The difference between international and domestic tourism

The difference between international and domestic tourism

What is Tourism?

Tourism can be broadly defined as the act of traveling to destinations outside one’s residence for the purpose of leisure, recreation, business, or other objectives. It covers a wide range of activities, such as sightseeing, cultural experiences, ecotourism, and others. But looking at the bigger picture, it is a complex and varied industry that has a significant impact on the global landscape.

Tourism has a tremendous impact on the global economy, contributing to create job opportunities, develop infrastructure, and promote cultural exchange. Tourism can be linked into two closely linked concepts: domestic tourism and international tourism.

What is Domestic Tourism?

Domestic tourism involves traveling within one’s own country for leisure, recreation, or business purposes. It entails exploring places, landmarks, and accommodations that are situated within the country’s borders. Domestic tourists are considered those who engage in short-term travel within their own country.

Destinations under domestic tourism are easily accessible for residents, typically located within a manageable driving distance or a short flight away. is generally more affordable compared to international travel, as it avoids expenses like airfare, visas, and currency exchange fees.

What is International Tourism?

International tourism is the act of traveling to foreign countries or territories for leisure, business, or various other reasons. International tourism plays a vital role in global economies through fostering economic growth and generating career opportunities.

International tourism promotes cross-cultural exchange and understanding as tourists engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds and traditions. While international tourists might experience challenges such as language barriers, it’s all part of the experience and others see it as an opportunity to learn different languages. Most tourists visit historical landmarks and natural wonders, explore the country’s culinary highlights, and other adventures the country has to offer.

What’s the Difference Between Domestic and International Tourism?

The following table will help you determine the general differences between domestic and international tourism:

Specifics Domestic Tourism International Tourism
Definition Tourism within a country Tourism between countries
Attractions of interest Local attractions Well-known attractions
Regulation Mainly regulated by local governments Mainly regulated by national governments
Documentation Passports and/or visas not necessary for travelers Passports and/or visas necessary for travelers
Expenses Can be less costly for the traveller Can be more costly for the traveller
Cultural significance Travellers can experience their own culture Travellers can experience other cultures


Why Are Tourists Favouring Domestic Tourism Over International Tourism?

There are a number of reasons why people would favour domestic travel over foreign travel. Among the most common reasons are:

  1.  Cost: Domestic travel generally entails shorter distances and lower travel expenses than international travel.
  2.  Language and cultural barriers: Domestic tourism may be more enticing to travellers who are not comfortable traveling to a foreign country where they may be unfamiliar with the language and culture.
  3.  Familiarity: Exploring one’s own country can be less overwhelming as there may be fewer changes to adapt to.
  4.  Time: Domestic tourism may be more convenient for those who have limited time for vacation, as it typically involves shorter travel times.
  5.  Economic advantages: By supporting local companies and job-generating opportunities, domestic tourism can help boost the economy of one’s own country.

What Should You Consider Before Going on a Domestic or International Trip?

There are several things to consider before embarking on a trip, whether domestic or international. Some of these include:

  1.  Budget: Determine how much money you will need for the trip. Be sure to allocate funds for transportation, lodging, food, and any attractions or activities you’d like to see or do.
  2.  Documentation: For those looking to travel internationally, it’s important to prepare the necessary documentation, such as a passport and visa, well in advance and keep them on your person during your transit.
  3.  Activities: Research and plan out the activities and attractions you want to experience during your trip.
  4.  Travel insurance: Consider getting travel insurance as a safeguard against unforeseen circumstances like trip cancellations or health concerns.
  5.  Health and safety: Research the health and safety protocols at your travel destination and ensure that you are able to comply with them, including getting vaccinated, masking, or purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.

If you’re interested in joining this sector, check out TSoM’s academic opportunities in hospitality and tourism.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What is the difference between international and domestic tourism?

The main difference between international and domestic tourism is the destination of travel. International tourism involves traveling outside of one’s own country, while domestic tourism involves traveling within one’s own country.

  • What does domestic mean vs international?

Within the context of tourism, the term “domestic” pertains to activities, destinations, or travel that takes place within the borders of one’s own country of residence. On the other hand, “international” refers to activities, places, or travel that extends outside national borders.

  • What is domestic tourism?

Domestic tourism refers to traveling within one’s own country for leisure, recreation, or business reasons.

  • Why is domestic tourism better?

There are several advantages to domestic tourism when compared to international tourism, such as accessibility, the local country’s economic growth, sustainability, and more

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  1. […] contributions of domestic tourism to sustainable tourism development were in the form of destination exposition, destination appreciation and economic […]

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