In the United States, tourism is a huge industry involving millions of domestic and international tourists every year. People who visit the US go to see historical landmarks, natural wonders, entertainment venues and cities among other things. Domestic tourists also visit places of interests in search of the same attractions, together with vacation and recreational areas. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tourism in the US started growing at a rapid rate in the form of urban tourism. However, by the 1850s the US had already established tourism as both an industry and a cultural activity. During the 1890s, major cities in the US such as Chicago, Washington DC, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Boston began to attract an influx of tourists.
The Rise Of Tourism in The US
Tourism in the country actually dates back to at least the 19th century. Leisure travel represented a significant cultural transformation within American society, made possible by favourable economic conditions and an increase in free time. Package tours came into existence between the 1870s and 1880s. Yosemite National Park was established between the late 1850s and the early 1860s as a tourist attraction for people who longed for a place to symbolize the region's exotic wonder and a national icon. Photography also played a significant role in the establishment of tourist as since it made it possible to circulate thousands of images that showed different places across the US, garnering interest.
Early Tourism in The US
City touring had already started to become a trend by 1915, marking a significant change in the way most Americans organized, perceived, and moved around their urban areas. In 1915, urban tourism became a lucrative industry leading to plenty of employment opportunities and the improvement of infrastructure. The establishment of transportation networks decreased the length of commuting. By this time, the number of Americans who could afford short vacations increased due to higher income earnings.
The Influence of Automobiles on Tourism In the US
Tourism of any kind was an activity only for the upper and middle classes during the 19th century. However, this trend changed in the early 20th century as a result of the democratization of travel. Popular publications in 1895 printed articles explaining how motor vehicles were cheaper to operate than horses. The early 1900s marked the development of automobiles including the premier of the Ford Model T. The US registered around 8,000 vehicles in 1900, but by 1911 the number had increased to 619,000. In every 44 households, there was one car by the time Ford Model T was being introduced in 1908. Following the development of automobiles, the establishment of leisure complexes and hotels greatly influenced the growth of the tourism industry in the US during the 1930s. Theme parks followed soon after, mostly across Florida. A good example is the Walt Disney World Resort which was opened in 1971 near Orlando. Walt Disney is among the world's largest resorts.
The Top Three Source Countries Of Tourists In The US
At present, thousands of tourists visit the US from different countries. The nation features a wide array of tourist attractions including amusement parks, hotels, historical buildings, gambling, landmarks, festivals, museums, restaurants, golf courses, among many others. Mexico is the top source country for tourists visiting the US with 19,175,345 visitors in 2015 compared to 18,889,281 in 2014. Canada comes in second place as the top source country with 11,671,122 tourists to the US in 2015, followed by the United Kingdom with 4,691,874 tourists and visitors for business purposes in the same year. Other top source countries with large numbers of tourists to the US include Japan, Brazil, China, Germany, France, South Korea, Australia, Italy, India, Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Netherlands, Venezuela, and Sweden.