Types of tourist attractions | Understanding tourism

Sep 7, 2020 | Learn about tourism, Tourism management

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(Last updated on: 07/09/2020)

The different types of tourist attractions make up an integral part of the structure of the tourism industry. People travel far and wide to visit a particular tourist attractions. Visiting said attractions could be the reason for their trip, or it could be a byproduct of their trip.

There are many different types of tourist attractions. Some are large, some are small. Some are busy, others are quiet. Some are privately owned travel and tourism businesses and others are public enterprises.

In this article I will tell you all about the different types of tourist attractions, and give you lots of examples to inspire your future travels too!

types of tourist attractions

What is a tourist attraction?

Before we delve into the ins and outs of the different types of tourist attractions, we first need to understand what a tourist attraction is.

A tourist attraction, often also referred to as a visitor attraction, is a place of interest that is commonly visited by tourists.

A tourist attraction will usually have value to the tourist in one of the following areas-

  • Historial significance
  • Cultural value
  • Political significance
  • Nature
  • Natural or built beauty
  • Leisure
  • Amusement and fun

Why are tourist attractions important?

Tourist attractions make up an important part of the visitor economy. The visitor economy comprises the activities and expenditure involved in supplying products and services for visitors by both the private and public sectors.

Tourist attractions contribute significantly to the tourism industry. They typically reap economic benefits of tourism and/or promote the local culture, heritage and environment. This can often result in increased environmental preservation- a positive environmental impact of tourism.

It is important, however, that tourist attractions are well-managed. If poor management occurs, tourist attractions can have adverse impacts on the local society, economy and (most commonly) the environment. It is imperative, therefore, that proper tourism planning is undertaken and that sustainable tourism measures are adopted when developing and managing the operations of a tourist attraction.

What is the role of tourist attractions?

Tourist attractions are an important part of the tourism industry.

Some tourist attractions are there predominantly to provide entertainment, such as theme parks and zoos.

Other tourist attractions provide entertainment as well as other aspects, such as education. Examples of educational tourist attractions might include museums and exhibitions.

Other types of tourist attractions may facilitate recreation, hospitality and special events.

Products and services offered by tourist attractions

Different types of tourist attractions will offer different types of products and services.

Products and services are directed towards what the types of customer that is expected to visit will like.

Some tourist attractions offer rides or experiences. You can go snorkelling in the Atlantis aquarium in Dubai or ride Space Mountain at Disney Land, for example.

Some attractions offer information services, such as guidebooks, information boards, guided tours, interpretation and translation services and educational talks.

Some tourist attractions offer hospitality services, for example renting out areas for a wedding or a conference.

Many tourist attractions have gift shops and catering options for their customers.

Types of tourist attractions

There are many different types of tourist attractions that are found around the world.

Generally, tourist attractions can be separated into four main categories: natural, man-made, sport, events. I will discuss these four categories below.

Take a look at the top tourist attractions in the world- how many have you been to?

Natural attractions

A natural tourist attraction is one that is naturally occurring. In other words, it is not built by man.

There are many types of natural attractions around the world. In many cases, areas surrounding natural attractions have been developed for tourism because of the natural attraction that is on offer.

Here are some of the different types of natural attractions.

National parks

staycation

National park examples: Dartmoor, Brecon Beacons, Lake District, New Forest.

A national park is an area that is protected due to its cultural heritage, varied wildlife and/or beautiful countryside.

There are clear boundaries showing where the park begins and ends. ,And laws exists to protect the nature and wildlife so that it can all be enjoyed by current and future generations. 

The overarching aim of a national park is for people to be able to continually benefit from everything nature has to offer, without destroying it.

There are 15 national parks in the UK.

UK national parks

Want to learn more? Take a look at my articles everything you need to know about UK national parks and the best national parks to visit in the UK.

UK national parks
The Peak District

My favourite national park: The Peak District

A friend of mine lives in and writes about the Peak District and I am always surprised at how many wonderful things there are to do here!

Beaches

Goa beaches

Beach examples: Brighton Beach (Brighton, UK), Copacabana Beach (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Bondi Beach (Sydney, Australia), Santa Monica Beach (California, USA).

Many people choose to go on holiday in search of a beach.

