top of page

Introduction to Tourism, Hospitality & Hotel Industry

Introduction to Tourism

​Tourism is an activity of the movement of people that deserves the praise of all human beings. It can further be called activity of movement of people (visitors) and activities of the provider (the person or agency which supplies various services and products to the visitors) during the course of the travel. Tourism is a temporary movement of people to destinations outside of the place where they normally live and work and their activities during their stay at these destinations. Further tourism can also be called not only the activities of the provider to a visitor but it is also a process involving people and is about people, i.e. knowing people better. It is not only a short time process but is a long term relationship between consumer and provider. This means that the knowledge, skill, and attitude are important factors in providing standard services and products matching his requirements. Hence tourism can be called as the process of organised travel. Tourism is the theory and practice of travelling. Tourism is a structured break from routine life. It involves a separation from everyday life and offers an entry into another moral and mental state, where expressive and cultural needs become more important.

Hence it may be identified with recreation or renewal of life. It can be considered as a modern ritual in which people “get away from it all”; particularly the usual work world (which include the home as well as the workplace) There is an important point in this connection that tourism involves shorter periods in contrast to longer periods of ordinary life. There are basically three phases in tourism

(a) the beginning (when the tourist separates/moves out of his home).

(b) the middle (the period of his movement when he comes across new places for experiencing change) and

(c) the end (the process of his returning home after the end of the tour).

Definition of Tourism

​Tourism is an activity that is very generic in nature and as such has no standard definition. Many people and many organizations have defined tourism in various ways. Some of the common yet important definitions can be found below.

1) Tourism is defined as “the inter-relationships arising from the interaction of a) tourists, b) the suppliers, c) the government of the host destination and d) the residents of the host area destination, in the process of affecting and catering to tourists”.

2) Tourism as a product can be defined as “An amalgam of three main components a) Attractions of the destination b) The facilities of destination and c) The accessibility of it”

3) One of the early definitions given in 1910 by an Austrian economist, ‘HERMAN SCHULLARD’ is “Tourism is the sum total of operators, mainly of an economic nature, which directly relates to entry, stay and movement of foreigners inside and outside of a certain, country, city or region”.

Importance of Tourism

​1. Economic Progress

The tourism industry aids and supports foreign exchange reserves. It benefits our country in generating foreign currency. Every year a large number of tourists visit India and other places. They visit places; stay and shop in our country. All this contributes to a significant amount of foreign currency generation. Despite the global recession, Indian tourism grew 6.9 % to approximately $42 billion in the year 2010.

2. Source of Income

Tourism is a continual source of income for public & private income. The government charges various forms of tax that is called government revenue. The income generated through these taxes is the public income. The profit earned by a seller, by selling items like local artifacts, handicraft items, etc, to the tourists is called private income. Tourism also helps in employment generation. It created jobs specifically in the hotel industry, hospitality industry, service sector, entertainment, and transportation industry.

3. Development of Infrastructure

Have you ever noticed how the look and status of a place change when it is declared a tourist place? Actually, tourism aids and encourages infrastructure development by making way for dams, roads, connectivity, airport improvements, and any other activity that helps a tourist in visiting a place in a much better way!

4. Societal Progress

Tourism is a wonderful method for cultural exchange. It also encourages societal progress as tourists learn to show respect, tolerance, and love for each other when they visit new places.

5. Cultural Heritage

Tourism helps explain the beauty, art, history, and culture of our country. Different people visiting any country take beautiful cultural concepts along with them and spread those concepts to others while visiting other places in the world. Similarly, the local skills, languages, and art get wide exposure through tourism. For example, Chokhi Dhani in Jaipur.

6. Educational Significance of Tourism

Tourism has been of great importance for education always. Study tours, short time courses, educational exchange programs, all these are a part and parcel of International Tourism resulting in better knowledge about host countries. Even sports exchange programs can be considered under this.

7. Tourism and Environment

Tourism also has spillover benefits such as preservation of environment which covers up an area of historical sites and cultural values. PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) and WTO (World Tourism Organization) have laid down laws for its preservation and conservation. India has given a new lease of life to endangered species of animals by making laws on forbidding the hunting of lions, deers, peacock, and many other birds and animals. India has also set up a separate ministry of environment and forests to monitor the use of land from the environment point of view.


Hospitality and its origin


​Hospitality is treating people like you would want to be treated when you are traveling. In other words, it means making a tourist feel totally welcome not only as your guest but also as the guest of the complete family of the Hotel. Hospitality is a genuine smiling face.

