Key Difference – Mass Tourism vs Alternative Tourism
Tourism can be categorized into two main groups known as mass tourism and alternative tourism. These two types of tourism are very different from each other. Mass tourism is an organized movement of large numbers of people to specialized locations. Alternative tourism involves small groups of people or individuals traveling to places that are not popular tourist destinations. Therefore, the key difference between mass tourism and alternative tourism can be explained as the tourist population of a destination. There are many other differences between these two types of tourism.
What is Alternative Tourism?
Alternative tourism is a combination of tourist products or individual tourist services. In simple words, it can be described as people touring places and things other than usual tourist attractions. Thus, it involves uncrowded locations and non-peak holiday seasons. It is characterized by individual activities and tourists’ desire to experience local culture and environment.
Alternative tourism can be categorized into three groups known as cultural tourism, nature-based tourism, and adventure tourism; these three groups can also interconnect. Adventure tours, eco-tours and thematic tours and other small-scale tourist activities are examples of alternative tourism.
Since alternative tourism is an individual experience, you can plan and create your experience according to your own preference, in contrast to mass tourism, where your tour is typically planned by someone else. Moreover, alternative tourism supports rural communities and facilitate the development of infrastructure in these areas. This can also be seen as nature-friendly tourism since a limited number of people means a limited amount of garbage and damage.
What is Mass Tourism?
Mass tourism can be defined as an organized movement of large numbers of people to specialized locations. In other words, this involves masses of people going to popular tourist destinations, often during the peak holiday season. This is the most popular form of tourism since it is often the most inexpensive way to go on a holiday. Mass tourism often involves holiday package deals. A package deal is an arrangement where all tourist needs such as flights, activities, food, etc. are catered for by one company. Mass tourism is often the opposite of alternative tourism or sustainable tourism.
Mass tourism may involve locations such as whole resort towns, theme parks, tourism business districts, etc., which are very crowded. However, these over-crowded places can also give more room to garbage and damage. Some activities in mass tourism include sunbathing on a popular beach, visiting a theme park (Disney World), taking a cruise, skiing in the mountains, etc. Mass tourism can generate a lot of income for local areas. Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Bangkok, Paris, Macau, New York and Istanbul are some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. These can be described as mass tourism destinations.
What is the difference between Mass Tourism and Alternative Tourism?
Mass Tourism: This involves masses of people going to popular tourist destinations, often during the peak holiday season.
Alternative Tourism: This involves small groups of people or individuals traveling to places that are not popular tourist destinations.
Mass Tourism: Mass Tourism often includes package deals.
Alternative Tourism: Alternative Tourism includes plans and options which are decided by the tourists.
Mass Tourism: The tourists often have a fixed program.
Alternative Tourism: The tourists can make spontaneous decisions.
Mass Tourism: Tourists only spend a little time on each site.
Alternative Tourism: Tourists have more time since they can change their plans.
Mass tourism: Masses of people visiting a place can result in a lot of garbage and damages.
Alternative tourism: Alternative tourism is relatively nature-friendly.
Mass Tourism: Actives include sunbathing on popular beaches, visiting theme parks, visiting famous locations such as Eiffel tour, Big Ben, etc.
Alternative Tourism: This consists of individualized activities such as hiking, water rafting, visiting local events, etc.
“Hikers on the North Inlet Trail” By Brian & Jaclyn Drum – Flickr (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
“Typical Crowded Beach” By Katonams – Own work (Own picture) (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia