As you are reading these words, tens of thousands of business travellers worldwide are beginning or ending their trips. At the same time, thousands of major conferences and exhibitions are taking place globally, while hundreds of incentive travel programmes are being enjoyed in your country. In other words, business travel and tourism is big business. It employs millions of people around the world and is the core of the tourism market for many leading destinations. Yet, this massive phenomenon of our age has, to date, received scant attention from governments, academics and researchers. Perhaps this apparent lack of attention is because business travel and tourism is notoriously very difficult to define and place within clearly identified boundaries.
What is business travel and tourism?
Rob Davidson, in his ground-breaking book on business tourism in 1994, attempted to define business tourism as follows: Business tourism is concerned with people travelling for purposes which are related to their work. As such it represents one of the oldest forms of tourism, man having travelled for this purpose of trade since very early times. (Davidson, 1994) The terms ‘business travel’ and ‘business tourism’ are often used almost interchangeably but the authors feel there is a qualitative difference between them. Business tourism is the broader term which encompasses all aspects of the experience of the business traveller. Furthermore, using the standard interpretation of the term ‘tourism’ or ‘tourist’ this term seems to focus on those business people who are true tourists, in other words, those who stay away from home for at least one night. Business travel on the other hand seems to focus particularly on the movement of business travellers from place ‘A’ to place ‘B’. It also seems to include those who make day trips for business purposes, and are therefore not true ‘tourists’ in the conventional meaning of the term. However, it is clear that there is