Beach tourism is particularly popular amongst populations who live in predominantly cooler climates, such as Brits and Russians. Many tourists seek warm weather and soft sand and head to exotic shores to satisfy their desires.

Beaches are one of the most popular types of tourist attractions around the world.

Beaches can be busy or they can be quiet and secluded. Many beaches in popular tourist areas suffer from overtourism. The typically package holiday and the mass tourism industry are generally associated with beach tourism.

Boulders Beach

My favourite beach: Boulders Beach, South Africa

Visiting Boulders Beach was SUCH a treat! It is famous for its resident penguins and getting to see them up close was a really special experience!

Caves

types of tourist attractions

Cave examples: Blue Grotto (Italy), Waitomo Glowworm caves (New Zealand), Reed Flute Cave (China), Cave of the Crystals (Mexico).

There are many spectacular caves around the world and are popular natural tourist attractions.

Caves are natural voids in the ground. Some caves are small and other caves are large. These voids are typically created through weathering and erosion. Many caves have water inside, some of which are known as cenotes.

Caves are often home to many different species of bats, mice, rats and various insects.

Many people choose to visit caves in order to take a look at the natural formations or to undertake active pursuits, such as caving, diving and canoeing.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite cave: Manjanggul Cave

Despite its name, Manjanggul Cave is actually a lava tube, and it’s the biggest one in Asia. Located in ‘South Korea’s Hawaii’- Jeju island, this is a remarkable natural attraction to visit. This was the first, and only, time I have ever needed to use an umbrella indoors!

Cliffs

types of tourist attractions
Many people choose to visit cliffs in the UK and overseas.

Cliff examples: White Cliffs of Dover (UK), Torres del Paine (Chile), Preikestolen (Norway), The Cliffs of Moher (Ireland).

Cliffs are another examples of one of the popular types of tourist attractions.

A cliff is essential a land edge, whereby the land juts out above the sea. A cliff usually encompasses a steep rock face.

People may choose to visit cliffs to enjoy the scenery. They may do this by having a picnic, taking a gentle stroll or committing to a multi-day hike.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite cliff: Cape Point

Cape Point is the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula. It is a beautiful mountainous area at the extreme most southwestern tip of South Africa. The views are stunning and it is a great place to relax for an afternoon.

Mountains

view of alps mountain

Mountain examples: Mountain ranges– the Himalayas (Nepal), the Drakensburg Mountains (South Africa), the Yellow Mountains (China), The Canadian Rockies (Canada). Singular mountains– Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Everest (Nepal), Aconcagua (Argentina).

Mountains are some of the most popular types of tourist attractions.

A mountain is a natural elevation of the earth’s surface. A mountain usually has a peak. Mountains are bigger than hills and the top of the mountain is usually 2000m or more above sea level.

Mountains usually come in ranges (multiple mountains), but sometimes are lonesome.

Tourists choose to visit mountains for a number of reason. They may simply want to enjoy the scenery or they may be in search of cool weather. Many tourists choose to visit mountains for hiking or skiing activities.

Mountains are natural attractions that must be looked after. There have been many negative stories of erosion due to skiing and litter left behind by hikers.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was one of the biggest achievement of my life! The climb is physically and mentally challenging, but making it to the top was the best feeling ever!

Hills

green slope and mountains in clouds

Hills examples: Palatine Hill (Italy), Glastonbury Tor (UK), Chocolate Hills (Philipines), Anantagiri Hills (India).

Hills are popular areas for tourists to visit, and hills can make great types of tourist attractions.

Many people will choose to visit hills for the scenery or for active types of tourism, such as kite flying or hiking.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite hill: Glastonbury Tor

Did you know that a tor is a type of hill?

Glastonbury Tor is famous for the annual music festival and has become something of a landmark in the area. Whilst I haven’t ever attended Glastonbury festival, me and my girls did enjoy our blustering climb up to the top!

Waterfalls

Hiking in Yunnan

Waterfalls examples: Niagara Falls (USA/Canada), Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil).

Visiting a waterfall is on many people’s travel to-do list!Many destinations have waterfalls that attract tourists.

Some waterfalls are big and others are small.

Some waterfalls are easily accessible and others are found in remote destinations.

