The Evolution of Tourism in the 19th Century

TLDR The 19th century saw the rise of mass tourism by the British, with Thomas Cook inventing the package tour and popularizing travel to foreign destinations. Tourists faced social prejudice and stereotypes, but sought out new and unspoiled places, leading to the development of seaside resorts and the exploration of undiscovered locations.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 In the 19th century, the tradition of British tourists going abroad and finding similarities to home is a noble tradition, with the battlefield of Waterloo becoming one of the first great centers of tourism.
05:15 In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the invention of mass tourism by the British covered everything from souvenirs and guidebooks to travel agencies and sexual misbehavior, and was a middle-class aspiration to join the elite Grand Tourists, with holidays being seen as good for mental and physical health and a way to lobby for working men and women to get time off.
09:41 Thomas Cook invented the package tour in 1841, allowing 500 people to attend a temperance meeting in Loughborough by mass-booking train tickets, and later organized trips to the Great Exhibition in London and foreign destinations like Paris, Italy, and Spain.
14:17 The grand tour class had snobbery and social prejudice towards those who went on Thomas Cook's package tours, with people mocking and belittling the behavior and knowledge of the tourists.
18:29 In the 19th century, phrase books were used by tourists to communicate in foreign countries, and there were often negative stereotypes and complaints about the food in Italy.
22:50 In the 19th century, Germany was a popular destination for British tourists due to its spa towns, where people would go for socializing and health reasons, with various treatments available for different ailments.
27:25 In 19th century German spa towns, people would bathe in and drink the strangely colored spa water, which was described as tasting like the washings of a gun barrel with a dash of rotten eggs, and were even advised to wipe their teeth with stale bread or sage leaves to remove the mineral crustacean.
31:47 People in the 19th century started going to Iceland and other undiscovered places to get away from crowded tourist destinations, and this trend of seeking out new and unspoiled places continues in contemporary travel.
36:10 In the 19th century, most people couldn't afford to go on holiday abroad, so they would go on day trips or have a wakes week where they would all go to the seaside; the world's first seaside spa resort was founded in Heiligandam on the Baltic coast in Mecklenburg in 1793.
40:30 Blackpool in the UK became a popular resort town in the late 18th century, attracting working-class visitors and pioneering innovations such as electric power, street lighting, and the world's first electric tramway.
44:50 The podcast episode ends with a reading of Philip Larkin's poem "1914" as a fitting tribute to the 100th anniversary of Larkin's birthday, reflecting on the innocence and impending change that occurred during the outbreak of the First World War.
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