Hospitality can be termed as a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and the public i.e., the business of making and keeping friends, and promoting an atmosphere of better understanding. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the act or practice of being hospitable; the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers”. The word hospitality is derived from the Latin word “Hospitalitias”

Very frequently we hear phrases like “He is always hospitable to his visitors”, “We are grateful to friends for their hospitality in putting us up while we were on holiday”, “She is so inhospitable that she grudges giving us anything to eat or drink when we visit her”, etc. All such statements are suggesting a positive or negative attitude of welcome towards visitors; friends or strangers. Hospitality activity covers everything, providing attentive and courteous services, facilities and amenities to a traveller, meeting and greeting him at the door, providing efficient and caring service of food and beverage to him in his room i.e., providing “A Home away from Home”, and making his visit a memorable and pleasant experience.

Reception, welcome and, the treatment of a guest or a stranger in the most friendly manner is Hospitality. In most of the countries all over the world, a guest is received with a great amount of courtesy and warmth and is provided with entertainment. The basic concept of Hospitality is to make the guest feel that he has come amongst friends and that Guests Are Always Welcome. Although the basic concept of hospitality has remained the same, yet with the passage of time and development of technology and science, the needs and wants of travellers have changed greatly thus providing numerous services and facilities in terms of accommodation and other basic needs such as food and beverages. In olden days kings, lords, maharajas, landlords, and sometimes the panchayats used to provide food and shelter to travellers and their animals free of charge and it used to be a benevolent activity. But with the passage of time, it has not only remained a benevolent activity but has also become a flourishing business.

A part of hospitality activity is being attentive, alert, and cordial with the guest without forcing yourself and your ideas on him, and at the same time being very polite and cooperative. All those working in the hospitality industry have one common objective ‘Creating an image of friendly reception and treatment‘ for guests and visitors.

As front office personnel, the hotel staff, in order to provide hospitality, should make his guests feel at home and use a pleasant tone of voice smilingly, and offer his assistance wherever possible. Don’t ignore the guest, and don’t be abrupt no matter how busy you are, anticipate his needs and wants and provide the same without him asking them-this should be the motto.

As a hotelier, keep on checking the hospitality attitude of your organization. Make a checklist and be sure that you and your staff are fulfilling each and every point of the checklist. The checklist may include areas such as front desk and lobby, etc. Make sure that the front desk is always kept clean, orderly, and well lighted. Even the stationery used should be so designed that it does not create confusion and clearly indicates how it is to be filled in. and should be inviting. The lobby should be kept clean and furniture kept at the proper place. The lighting system should be soft and appealing. The welcome spirit that the guest is looking for should be there. Floor covering, pictures, furnishing, etc. should be appealing, attractive, and aesthetically designed.

Further, the checklist should include intangibles such as training of the staff and willingness and positive attitude of the staff. The arriving guest is always greeted with a smile and proper salutation to show interest in his trip and his well being. Hospitality means anticipating and satisfying a guest’s needs.

Origins Of Hospitality Industry

​Early travelers were either warriors or traders or people in search of knowledge and there were no hotels. Warriors and conquerors pitched their tents for accommodation while traders and persons traveling for knowledge placed a high value on hospitality and sometimes traded their merchandise for lodging.

Inn keeping can be said to be the first commercial enterprise for hospitality and one of the first services for which money was exchanged. Inns of the Biblical times offered only a cot or a bench in the comer. Guests stayed in large communal rooms with no sanitation and privacy. The rates were, of course, reasonable. The company was rough. Travellers shared the same quarters with their horses and animals.

King James Version of the Bible mentions that Mary and Joseph were turned away by a Bethlehem innkeeper because there was “no room at the inn”. According to Biblical scholars the innkeeper may have meant that the room was unsuitable for a woman about to give birth to a child. At that time, and probably for several centuries after that, men and women shared ‘ the same accommodation accompanied by their horses and livestock. The stable where Mary and Joseph spent the night was probably almost as comfortable as an inn and at the same time certainly more private than the inn itself.

In the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire developed an extensive network of brick-paved roads throughout Europe and Asia Minor, and a chain of roadside lodges was constructed along the major thoroughfare from Spain to Turkey. Till the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s, no significant improvement was made in the inns and taverns and they were not very suitable for aristocrats. To accommodate wealthy travelers, luxurious structures were constructed with private rooms, individual sanitation, and comforts of a European castle. These elegant new establishments adopted the French word for mansion-‘Hotel’. Their rates were beyond the reach of an ordinary person.

In America, early inns were modeled after European taverns with sleeping quarters shared by two or more guests.