The area around some waterfalls is very developed for tourism (such as Niagara Falls), and for others the area is not developed at all.

Goa waterfalls

My favourite waterfall: Dudhsagar Falls

Dudhsagar Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Goa, India. I loved this waterfall because it was surrounded by nature. The monkeys came to play on our walk to the falls and we could get in and swim with the huge fish that lived in the water beneath the waterfall. This was an amazing experience!

Islands

types of tourist attractions

Island examples: Malta, Bali (Indonesia), Jamaica (Caribbean), Isla of Wight (UK), Koh Samui (Thailand), Phd Quoc Island (Vietnam), Cape Verde.

Island tourism is a popular type of tourism.

An island is a piece of land that is separated from the mainland by water.

Most islands have beach areas for tourists to enjoy.

Some islands are large, like Australia, and others are small, like the Gili Islands. Groups of islands are called an archipelago.

There are many islands that are popular for tourism, such as Bali, many of the islands in the south of Thailand and the Caribbean, amongst many others.

Visiting and staying on an island can often cost the tourist, and the local, more than if they were staying on the mainland. This is because of added transport costs for both people and goods. So, for example, the price of a loaf of bread is increased because the ingredients have to be put on a boat or place in order to reach the island, which costs money.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite Island: Bali

Bali is the most populated tourist island in Indonesia. Popular with Australians and Chinese tourists, it also attracts visitors from around the world.

Bali is one of my happy places. I love the peaceful atmosphere- the yoga, the sound of the waves, the smell of incense. The beaches are great and the food is delicious.

I’ve been twice and I can’t wait to go back again!

Forests

old wooden barns on green hill

Example forests: Daintree Forest (Australia), Redwood National Park (USA), Sagano Bamboo Forest (Japan), Great Bear Rainforest (Canada).

A forest is one of the popular types of tourist attractions.

There are Forrests all over the world, although the flora and fauna differs according to the geographical location, they are share one thing in common- trees!

Many tourists choose to travel to forest areas. Some travellers will visit for a short time and others may stay for days or weeks.

There are many tourist facilities and resorts that have been developed within forests. In the UK the Centre Parcs chain is probably the most well-known. These holiday parks feature chalets and villas in a forest area. There are many activities such as rock climbing and mountain biking. There are also many facilities provided such as swimming pools and restaurants.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite forest: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Visiting the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica was a once in a lifetime experience! We were literally living in the clouds! We spent our days amongst the nature, watching the humming birds, looking for sloths and talking gentle walks through the forest.

Purpose built or man-made tourist attractions

Many types of tourist attractions are purpose built. This means that the attractions are not natural, and were created by man.

Man-made tourist attractions can be separated into two groups: Attractions that were made for tourism purposes and attractions that were made for other purposes but has since been used for tourism.

Purpose built tourist attractions are attractions that have been purposely developed for tourism. This could include a wide range of types of tourist attractions, such as a theme park, a zoo or an art gallery.

Here are some examples of man-made tourist attractions.

Entertainment parks

types of tourist attractions

Entertainment park examples: Sea World, Florida (USA), Disney Land, Paris (France), Wet and Wild Gold Coast (Australia), Big Fun Play Centre, Calgary (Canada),

There are many different types of entertainment parks around the world.

Theme parks are very popular built tourist attractions. They are built with the sole purpose of providing entertainment for visitors.

Theme parks are usually quite large. Sometimes you will pay a one-time fee to enter with unlimited access to rides. Other times you may be required to pay for individual rides. Many of the large theme parks are renowned for being busy and having long queues for rides.

Another example of an entertainment park is a waterpark.

Waterparks can be both indoors and outdoors, although outdoor waterparks are usually larger, with more rides and facilities. Holiday parks like Centre Parks offer indoor waterparks as part of their offering to tourists.

In warmer climates, such as in Spain or Florida, there are many outdoor waterparks. Waterparks often feature wave pools, lazy rivers and a variety of slides and playgrounds.

Play parks are areas that have playing equipment for children.

The facilities offered at play parks can vary widely. Some play parks may have water areas, others are completely dry. Play parks may have small rides, such as train rides. They may also have horses or donkeys to ride. There will likely be playgrounds as well as other activities such as archery or canoeing.

