The difference between international and domestic tourism

The difference between international and domestic tourism

What is Domestic Tourism?

Domestic tourism is travel within your own nation. For example, if a Canadian from Alberta decided to spend a few days at Niagara Falls, as you’re staying in your own country of residence, this is domestic or internal tourism.

The domestic tourism economy around the world is lucrative and has been boosted by the growing trend of staycations. An internal holiday can be a cost-effective option for individuals and has other benefits, such as making residents aware of the history and culture of their country.

This type of tourism is likely to be less of a hassle for visitors, as visiting another part of your own country will lead to no language differences, currency/food changes or etiquette differences.However, domestic trips tend to be significantly shorter than cross-border trips and wider statistics on this activity are under-reported compared to international tourism.

What is International Tourism?

International tourism is what it says on the can. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) defines tourism as ‘traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes’.

International tourism has increased due to people around the world having more money in their pocket, as well as the impact of greater globalisation.

Global tourism has the greatest impact upon developing nations, where the sector is much-needed to provide a big source of income. Tourism is responsible for one in every ten jobs on the planet and global economies spend a lot of money on boosting their tourist sector.

It’s good to bear in mind that it can be difficult to compare domestic and international tourism as states vary in size and activities. For example, Americans wishing to go on holiday in their own state will likely have a greater amount to see/do, compared to internal visitors in Belgium.

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.

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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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