The Evolution of Tourism in the 20th Century: From Battlefields to Beaches

TLDR From visiting battlefields and cemeteries to sunbathing and holiday camps, tourism in the 20th century saw a shift towards leisure and relaxation. The rise of holiday camps like Butlins and the popularity of package tours to destinations like Spain transformed the traditional model of tourism.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 In the early 20th century, despite the First World War, tourism to the south of France continued and people visited battlefields and cemeteries as well as other tourist attractions.
04:25 In the early 20th century, manual workers were not able to go to the beach, but those who were part of travel clubs, like the Polytechnic Touring Association, went on high-minded group outings and discussed things like literature and sang folk songs.
08:51 By the turn of the 20th century, people were talking about sunbathing and the idea of being tanned became more popular, with D.H. Lawrence even describing a woman sunbathing and feeling as though the sun was mating with her.
13:38 The popularity of holiday camps, particularly Butlins, emerged in Britain in the mid-20th century as a unique part of the British tourist ecosystem.
17:52 Butlins holiday camps were created in 1936 by Billy Butlin and became successful due to the introduction of Redcoats, entertainers who encouraged guests to participate in activities and events.
22:11 Mass tourism began to develop after World War II, with the late 1940s and early 1950s being the high point of seaside resorts and holiday camps like Butlins.
26:46 Vladimir Reitz invents the overseas package flight, offering tourists a trip to Corsica with unlimited food, wine, and sun for £32.
31:07 In the 1960s, British tourists began to abandon their holiday camps and travel abroad, with Spain, particularly Benidorm, becoming a popular destination due to Franco's push for tourism and the transformation of sleepy fishing villages into concrete tourist hotspots.
35:42 British tourists in the 1970s began to travel to the Mediterranean for their holidays, with destinations like El's Bells in the film "Carry On Abroad" reflecting the chaotic and often disappointing experiences they had, which were later addressed by travel programs like the BBC's "Holiday" and ITV's "Wish You Were Here."
39:43 The decline of British holiday camps like Butlins in the 70s led to the rise of cheap package tours to Spain, which laid the foundations for the tourist industry as we know it today, although the internet and the 1990s brought about a significant break in the traditional model of tourism.
44:04 Holidays are not just meant to be fun, but also good for you, and there is a fear of boredom and anxiety about not having anything to do while on vacation.
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