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Leisure is a serious topic in the history of thought, connected intimately with the search for a meaningful life. The relationship between work and leisure today is more complex than ever. Though leisure is certainly not a concept exclusive to the world of travel and tourism, the two are hard to separate. Leisure is no longer the exclusive property of an elite. This fact has had profound ramifications for travel and for the world.

Travel has been declared dead many times through modern history, impossible in the age of rapid transit and all-inclusive vacation packages. But if travel is over, then what is tourism, probably the world’s biggest industry? The chapter locates the roots of modern tourism in the grand tours of the English aristocracy in the eighteenth century and follows it through the explosion of middle-class tourism in the twentieth century. The chapter also ponders the future of travel in the age of globalization and environmental peril.

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