Types of Tourism and Tourists

By John Dudovskiy

Different types of tourism can be specified as visiting friends and relatives, religious tourism, social tourism, cultural tourism, hedonistic tourism, special interest tourism, business tourism, health tourism, educational tourism, scenic tourism and activity tourism (Swardbrooke and Horner, 2007).

Types of Tourism

Swardbrooke and Horner (2007) argue that tourism needs to be classified as activity rather than industry. However, this viewpoint can be subjected to criticism because a wide range of activities related to tourism have positive implications to national economies from financial viewpoint, therefore tourism is larger than merely being an activity.

Type Numbers Adaptation to local norms
Elite Rare Adapts fully
Off-beat Uncommon Adapts well
Unusual Occasional Adapts somewhat
Incipient mass  Steady flow Seeks Western amenities
Mass Continuous Expects Western amenities
Charter Massive Demands Western amenities

 Smith’s typology of tourists

Source: Smith (1977)

Alternatively, types of tourism and tourists are divided by King and Hyde (1989) into the following six psychographic type:

New indulgers mark a type of tourists who try to escape stress through engaging in new tourism experiences. Tourists belonging to this category tend to be experiential to a greater extent compared to alternative type of tourists discussed below.

Anti-tourists are independent, unconventional type of tourists who prefer to explore tourism destinations alone. Anti-tourists usually do not want to be associated with ‘regular’ tourists and they tend to emphasize authenticity of their tourism activities.

Big spenders prefer luxury, and therefore they expected extensive and intensive services with their tourism experiences. Big spenders are the main target customer segment for many businesses in tourism industry.

New enthusiasts lack experience in tourism. This particular psychographic type of tourists tends to be highly energetic, prefer socialisation and physically demanding recreational activities.

Dedicated Aussies/Kiwis are reluctant to travel outside of their home countries for chauvinistic reasons, limited budget and other reasons. Sense of safety and security represents is an important value for the majority of this type of tourists.

Stay-at-homes tend to lack imagination and their choice of tourism destination is motivated by the status of having visited the place rather than engaging in memorable activities. In other words, for stay-at-home type of tourists visiting a certain place and communicating this message to others is more important than other benefits associated with tourism such as seeking new experiences, engaging in memorable activities and others.


Smith, V. (1977) “Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism” University of Pennsylvania

Swardbrooke, J. & Horner, S. (2007) “Consumer Behaviour in Tourism” 2nd edition, Routledge

Category: Consumer Behaviour