Soft play areas are another example of play parks. Soft play areas consist of indoor playgrounds. They usually have ball pits, slides and sometime bouncy castles. Soft play areas are popular with young children. Many countries have impressive soft play attractions such as China and Canada.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite entertainment park: Peppa Pig World

My daughters love Peppa Pig, so when we heard that there was a Peppa Pig world we knew that we just HAD to go!

Peppa Pig World is a section within a larger theme park, called Paulton’s Park. Paulton’s Park is located in the New Forest in the south of England.

Wildlife attractions

agriculture animals baby blur

Wildlife attraction examples: San Diego Zoo (USA), Monkey Island, Sanya (China), Atlantis Aquarium, Dubai (UAE), Tiger Temple, Chiang Mai (Thailand).

There are many types of tourist attractions that involve the use of wildlife.

Some of these are natural areas, such as grazing lands when you go on a safari. However, most of these are purpose built tourist attractions.

There are many types of wildlife attractions that make use of the concept of animal tourism. Some are better managed than others. When you are visiting an animal-focussed attraction it is important that you do your research and only visit if the animals are well treated and cared for.

Zoos are a popular type of wildlife attractions.

Zoos are areas whereby animals are kept. They usually have a wide range of animals, many of which are exotic, such as lions, elephants and monkeys. Tourists are allowed to enter the venue and look at and/or interact with the animals.

Some zoos have very small cages and the treatment of the animals is poor. This is unethical and I do not recommend visiting such zoos.

Farms are similar to zoos, but they generally have larger enclosures and keep only animals that naturally live in the country. In the UK, zoos generally feature animals such as cows, goats, sheep and chickens. Some farms that allow visitors are working farms.

Aquariums are also tourist attractions that enable tourists to see wildlife.

Aquariums feature marine life, such as sharks, sting rays, turtles and a wide range of fish. Some aquariums have large tanks and allow visitors to interact with the marine life by snorkelling or diving. Other aquariums may only have small tanks for their fish, which is unethical.

Lastly, there are a number of attractions around the world that use animals as their focus.

Some destinations will transport animals to the area to encourage tourists to visit. A common example of this is monkeys.

There are attractions that use tigers or lions, such as Tiger Temple in Thailand. Here you can get up close and personal and have photos taken with the tigers.

Thailand is also well-known for its elephants, with many tourist attractions featuring elephant rides or elephant conservation.

Take a look at the SCARIEST tourist attractions in the world in this short video!

Some destinations, such as Mexico create tourist destinations which enable you to swim with dolphins and other marine life.

If you are considering visiting an attraction like this, do your research first and make sure that the organisation demonstrates ethical practices.

Animal tourism is a controversial issue and is one that is frequently debated. Whilst these attractions can be very profitable and have positive economic outcomes, they can, if not managed sustainably, have negative impacts on the animals.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite wildlife attraction: Krabi Elephant Sanctuary

The elephant sanctuary in Krabi, Thailand rescues elephants who have been mistreated in the logging or tourism trades. The sanctuary provides elephants with a better quality of life than they have previously known and allows tourists to visit to help fund their operations.

The sanctuary offer tours and allow you to get up close and personal with the elephants. Elephant riding is cruel and this is not allowed.

Museums and art galleries

Museum and art gallery examples: Egyption Museum, Cairo (Egypt), Louvre, Paris (France), Tate Modern, London (UK), Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Netherlands).

Museums and art galleries are usually purpose-built for tourism.

Museums and art galleries are found all over the world. These fall into different categories of the types of travel and tourism organisations. Some museums and art galleries are publicly funded or subsidised and others are privately owned, and therefore incur a cost to the visitor.

Museums and art galleries vary considerably in size. They can also have different intentions, some are based on history, or science, or culture amongst a wide variety of other subject matter. Some museums offer niche or unusual products- I was shocked to find out on my trip to Jeju in South Korea that the island has more sex museums than any other place!

types of tourist attractions

My favourite museum: War Remnants Museum

My visit to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is an eye-opening experience.

I didn’t know much about the Vietnam war, but what I did know had come from Western sources. This was my first exposure of informational bias. I heard about the war from the perspective of the Vietnam people, rather than the American’s. I learnt about the torture practices and the deformations caused to future children as a result of agent orange.

