many still is a favorite place of rest”, – said the expert on tourism from the University of Munich jürgen Shade (Jürgen Schmude). And the attitude of the Germans to the rest changed lately. Despite the fact that in 2012 holiday budget people in Germany were not the highest in the world, giving primacy to China, tourism in Germany – good prospects.

“A new trend several trips a year: the Germans divide their vacation into two or three parts. If before the vacation was only for the summer, today the Germans rest and in the autumn, winter and spring”, – says the expert from Munich.