ABSTRACT

Tourism brings together a number of themes of late-modern society: rich Westerners, no longer meaningfully tied to economies of production, entertain themselves by consuming experiences of ‘otherness’ – an entertainment which in a globalised world, cheap and rapid international travel and international hotels and motels have made possible in a heightened way (Urry 1990). However, such flows are not recent developments. Theilmann (1987) suggests that medieval forms of tourism were connected to religion, especially through the practices of pilgrimage, which was actively encouraged when it might connect to medical treatment. Health-related travel and pilgrimage can be traced even further back. For example, Douglas (2001) indicates that the ritual and sacred use of water occurred during the Neolithic and Bronze ages. Similarly, the Ancient Mesopotamians saw an intimate connection between climatic change and health (Kevan 1993), and throughout their provinces, the Ancient Romans constructed thermal spas, including Baden-Baden in Germany and Vichy in France (Douglas 2001; Bookman and Bookman 2007). In addition, the rapid urbanisation wrought by industrialisation aggravated the unsanitary and poor living environments in Britain and some sections of Europe and led to a concern for health and an interest in sun-seeking and ‘taking the waters’ (Holden 2006; Swarbrooke and Horner 2007). In short, what emerges from the above is the close historical connection between tourism, health and medicine.