I will never forget the images from that day- where American tourists were walking through the museum is sheer horror, tears running down their faces as a result of what they were learning.

Now, it is important to state here that this museum has an inevitable bias too. And that the whole and true story is rarely presented by one side. What this experience taught me, was that there are two sides to every story, and our media outlets and school textbooks may not always present an objective and whole picture.

Unique built attractions

types of tourist attractions

Unique built attraction examples: The Grand Canyon glass bridge (USA), Nevis Bungy Jump (New Zealand), F1 car driving, Abu Dhabi race track (UAE).

There are many other purpose built tourist attractions around the world that do not neatly fit into any of the above categories.

As tourists, we desire things that are innovative, new and different. This is why many unique tourist attractions have been built around the world.

In Costa Rica they have taken advantage of the natural habitat and built extensive zip line networks through the forests.

In China they have built a large number of glass bridges. This makes for a unique and thrilling experience when visiting many of the beautiful natural areas that the country has to offer.

In Sydney they offer tourists with the opportunity to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge- now that is a cool experience!

There are also tourist attractions which facilitate a range of adrenaline-rising activities, such as sport car racing, deep sea diving, skydiving or wing walking.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite unique built attraction: Glass Bridge at Yanoda Rainforest

The glass bridge in the Yanoda rainforest, close to Sanya in China was a really cool tourist experience.

You get to walk out over the forest and admire the views from the glass bridge. This was great… but the best part was when we reached the end and the glass beneath us!! No, it didn’t actually crack, it was a simulation, my seeing the face on my husband when it happened was absolutely HILARIOUS! If only I caught it on camera…

Historical or heritage attractions

types of tourist attractions

Heritage or historical attraction examples: Blue Mosque, Istanbul (Turkey), Buckingham Palace, London (UK), Macchu Picchu (Peru), Ankor Was (Cambodia).

Some man-made attractions are not purpose built for tourism. Instead, they have been adapted for the purposes of tourism.

There are a wide range of buildings, areas and places that have historical or culturally significance. These places are often restored or protected and then displayed to tourists.

Historical or heritage-based tourist attractions include castles, famous walls, ruins, towers, monuments, religious buildings, houses and palaces.

These types of tourist attractions are often beneficial because they help to preserve cultural and heritage, which is a positive impact of cultural tourism.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite heritage and historical attraction: Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt are simply incredible. Nobody knows the exact history behind why and how they were built, and that’s part of the mystery!

We climbed down into the tombs and learnt all about the Egyptian pharaohs, which was super interesting!

Sport attractions

One of the most popular types of tourist attractions are sport events. Sports attractions make up an important part of the sports tourism industry.

Whilst a sporting attraction may not always comprise a permanent infrastructure, like many of the types of tourist attractions that we have discussed so far, sporting events are most certainly attractions in their own right!

There are three main types of sport-based attractions: spectating, participating and stadium tours.

Spectating sport attractions

people watching soccer game

Spectating attractions examples: Football World Cup, Wimbledon Championships, Six Nations Rugby, Olympics.

Many people choose to visit sport attractions because they wish to spectate.

There are many different sports around the world that welcome spectators. These range from large, international events (such as the Football World Cup or Wimbledon), to small localised events (think local cricket team or school swimming competition).

types of tourist attractions

My favourite spectating sport attraction: Wimbledon

I am not a huge tennis fan, but the atmosphere at the Wimbledon Championships was fantastic!

Quintessentially British, I enjoyed drinking Pimms and eating fresh strawberries whilst watching the game. The sun was shinning too. What more could you ask for?

Participating sport attractions

backlit beach dawn dusk

Participating sport attraction examples: Yoga retreat, Bali (Indonesia), golfing holiday, (Spain), diving holiday (Egypt), London Marathon (UK).

Other people visit sports attractions in order to participate in sport.

People may choose to participate in sport by doing a sports camp, which is particular popular with children and young people in the USA.

Other people may opt to go on a yoga holiday or a golfing trip, for example.

Other people may travel to a destination for a specific sporting event that they hope to take part in, such as a swimming competition or a running race.

