Sustainable Tourists | 20 Fascinating Types of Tourists Around The World

Sustainable Tourists | 20 Fascinating Types of Tourists Around The World

Are you curious about the diverse types of tourists you can encounter around the world? Understanding these different types is essential for the tourism industry to cater to their specific needs. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to offer kids’ club tickets to elderly tourists without young children, just as it wouldn’t be suitable to promote volunteer tourism to those seeking a relaxing poolside vacation. In this article, we’ll explore various classifications of tourists, giving you insights into their preferences and behaviors. So, are you ready to delve into the fascinating world of tourists? Let’s get started!

Explore the diverse types of tourists based on travel behavior, demographics, and motivations. Discover leisure tourists, business travelers, culinary enthusiasts, historical explorers, and more. Gain insights into the various ways people engage with travel and Sustainable Tourists tourism.


Cohen’s Types of Tourists

One of the pioneering typologies in the travel and tourism industry was developed by Cohen. According to Cohen, tourists can be classified into four categories. Let’s explore each of these briefly:

Cohen's Types of Tourists

The Drifter

Drifters seek an authentic and immersive tourism experience. They prefer staying with local community members instead of hotels and engaging with the local culture. Adventurous and independent, drifters create their own itineraries and actively pursue novelty over-familiarity. You won’t find them dining at fast-food chains or shopping in mainstream stores. Drifters are the least connected to mass Sustainable Tourist tourism.


The Explorer

Explorers also prioritize novelty but maintain a bit more interaction with the tourism industry. They immerse themselves in local cultures, yet choose to rest in hotels after a day of exploration. While they prefer local dining and shopping, don’t be surprised if they occasionally indulge in a familiar experience like enjoying a Big Mac.


The Individual Mass Tourist

Individual Mass Tourists seek the comfort of the familiar. They prefer familiar cuisines, communication in their native language, and accommodations they are accustomed to. However, they value independence and often opt for solo travel rather than group tours.


The Organized Mass Tourist

The Organized Mass Tourist seeks familiarity exclusively. They prefer organized group travel and stick to itineraries. These tourists commonly rely on tour guides and are content with the predictability of established tourism offerings.

Travel” The New York Times International

Plog’s Types of Tourists

Stanley Plog introduced another typology based on Allocentricity and Psychocentricity, which reflects tourists’ preferences and destination popularity. Let’s briefly explore these types:

Plog's Types of Tourists

Allocentric Tourists

Allocentric tourists are associated with undiscovered or underdeveloped destinations. They are often the first to explore a particular area, embracing the unknown and seeking adventure. Allocentric tourists are comfortable traveling alone and enjoy venturing to lesser-known places.


Psychometric Tourists

In contrast to allocentric tourists, psychometric tourists prefer well-developed destinations. They seek the security of familiar environments and often travel in organized groups with pre-planned itineraries. They are more comfortable with structured tourism experiences and tend to stick to popular tourist destinations.


Types of Tourists by Destination Type

Tourists can also be classified based on the type of destination they visit. Here are a few examples:

Types of tourists by destination type

Domestic Tourists

Domestic tourists are individuals who travel within their own country for leisure or recreational purposes. They explore different regions, cities, and attractions within their nation.


International Tourists

International tourists are travelers who visit a foreign country for various reasons such as vacation, business, or cultural exchange. They contribute to the tourism industry of the destination country and often have different preferences and expectations compared to domestic tourists.


Inbound Tourists

Inbound tourists refer to international travelers visiting a particular country. For example, if someone from Germany travels to France, they would be considered an inbound tourist in France.


Outbound Tourists

Outbound tourists are individuals who leave their home country to travel abroad. Using the previous example, a French person traveling to Germany would be classified as an outbound tourist from France.


Types of Tourists by Tourism Type

Tourists can also be categorized based on the specific type of tourism they engage in. Here are some examples:

Types of Tourists by Tourism Type

Wellness Tourists

Wellness tourists prioritize their physical and mental well-being during their travels. They seek destinations and activities that promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and self-care. Wellness tourists may choose to visit spas, wellness retreats, and yoga centers, or engage in activities like meditation and wellness workshops.


Sustainable Tourists

Sustainable tourists are conscious of the environmental and socio-cultural impacts of their travel. They aim to minimize their carbon footprint and support local communities. Sustainable tourists choose eco-friendly accommodations, participate in responsible tourism practices, and engage in activities that promote conservation and sustainability.