Herman Melville in his novel Moby Dick has mentioned a seaman who checked into a room of a nineteenth-century inn and the next morning woke up to find out that he was sharing the bed with a cannibal. Sharing beds was a very common practice in early American and European inns. Throughout the 1800s American innkeepers improved their services and continued to build larger and more amply equipped properties and most of these properties were located near seaport towns.

The tendency of Americans to travel more provided inspiration to lodging operators. The nation’ s democratic spirit also led to the development of comfortable and sanitary lodging within the reach of an ordinary person.

Hospitality Industry can be broadly defined as the collection of businesses providing accommodation and/or food and beverages to people who are away from home.


Hotel Core Areas


There are various departments of a hotel which help in the smooth and efficient operation of the hotel. All these departments work in close liaison for the hotel to operate in good condition so as to achieve management’s predefined goals and objectives.

The major four departments of hotels are:

  1. Housekeeping Department

  2. Food and Beverage Service Department

  3. Food Production or Kitchen Department

  4. Front Office Department


These four departments are the operational departments of the hotel known as the Core Areas of the Hotel. But not only the operational department but the secondary department also plays a significant role to ensure general administration of hotel and they are:

  • Sales and marketing

  • Personal and human resources

  • Account and finance

  • Security and engineering

  • Purchase and store


1. House Keeping Department

The housekeeping department is responsible for the management of guest rooms and the cleanliness of all public areas of the hotel. A close liaison between housekeeping and front office is essential so that the information about a guest- rooms are kept up to date. In simple words, Housekeeping means up-keeping the house.

2. Food and Beverage Service Department

Food and beverage department are one of the main service oriented and crucial department of the hotel. It renders the services of prepared food items, beverages, and tobacco in a hospitable way to the customer as per their demand.The food and beverage department put forward the world-class service of food and drink. The services that food and beverages provide maybe a coffee shop, bars, lounges, specialty restaurants, banqueting, and room service, etc.

3. Food Production Department

A kitchen is a well designed closed area with skillful chefs and all necessary equipment, tools, and utensils liable for preparing food items as per guest orders followed by standard recipes. It is a skilled food production team that prepares food items as per the guest’s orders. It prepares food according to the menu and there are two types of menu.

4. Front Office Department

The front office department is the most visible department in a hotel. The focal point of activity within the front office is the reception desk. The reception desk is usually the place in which the guest makes the first impression of the hotel. It is also the communication center of the hotel. Since it is the first and last point of guest contact with the hotel spends a lump sum amount of money to make it look more luxurious and beautiful. We can see in most of the hotel’s front office or the entrance point of the hotel is decorated and made luxurious in every way. It is also the communication center for the hotel operation. The front office department plays an important role in the image building of a hotel.

The reception desk includes front office cashier, information, and registration section. The other section of the front office is a telephone operator, reservation, and business center. Every section of the front office has its own functions.

The functions of different front office sections are as follows:


A request for accommodation by the guest in a hotel for any particular period is called a reservation. Reservationists are the employees responsible for accepting or rejecting the reservations made by guests from different modes such as telephone, e-mail, fax, letters, etc


This section of the front office is responsible for the warm and friendly reception of all guests. Staffs working in this section are known as a receptionist. Receptionists are the staff who have direct contact with the guest, thus they should pose an amiable personality with high-level o of grooming at all the times.

Telephone Operator

This is the separate section under the front office department which is located on the backside of the hotel. They are connected to the front desk and cannot be seen by the guest. A telephone operator is an employee in this section, responsible for handling all incoming and outgoing guest call and hotel calls. The telephone operator is responsible for posting of all charges incurred by the guests and the hotel employees while making outcalls.

Information Center

This is another section under the front office department, which is located at the visible part of the lobby separately within the lobby area or joined together with the front desk. This section is responsible for providing information related to the hotel, rooms, and facilities and about the city or towns where the hotel is located. The information center of the front office is also responsible for handling guest mails and messages.

Front Office Cashier

This section of the front office is located at the front desk. Front office cashier, working in this section is responsible for updating guest bills, keeping up to date cash and credit transactions of the guest, and get them settled before the guest’s departure. Front office cashier should ensure the timely collection of all guest bills from different outlets and posts them in respective folios in case if the Front Office is not computerized.

Business center

Modern technology has changed the pace of the information system. People can do their job in a home country from far countries. The role of fax, photocopying, and secretarial work is deemed important t to provide these types of services to the guest. There may be demand for guest to translate and interpret services as well as the hire of laptops, computers, and portable telephones in their rooms. The responsibility of such type of services comes under business services. The arrangement of meeting rooms, conferences, is also one of the duties of business center staff. It the hotel has many none – English speaking guests, then bilingual secretaries may be required in the business center.



Recent Posts


bottom of page