As a human activity, the cultural impact of tourism is undeniable. But the importance of tourism in economic terms shouldn’t be underestimated either. The industry earns over a trillion dollars a year globally, and is a sector with plenty of opportunity for further growth and employment. But what happens when tourism goes beyond the usual things and becomes tailored to people’s unique interests and niches? Some of the most bizarre types of tourism you’ve ever seen, that’s what happens. From stag party tourism to space tourism these are 25 of the most bizarre types of tourism you might want to try…except for #1. We really do hope you don’t want to try #1.
Domestic tourism occurs when people decide visit places within their own country. This is exemplified by Americans who spend their summers in Hawaii and Florida or the majority of local Greeks, mostly from big cities, who, along with millions of foreign tourists, vacation in the Greek islands.
Christian tourism isn’t really its own kind of tourism but a subcategory of religious tourism, which is geared exclusively toward Christians. As one can easily understand Christian sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and Jerusalem are some of the “hottest” destinations for these types of tourists.
You might hear many definitions of ecotourism but the most credible is the one given by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Ecotourism is the environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples. So all we have to add is that if you want to follow such a sacred purpose you better do it with great respect for “Mother Nature.”
We’ve all seen this in numerous films: the busy businessman who spends most of his time with a phone stuck to his ear or drinking cocktails near the hotel’s pool in front of his laptop. This is what business tourism is all about, a combination of business and pleasure. It’s important to note that surveys have shown this type of tourism is to blame for a seriously high number of men who cheat on their wives.
Rural tourism occurs in rural areas or settlements, providing employment and income to the local population, and offering individualized vacation souvenirs to consumers. It is mainly based on accommodation services, which are complemented by additional services and facilities relying on the local social, cultural, and natural resources, which are used according to the principles of sustainable development.
Booze tourism (Booze cruise)
What’s also known as a “booze cruise” is a British colloquialism for the trip many British tourists took in the late 1980s and early 1990s from the UK to France or Belgium with the sole intention of taking advantage of the lower prices of alcohol and tobacco.
Gay tourism or LGBT tourism as it is also known is a niche tourism marketed to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people that provide vacation spots that are non discriminatory towards the LGBT community.
Nowadays there are many LGBT activities and pride events around the world where the LGBT community can unite and celebrate with one another. Three of the most popular cities are Berlin, Amsterdam, and San Francisco.
This shouldn’t be confused with booze tourism since enotourism is a much classier type of niche tourism involving everything related to the art and history of wine and not just its excessive consumption. Enotourism usually consists of visits to wineries, smelling and tasting wines, vineyard walks, or even taking an active part in the harvest.
To be historically precise, soccer tourism has been around for a few decades but back in the 1980s, it was seen (and probably actually was to some extent) as a form “hooliganism.” Nowadays, soccer tourism is considered one of the most profitable forms of tourism and includes individuals who travel to different cities and countries to see their favorite teams’ museums and trophies or follow their favorite soccer teams in their international matches.
Many people might have a problem understanding the difference between culinary tourism and ordinary tourism since tasting as many local dishes as possible is a must for the average tourist. But apparently there are lots of people who visit a place exclusively for its food and everything related to eating. Furthermore, in culinary tourism dining out every night seems to be the equivalent of having cocktails and partying hard in everyday tourism so yeah, there might be a few differences after all.
Stag party tourism
In case you never heard this term before, stag party tourism is when dudes want to have a last wild night before they settle down and get married; yep, we’re pretty much talking about a bachelor party but in another country. To make a long story short, just watch The Hangover with Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper (if you haven’t already) and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about, even though these crazy dudes are partying in another state, not country.
Space tourism is space travel for leisure or business purposes that realistically only ridiculously rich people can enjoy at the moment. This is definitely not the type of tourism suited for poor or claustrophobic people.
Drug tourism is tourism revolving around the consumption of drugs. The Netherlands (especially its capital, Amsterdam) is one of the most popular tourist destinations if you want to smoke weed in public and not worry about getting arrested. Also, in the 1990s Goa, India, was another well-known destination where the younger generation went to rave while under the influence of drugs such as ecstasy.
Disaster tourism became widely known after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Some of the locals found a way to make money from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the US, with guided bus tours to neighborhoods that were severely damaged or even totally destroyed by the calamity.
Believe it or not there’s a form tourism called “birth tourism” where mothers travel to another country just so they can give birth there, enabling their newborn to become an automatic citizen of that nation. To be honest, we don’t know how this kind of tourism began.
Garden tourism is a niche tourism involving visits to botanical gardens and places around the world that are significant in the history of gardens and gardening. In 2000 alone the Alhambra and the Taj Mahal received a combined 2 million visitors, which is considered a record for this kind of tourism on a global scale.
To understand what war tourism is all about just think of extremely adventurous and possibly suicidal visitors who want to be in active war zones and experience what it’s like to be in the middle of exploding bombs, bullets, and grenades. Of course, if you are a more logical and peaceful type of tourist there are groups that specialize in visiting inactive war zones, where things are a little more relaxing for everyone involved.
As you’ve probably guessed by our entry title, we’re referring to virtual tours—simulations of existing locations on the other side of the world, usually composed of a sequence of videos or still images. It’s a safe bet that with the evolution of technology and the invention of more advanced devices virtual tourism will definitely take off.
Dental vacations, as this subcategory of medical tourism is known, involve tourists who are seeking better dental care outside their city or country. Rumor has it that the whole thing started when British celebrities visited the best dentists in California in their attempts to improve their smiles. For the record, Farrah Fawcett’s and Marilyn Monroe’s smiles have traditionally been two of the most requested by most of these “tourists.”
This is a relatively new type of tourism that was born in the early 1990s in which visitors are hungry to learn all things about the Atomic Age. Needless to say, historical atomic age sites and Cold War nuclear zones such as Chernobyl in Ukraine are some of the hottest destinations.
If you’re a European citizen over 25 then there’s a good chance you remember this term, which in reality was politically motivated. Benefit tourism was coined in the 1990s and later used for the perceived threat that a huge number of citizens from the new, poorer nations who were given membership in the EU in 2004 would move to the existing and richer member states such as Denmark, France, and Sweden to benefit from their social welfare systems rather than work.
Shark tourism is a subcategory of ecotourism. This seemingly dangerous type of tourism is ideal for people who love sharks (hence the name). Don’t get fooled though; it’s not as dangerous as it looks since experienced divers and protective cages help to keep things safe.
Ghetto tourism is one of the newest types of tourism. With the spread of hip-hop culture over the past decade, more and more people have become curious about the places where this music genre and lifestyle began. In the past few years, the American ghettos of Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago have become hot tourist destinations, mostly because of young people who are intrigued by the lifestyle.
Tolkien tourism has become a growing trend over the past few years thanks to the immense success of the Lord of the Rings books and films. It has expanded and diversified to such an extent that now it offers enough places to visit so that even the most detailed curiosity of the most exacting Tolkien fan is sure to be satisfied. That makes New Zealand the ultimate hotspot because it’s the main location where the films were shot. For the stage set, an entire village was created near Matamata, New Zealand, named—surprise!—Hobbiton.
Not too long ago we wrote a list that relates perfectly to this macabre type of tourism. This list was about the 25 most popular landmarks that are creepy suicide hotspots. As one can easily understand, most of the travelers who engage in this tourism are usually people who suffer from severe mental issues, especially clinical depression, and sadly on most of these trips the airplane ticket is one-way for obvious reasons.