History of Tourism – First Cruise Ship 1900 | On a cold winter day Albert Ballin – Managing Director at HAPAG in Hamburg – had a brilliant idea. While watching his company’s flagship vessel ‘Augusta Victoria’ hibernating in the port, he forged a plan aiming a high return on investment. Many ships were largely unused during the winter season in Hamburg. Due to the cold stormy weather, travelers wisely avoided the otherwise busy North Atlantic route to America. Albert Ballin planned to bridge the gap with a 58-day leisure voyage from Hamburg to the Mediterranean Sea. This cruise would include pre-planned excursions ashore. The first voyage took place in 1899 and was a stunning success.
Next step: build a ship that better suits the new purpose. Ballin commissioned the German shipbuilding and engineering works ‘Blohm & Voss’ to do exactly this. On June 29, 1900 a ship was launched and christened ‘Prinzession Victoria Luise’ (named after Kaiser Wilhelm II’s daughter). She is credited with having been the first purpose-built cruise ship. ‘Prinzessin Victoria Luise’ left on her maiden voyage in January 1901 going Hamburg – Boulogne – Plymouth – New York.
But her life was short. She only served with HAPAG until Dezember 16, 1906 after being accidentally grounded off Jamaica. Captain Brunswig tried to anchor at Port Royal when he mistook a lighthouse at Plumb Point for that at the westernmost point of Port Royal. Heading the wrong direction at 26 km/h, the ship hit rocks at about 9:30 pm in the evening. The captain retreated to his cabin and shot himself. All passengers were rescued the following day. Inspection revealed major structural damage to frame and keel plates of ‘Prinzessin Victoria Luise’. Her engines had been displaced during impact. The ship was filled with 5 metres of water. She was declared a total loss.
The Beginning of Winter Tourism, 1860 | The Swiss city of St. Moritz is known as cradle of winter tourism. It all started in the year 1860, when hotel manager Johannes Badrutt invited some British summer holiday guests to return to St. Moritz in winter to see some snowy landscape. This move inaugurated a trend that is popular until today; winter tourism. But interesting enough: it took another 100+ years to break the dominance of summer tourism in St. Moritz. Finally in the 1970s the numbers of winter tourists took over the lead from summer tourists in St. Moritz and in many of the Swiss ski resorts.
In 1830 the young Johannes Badrutt remodeled a residential house in Samedan near St. Moritz into a hotel. He named it ‘A la Vue du Bernina’. Unlike neighbouring houses, this building has a roundish kind of roof. It is still intact.
History of Tourism | Tourism means touring for pleasure – traveling for holiday activities only. Traces of recreational journeys one can already find in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. But modern mass tourism did not become an industry until the year 1844 in Leicester, England. The following seven blog posts will introduce you to the origins of modern mass tourism. We start in the year 1841 …
On 5 July 1841 – a man named Thomas Cook arranged for a rail company to charge one shilling per person for a train journey. That included rail tickets and food for this trip. Cook was paid a share of the fares actually charged to the passengers. This was the first privately chartered excursion train to be advertised to the general public. The seed of modern mass tourism was planted. Cook conducted more and more outings for temperance societies and school children. In 1844 the Midland Counties Railway Company agreed to make a permanent arrangement with Tom Cook. His job was to find passengers for these leisure tours. His success led Cook to start his own business – running railway excursions and taking a percentage of the railway tickets.
But Cook didn’t stop there. In 1848 he planned his first tourist excursion abroad, when he took a group from Leicester to Calais and Paris. One year later he started so-called ‘grand circular tours’ of Europe. He took British tourists to Switzerland, Italy, Egypt and the U.S. Cook established the ‘all inclusive travel’. Travelers went independently but his agency charged for travel, food and accommodation for a fixed period over any chosen route. Cooks huge success led the Scottish railway companies withdrew their support in 1862 to try similar excursion businesses for themselves.
Thomas Cook (1808-1892) was not just the founder of the travel agency ‘Thomas Cook & Son’ – also famous as ‘Cook’s Tours’. He was the founder of modern mass tourism. His company became ‘Thomas Cook AG’ in 2002 before eventually being renamed into ‘Thomas Cook Group’ in 2007. The group operates predominantly on the European tourism market. All Thomas Cook travel agencies combined made a net income of almost 20 million Pound in 2017.
Underrated Tourist Spots – Bourtange, Netherlands | Fort Bourtange is a star shaped military fort near Groningen, Netherlands. It was built in 1593 under the orders of William the Silent, leader of the Netherlands. Its purpose was to control the only road between Germany and the city of Groningen, which was unfortunately patrolled by the Spaniards at that time. During the 80-Years-War from 1568 to 1648, the Spaniards had full control over Groningen and the road leading from there to Germany. William the Silent wanted to break off trade between Spanish occupied Groningen and Germany. He decided that it would be optimal to build a fortification on the Bourtange passage, which was the main road leading to Germany.
The star shaped fort was completed in 1593 with a network of canals and lakes used as moats. The fort then housed five garrisons. Soon after its construction, Spanish forces from Groningen battled it. Their attack failed.
Fort Bourtange faced another battle in 1672 against military forces of Prince-Bishop of Münster. This guy really demanded the Fort to surrender! The fort’s governor, Captain Protts, refused. The Münsters replied with a frontal assault. But again the invading army was repelled successfully.
Bourtange was converted into a village in 1851. 110 years later the local government decided to combat the growing problem of decline. Fort Bourtange would be restored and made into a historical museum.
Underrated Tourist Spots – Shirakawa-Go, Japan | Japan is not famous for preserving historic buildings. But there are exceptions. The villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama are a Japanese UNESCO World Heritage Site. These villages are known for their houses constructed in the architectural style “gasshō-zukuri” (合掌造り, prayer-hands construction) Outstanding feature: thatched and steeply slanting roofs resembling two hands joined in prayer. The design is exceptionally strong and allows the houses to withstand the weight of the region’s heavy snowfalls in winter. Houses are quite large for Japanese proportions, with three to four stories encompassed between the low eaves. The densely forested mountains of the region still occupy 95% of all land in the area. Narrow bands of flat lands running the length of the river valley limit the area available for agriculture and homestead development.
The upper storeys of these traditional gasshō-style houses were often set aside for sericulture. Areas below the ground floor were often used for the production of nitre, a raw material for gunpowder.