An attempt at defining concepts

Until the mid-90s, this word was customarily represented as a person with a backpack on his back, going on a walk or a trip to nature, which corresponds to the UN definition in 1951. In connection with the possibility of traveling to other countries, which appeared since the mid-90s for the purpose of recreation and entertainment, tourists began to refer to any people who travel outside of their permanent place of residence.

If we turn to the original concept of “tourism” as a derivative of the French word tour (tour, walk, trip), then this term may well include all those who just travel somewhere, and in this case, the modern activity of tourist companies that arrange and equip the movement of citizens perfectly fits this definition, and any person using the product of a travel company will be called a tourist.

But in this case, a reasonable question arises: how to name the person who independently goes on a journey, hike, trip, river rafting, cycling, mountain climbing, if the term “tourist” now defines the product of the activities of travel companies, and not what was invested into it during the Soviet era. And if we turn to the literal definition of this term, then it becomes necessary to give a new definition of “an unprofessional traveler whose goal is active rest”, and for this one must first remember what was always meant by the definition of “traveler”.

If earlier travels were one of the main sources of information about certain countries of the general nature and outline of the Earth’s surface, then in fact, from the middle of the 20th century, the term “travel” began to denote a trip made to some extent independently, regardless of the travel company. and for a sufficiently long period of time for cognitive purposes. Travelers are now called people who participate in independent, often adventurous, trips (for example, T. Heyerdahl, Yu. A. Senkevich, FF Konyukhov).

If you analyze the origins of tourism development and the ways of its expression, then you can easily notice and define its main features:

recreation and entertainment;
visiting attractions, both cultural and natural;
health and sports tourism.
Subtracting these definitions from the notion “traveler”, we will be able to derive the definition of the term “travel”, namely,


  • it is, first of all, independently organized and carried out movement in any territory, water area for cognitive purposes, excluding elements of recreation and entertainment;


  • a person leaving the place of permanent residence in order to study the area, culture, etc.
    then, due to the lack of the most appropriate term at the moment, we will call it as follows:

active tourist

  • this is a person leaving the place of permanent residence for the purpose of active recreation, affecting the strengthening of health, physical development of a person.

Let us note at the same time the main differences between a traveler and an active tourist and just a tourist. The traveler does not have the goal of rest and entertainment; an active tourist believes that the main goal is health improvement, while the cognitive part is a side factor; passive tourist – one who uses the product of the activities of travel companies for the purpose of recreation and entertainment.

On the example of our activity, we can say that we act in all guises, and as travelers, going on rafting along previously unknown routes, with great exertion of physical strength; and as active tourists in traditional May Day rafting, when our main goal is rest, communication in the bosom of nature, as well as tourists in the full sense of the word, visiting attractions or going on a bus tour around Crimea. And if someone says that calling yourself a traveler is too loud, then I can notice that often travel is most likely not WHERE to go, but HOW to go: you can go to the Far North or the South Pole, and this will be a tour, or you can go out of town or into the forest and it will become a real journey.

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