Difference Between Travelers and Tourists
Travelers vs Tourists
Travelers and tourists are both people who travel to different locations. The difference is that they have different connotations and that one is a broader term than the other. All tourists are travelers, but not all travelers are tourists.
The word ‘traveler’ simply means someone who travels. ‘Travelling’ itself means going from one place to the other, but it most often means going on a long journey. It isn’t very common to describe yourself as travelling when all you’re doing is going to get groceries. In the UK and Ireland, it can also mean someone who leads a nomadic lifestyle, always moving from place to place. ‘Tourist’, on the other hand, is a very specific word. It means someone who temporarily travels to another location just to enjoy the new place.
When describing people who travel to other countries, there are a few categories they can fall into. Some people have to travel for business, such as when they go to have a conference. Other people go to a place in transit. For instance, someone who wants to go from the US to Tibet would probably have to change planes in China. They would be travelling to China, but it wouldn’t be their final destination. Other people will go to places for charitable work, such as helping out with relief and aid after a major disaster. The last category is travelling for pleasure. This can mean anything from going to another country to enjoy the landscape to going to a theme park or tourist trap.
Tourists are specifically people who go to another place for pleasure when that’s the main goal of the trip. If a businessman were to take some time on his trip to experience the landscape of the place he’s in, then he wouldn’t be a tourist, since that wasn’t the purpose of the trip. Someone who travels for pleasure and takes some time to do some business work would be a tourist.
There are some who divide people who go somewhere for pleasure into travelers and tourists. According to those definitions, tourists are shallow people who care more about boasting that they were in a place than actually experiencing it, while travelers are people who blaze new trails and experience a much deeper connection with a place by going to the exact same attractions that the tourists go to, but more deeply. This is because the people who created this definition are all self-described travelers.
Tourism has gained a bit of a bad reputation. Some tourists will go to places and become a nuisance. For instance, in the United States, the Quileute reservation was damaged by tourists, though that is an extreme example. Other people will act like the stereotype of tourists. However, the majority of tourists do not – it is just far more common to hear about the horror stories than about the people who don’t do anything worth complaining about. Still, because of those people, some don’t want to be associated with the word ‘tourist’ even if they are doing the exact same things a tourist does.
It could be argued that the two words mean different approaches to travelling abroad: tourists want to have a good time with the “normal” travelling activities while travelers have fun by experiencing the culture. There’s nothing wrong with either mindset, because they’re just personal preferences.
To summarize, travelers are people who go to somewhere else. Tourists are people who go to another place to have fun. Some people prefer not to be called tourists, however, because they do not want to be associated with tourists who have behaved badly in the past.
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