Since the earliest days of travel in the classical empires of Greece and Rome –
whether for trade, diplomacy, education, or later, leisure – there has been a local
economic impact on the host communities. In Chapter 1 we saw that the overland
route to South Asia from the 1960s started to have local economic effects as the
flow of young western overland travellers grew into significant numbers through
the 1970s. Despite the effective closure of the main overland routes to South Asia
from Europe in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we discussed how the growth in
cheap long-haul air travel facilitated the rise of backpacker tourism.