The industrial era, in which material well-being was the main value, is being replaced by the post-industrial era, where impressions and sensations are the main goal. The development of transport, communications, increasing mobility, urbanization, reduction of working hours, and the growth of social wealth have become important factors affecting the development of tourism.
In these conditions, the socio-economic position of tourism is rapidly strengthening.
Its share in world trade in services is more than 30%. In the world market, the tourist product is leading on a par with oil. The annual growth of investments in the tourism industry is about 35%. Tourism has become one of the most profitable types of business and today uses up to 7% of the world’s capital. The annual income from international tourism in 1995 was estimated at $373 billion. At the same time, there were absolutely 567 million international trips. Tourism provides jobs for 137 million people.
The rapid strengthening of the financial and economic positions of the tourism industry has led to the fact that tourism has become an essential factor of regional development in many countries of the world. Territorial administration bodies of various hierarchical levels, from counties and districts to federal authorities, take care of the development of tourism and localities with valuable recreational resources. Tourism is considered as a catalyst for the regional economy, which makes it possible to use not only the entire range of recreational resources, but also to use the total production and socio-cultural potential of the territory in the most effective way while preserving ecological and cultural diversity.
Based on this, the authorities are initiating the development of a strategy for tourist activity, together with business — the development of tourist infrastructure, the creation of national parks and recreational areas, attracting investment and increasing the number of visits to the region.
According to the World Tourism Organization, in 2007 the number of international tourist trips alone amounted to about 900 million (in 2004 — 766 million). In 2005, Europe accounted for 444 million arrivals, the countries of the Asia-Pacific region — 156 million, North and South America — 133 million, other regions — 75 million