There are many different sports attractions that invite tourists from around the world to participate in sport.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite participating sport attraction: Tough Mudder

The Tough Mudder race that I competed in was a day to remember! Tough Mudder is not for the faint hearted- a half marathon in knee-high mud with extraordinarily challenging obstacles such as being squeezed through a ‘birth canal’, carrying heavy rocks and diving into ice water, this was a memorable endurance!

Nonetheless, it was such an achievement when I completed in and I look back on this day with fond memories. But, it is pretty safe to say that I will not be signing up for a Tough Mudder again any time soon…!

Stadium tours

colosseum rome italy

Stadium tour examples: Barcelona Olympic Stadium (Spain), Manchester United Stadium (UK), Maracana Stadium (Brazil), Melbourne Cricket Ground (Australia).

The last example of sports attractions is stadium tours.

Stadium tours are popular around the world, particularly with people who are fans of teams who were/are based at these locations.

Stadium tours are also popular if there was a particularly famous event that occurred there.

Stadium tours occur in in both active and pre-used stadiums. Tours in disused stadiums tend to run more frequently and these stadiums are often transformed into museums, which exhibitions and information displays.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite stadium tour: Barcelona

Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium is the largest in Europe, with a capacity of over 99,000 people. Whilst I m not a big football fan, it was pretty impressive to see where the players change, marvel at the many trophies on display and see the sheer size of this stadium!

Special events

There are many special events that take place around the world that be be classed as types of tourist attractions.

Special events come in all shapes and sizes and there is no end to the different types of special events that can be organised. However, the most common types of special events are either markets, festivals and parades, exhibitions or entertainment venues.

Wow- some of these places are SERIOUSLY cool!


Markets

woman holding tomatoes

Market examples: Grand Bazaar, Istanbul (Turkey), Camden Market, London (UK), Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Bangkok (Thailand), Marrakesh Souks (Morocco).

There are different types of markets. Some markets are intended for local use (i.e. fruit and vegetable markets or fish markets) and others are intended for tourists (i.e. souvenir markets).

There are many places throughout the world that are famous for their markets. Some tourists may visit especially because they wish to visit the market. And for others, visiting a market may be a byproduct of their trip.

Markets come in different sizes. Some are large and others are small. Some markets operate everyday and others are only operational on particular days of the week or month.

Markets also look different in different places. In some areas there are indoor markets and in some places they are outdoors. Some take place in the street, others in an organised venue. Some take place in more unusual locations, such as on a river!

Markets are commonly associated with the concept of bargaining or haggling. They usually specialise in produce that is grown/made locally, i.e. leather in Morocco. Some are regulated more than others and you may find counterfeit or copied products here.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite market: AP Plaza (aka Shanghai fake market)

Visiting the Yatai Xinyang Fashion and Gift Market in Shanghai is an interesting experience, even if you don’t enjoy shopping!

This market is famous for its excellent copies and fake products. Whether you want a pair of Christian Louboutins, an England football shirt or some custom-made designer glasses, you can get it all at this market. It offers good quality and excellent value for money. And you get to practice your haggling skills too…

Festivals and parades

group of people having neon party

Festival and parade examples: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival (China), Glastonbury Festival (UK), Rio Carnival (Brazil), Holiday Festival (India), Songkran (Thailand).

Festivals and parades are important components of tourism.

There are many different festivals and parades that take places at different times of the year in different countries.

Many people will travel from around the world to either spectate or take part in such events.

San Fermin

My favourite festival: San Fermin

San Fermin, commonly referred to as the Running of the Bulls is a famous festival that takes place each summer in Pamplona, Spain. Famed for its bull running and fighting, the event also has a lot more to offer- jazz classes, karaoke, all-night parties, children’s games, meals, fireworks and lots more- this event is great fun to attend.

Whilst I didn’t feel all that comfortable about the way that the bulls were treated during this event, this festival is an important cultural tourism event in Spain, and it was great to learn a little bit more about Spanish heritage and to help keep the tradition alive!

Exhibitions

red art relaxation girl

Exhibition examples: Tate Modern, London (UK), ITB Berlin, (Germany), Tutankhamun Exhibition, Cairo (Egypt), Ryoji Ikeda: continuum at Centre Pompidou (France).

An exhibition is a display of art of interesting artefacts. Exhibitions usually take place in museums or large buildings. Most commonly, exhibitions consist predominantly of artwork.

