Early Trade Routes of the World and Tourism, Antecendents of Modern Tourism, Evolutionary Changes in Human Lifestyle, Historical Perspective of Tourism in India

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  • Tourism industry has taken more than thousand years to evolve and reach at the present level. Since the early times, people have been travelling from one place to another in search for food, for trade, for religious purposes and even for education but it has certain limitations like lack of roads, unavailability of food, insecurity on the roads and even lack of knowledge of places as well as routes.

  • However, some trips were patronized by Ashoka, Harshavardhana to spread religion and built monasteries and temples. This led to the arrival of first set of foreigners to visit India and they were perhaps the Persians. People used to travel by road through horses, elephants and camels were a common mode of transport.

  • Also, people came for trade and commerce from far flung areas like Hieun -tsang, a devout Chinese Buddhist came to India in 633 AD to study Buddhism.

  • Even in the medieval era, vasco-da-gama was first to arrive Calicut for trade. Soon with the growing rivalries between the European power, Britishers emerged victorious and built railways lines to expand trade and communication in India and the first train was introduced in 1853 between Bombay (Mumbai) to Thane, which attracted foreign tourists.

  • Finally, on October 15, 1932, JRD Tata took off on a flight with a single engine from Karachi to Mumbai (then Bombay). He came to be known as the father of Civil Aviation in India and the founder of Air India. Hence, all form of transport systems has contributed immensely to the tourism industry. India has many tourist destinations which are connected by road or rail networks.

Golden quadrilateral

Golden Quadrilateral

Golden quadrilateral

  • Tourism also boosts medical sector, and this is also on account of the ancient system of medicine like Ayurveda and the Panchatattava style of medication which is attracting a lot of tourists to India. The settlements also evolved with the time which attracted lots of tourists in the country.

  • With the evolution of human beings from nomads to starting of agricultural activities, people tend to settle. With settlement at one place, many civilizations took birth and led to the formation of human life meaningful. With this people tend to move for trade, businesses, commerce, hospitality and other things. It is believed that the first ever known organized movement of people was at the time of the first Olympiad in ancient Greek during the summer of 776 BC.

  • Even in the Roman Empire, people travel for sightseeing and developed the concept of spa therapy and presented it to the rest of the world.




  • Firstly, people used to wander in search of food, water and basic stuff and were nomads, later with the development of various tourist destination sin the form of pilgrimage attracted people which led to starting of trade of goods and services between the people and hence attracted migration and in turn tourism.

  • With the beginning of tourism many trade routes were discovered around the globe by various explorers like Vasco de Gama, Columbus and Magellan. Trade routes helped in transporting the goods to longer distances. Major trade routes included Silk Route and the Spice Route. The silk route turned out to be a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass. It connects eastern, southern and western Asia with the Mediterranean and European countries. The Silk route passes through Syria, Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and China. It is almost 4500 km long. This route got its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade which was carried out along its length. The trade on Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the civilization of China and Indian subcontinent, Persia, and Arabia.

  • The spice trade includes the trade in spices between major civilizations of Asia, Northeast Africa and Europe. Many spices were traded for commerce and profit which includes cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, ginger, and turmeric in the Eastern World. The trade was further glorified with the advent of black pepper which revolutionized the trade industry for the Europeans during the age of discoveries. And the most famous route that connects Europe to the Indian Ocean through the Cape of Good Hope.

  • This particular route was discovered by the Portuguese explorer-navigator Vasco da Gama in 1498 which opened the gates for new maritime routes for trade. Even Columbus explored Cuba, Jamaica Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.

  • This led to the awareness regarding various new nations and hence led to the modern-day tourism.

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