Ethical Tourists

Ethical tourists focus on responsible and ethical tourism practices. They actively seek to support local communities, respect cultural traditions, and contribute to positive social change. Ethical tourists may engage in volunteering, community-based tourism, or support fair-trade initiatives.


Experiential Tourists

Experiential tourists value immersive and authentic experiences. They seek to connect with the local culture, traditions, and people of the destinations they visit. Experiential tourists may participate in local festivals, workshops, and culinary experiences, or stay with local hosts to gain a deeper understanding of the place they are visiting.


Adventure Tourists

Adventure tourists are thrill-seekers who enjoy engaging in exciting and adrenaline-pumping activities during their travels. They may participate in activities such as hiking, rock climbing, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, or wildlife safaris. Adventure tourists are drawn to destinations that offer unique outdoor experiences and opportunities for exploration.


Dark Tourists

Dark tourists are intrigued by sites associated with death, tragedy, or historical significance. They visit places like war memorials, former prisons, disaster sites, or locations associated with dark events. Dark tourists seek to understand and learn from the past, often reflecting on the human experience and the impact of historical events.


Cultural Tourists

Cultural tourists have a strong interest in the arts, history, traditions, and heritage of a destination. They visit museums, historical sites, and cultural festivals, and participate in activities that allow them to immerse themselves in the local culture. Cultural tourists seek to gain knowledge and appreciation for different cultures and their artistic expressions.



Ecotourists are nature lovers who prioritize visiting and conserving natural environments. They seek destinations with rich biodiversity, national parks, and protected areas. Ecotourists engage in activities like bird-watching, hiking, wildlife conservation projects, or sustainable nature tours to experience and appreciate the beauty of the natural world.

These are just a few examples of how tourists can be categorized based on various factors such as travel purpose, destination type, and tourism preference. It’s important to note that individuals can belong to multiple categories simultaneously, as their travel motivations and preferences may evolve.


Types of Tourists by Travel Motivation

Tourists can also be classified based on their underlying travel motivations. Here are a few examples:

Types of Tourists by Travel Motivation

Leisure Tourists

Leisure tourists travel primarily for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment. They seek activities and destinations that offer leisurely experiences, such as beach vacations, theme parks, resorts, or cultural attractions.


Business Tourists

Business tourists travel for work-related purposes, such as attending conferences, meetings, or trade shows. Their travel is typically focused on professional engagements, and they may not have much leisure time during their trips.


Educational Tourists

Educational tourists travel to gain knowledge and expand their understanding of different subjects. They may visit educational institutions, attend workshops or seminars, or engage in cultural exchange programs to learn about the history, language, or traditions of a particular place.


Culinary Tourists

Culinary tourists have a passion for food and beverages. They travel to explore the culinary traditions and flavors of different regions. Culinary tourists may seek out local food markets, cooking classes, food tours, or visit renowned restaurants to indulge in unique dining experiences.


Historical Tourists

Historical tourists have a keen interest in the past. They visit destinations known for their historical significance, such as ancient ruins, castles, archaeological sites, or museums. Historical tourists aim to learn about the heritage and events that shaped a particular place.


Religious Tourists

Religious tourists travel to destinations that hold religious or spiritual significance for them. They may visit pilgrimage sites, religious landmarks, temples, and churches, or participate in religious ceremonies and rituals.


Family Tourists

Family tourists are individuals or groups traveling with their families, including children and extended relatives. They choose destinations and activities that cater to family-friendly experiences, such as amusement parks, zoos, family resorts, or attractions suitable for all age groups.


Sports Tourists

Sports tourists travel to attend or participate in sporting events. They may travel to support their favorite sports teams, attend major tournaments or championships, or engage in sports-related activities such as golfing, skiing, or surfing.


Medical Tourists

Medical tourists travel to receive medical treatments or procedures in a foreign country. They seek destinations known for their advanced healthcare facilities and expertise in specific medical fields. Medical tourists may undergo procedures like cosmetic surgery, and dental treatments, or seek specialized medical care not available in their home country.

These classifications provide a broad overview of the different types of tourists based on various factors. It’s important to remember that individuals can have diverse motivations and preferences, and their travel experiences may combine multiple aspects from different categories. Sustainable Tourists

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