Exhibitions can be permanent, they can travel from place to place or they can be temporary.

types of tourist attractions

My favourite exhibition: International Silk Art Exhibition

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the silk museum in Hangzhou, China. It was fascinating to see all of the garments that were created over the years and I really enjoyed learning about the history of the Silk Road.

Entertainment venues

white sydney opera house

Entertainment venue examples: Sydney Opera House (Australia), Holywood Bowl, LA (USA), Paradiso, Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Harpa Concert Hall (Iceland.

The last of the types of tourist attractions that I will discuss in this article is entertainment venues.

Entertainment venues are popular tourist attractions. There are different types of entertainment venues. Venues can be large or small. They can be permanent or temporary. They can propose built or otherwise.

Some entertainment venues have duel purpose. Or they may have been built for a different purpose than what they are used for now.

For example, The O2 Stadium, which now holds concerts and other entertainment events, was originally built as the Millennium Dome. The Millennium Dome was an exhibition centre, housing artefacts to celebrate the turn of the new millennium. However, this attracts was not successful and the building was subsequently redesigned and used for alternative means.

Likewise, following the 2012 London Olympics, there was no longer a need to have so many stadiums for public use. So West Ham United Football Club purchased the stadium and transformed it for their personal use. This was an excellent example of sustainable practice and was one of the reasons that the London Olympic bid was successful!

types of tourist attractions

My favourite entertainment venue: Joya Resident Cirque Du Soleil

Cirque Du Soleil is an inc credible acrobatics show that traditionally travels around the world using temporary entertainment venues. However, one of the few resident shows, where they have a purpose-built permanent infrastructure in place, is near Cancun in Mexico.

I thought that the venue, and the show, was absolutely fantastic. We sipped cocktails before the show with live entertainment along the purpose-built river. We then sat in the venue, which had been designed with moving stages, props and acrobatic equipment installed in order to provide for an incredible experience.

To conclude: Types of tourist attractions

As you can see, there are many different types of tourist attractions throughout the world. Whether they are natural or man-made, large or small, all types of tourist attractions make a valuable contribution and play an important role in the tourism industry. What’s your favourite tourist attraction?

If you want to learn more about the travel and tourism industry or if you are a travel and tourism student, I strongly suggest you consult the texts listed in the further reading section below. These books are core texts for travel and tourism students, covering all of the fundamental tourism management topics that you will surely be studying.

Further reading

  • An Introduction to Tourism: a comprehensive and authoritative introduction to all facets of tourism including: the history of tourism; factors influencing the tourism industry; tourism in developing countries; sustainable tourism; forecasting future trends.
  • The Business of Tourism Management: an introduction to key aspects of tourism, and to the practice of managing a tourism business.
  • Tourism Management: An Introduction: gives its reader a strong understanding of the dimensions of tourism, the industries of which it is comprised, the issues that affect its success, and the management of its impact on destination economies, environments and communities.
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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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The tour operator is an integral component of tourism, yet many people are unclear about what a tour operator actually or or what they do. In this article I will explain what a tour operator is and why tour operators are important. I will also talk about what the...

The best sex museums in the world | Understanding tourism

Whilst some people may avoid them like the plague, other people are curious about what the best sex museums in the world have to offer. From popular honeymoon days out in South Korea, to artefacts about sex through the different ares in Amsterdam, there are many...

Things to do in Burnham on Sea

We spent a lot of time in Burnham on Sea this summer. Before moving to Cheddar, I had never heard of this coastal area. And now I wonder why! Burnham on Sea has beautiful sand, its not crowded and there are lot of things to do in Burnham on Sea. Here's what I learnt...

The Yellow Mountains: A comprehensive guide

The Yellow Mountains is one of the most beautiful mountainous areas in China. Located on the edge of Anhui province, the area makes for a great weekend break from Shanghai or Hangzhou. It can also be easily accessed from other parts off the country via the nearby...

Visiting friends and relatives (VFR): A simple explanation

Visiting friends and relatives, often referred to as VFR, is one of the most prominent types of tourism. Whether you are a tourism management student or a tourism industry entrepreneur, it is important that you understand this vital sector of the tourism industry. In...