ORIGIN: Who Is The Father Of Tourism And Origin Of The First Travel Agency In The World



Tourism now is a billion-dollar industry worldwide providing everything you need to live a happening life. But did you ever wonder and wanted to know the origin like Who started to travel first? Who introduced the concept of leisure travel to the people? Who is the Father of tourism?

If you love traveling, I feel one should know how it all started and what we see today as a travel and tourism industry along with hospitality was just a mere start of a great man who with his intellectual thoughts and far vision started to value travel and the importance of it thinking how it can change the human civilization and become the biggest part of it.

Who is the father of tourism?

Thomas Cook, who is regarded as the founder of tourism, was born into a working-class family in central England. Yet, with drive and a keen business sense, he started one of the first travel agencies in history.

About Thomas Cook:

While he was born in the small village of Melbourne in 1808, Thomas Cook is most remembered for his time spent in England. By age 10, he would complete his education and start working, frequently for just a penny a day, to support his family.

Thomas Cook worked as a Baptist preacher, furniture maker, carpenter, publisher, political spokesman, & travel planner throughout his life. He was a Baptist preacher who travelled thousands of miles on foot and made so meager wages that he frequently worked at night to save oil and candles.

Thomas Cook was a pioneer in the travel industry who established one of the biggest travel companies in the world. The company began modestly as a means of getting people to local temperance meetings. With the aid of the railroads and the steam engine, Thomas was able to arrange travel as it was never organized before and what we see today is somehow his vision to make travel at this level, where it is accessible to all.

Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook helped popularise concepts like travel vouchers, traveler’s checks, and printed guidebooks even though he wasn’t the first to think of most of them. Thomas Cook employed his printing skills to produce guidebooks, periodicals, bulletins, and adverts for travel.

Thomas Cook Continental Timetables were really produced from 1873 to 2013 (the final edition was released in August 2013), and for many years they were regarded as the benchmark for anyone travelling by rail in Europe.

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Origin of the first Travel Agency in the world:

Thomas Cook’s involvement in organising and popularising package tours for leisure travel has led to him being hailed as the father of modern tourism. Cook was a British businessman & social reformer who supported travel’s positive effects on morality and education.

He planned the first all-inclusive package tour for leisure travel in 1841, where more than 500 people travelled by rail from Leicester to Loughborough as part of Thomas Cook’s first organised tour in favour of the temperance movement. Passengers got round-trip train transportation, band entertainment, high tea, and meals for just one shilling, which was the British currency during that era. That journey served as the catalyst for the growth of the current travel and tourism industries.

The years that followed saw Thomas Cook plan more package vacations. The first journeys were made within the United Kingdom, between places like Liverpool, London, and Scotland. Thomas Cook’s journeys began with a tour of Belgium, Germany, & France with a stay in Paris in 1855 before being extended to further locations in Europe.

After being inspired by this achievement, Cook continued to plan more excursions, including trips abroad to places like Egypt and Europe. Also, he started to provide a larger range of services, such as travel insurance and currency exchange. In order to oversee these services, Cook established the very first travel agency in history in 1841, known as Thomas Cook & Son. This agency was essential to the growth and development of the tourism sector.

Another significant corporation connected to the travel industry is Cox & Kings. Although the corporation was founded in 1758, a year before Thomas Cook, but its first activities were focused on managing the affairs of British officers deployed abroad.

Brief History of Tourism:

The earliest travel agencies were founded in the 19th century. Thomas Cook & Son was one of the pioneers, the first company to offer group excursions and vacations that included transportation, lodging, and meal tickets to reduce prices. This would be where package vacations today got their start.

Thomas Cook


The vast manufacture of buses and cars throughout the first half of the 20th century helped the tourism sector to expand. After the Second World War, the Mediterranean coast rapidly increased in popularity as coastal tourism started to gain importance. A rise in social welfare as well as advancements in labor law, charter flights, and other aspects of air travel contributed to the tourism boom.

Due to the energy crisis, the tourism industry experienced a recession in the 1970s, which resulted in decreased costs and prices. That was the beginning of mass tourism. Traveling has changed from being a luxury reserved for a select few to a popular leisure activity.

Over the subsequent decades, globalisation of airlines, travel companies, and hotel chains progressed. In addition, there were new services as well as pastimes that emphasised athletics and wellness, among other things.

The travel sector was significantly impacted by Thomas Cook’s inventions and commercial savvy. His creation of the package tour as well as the travel agency contributed to increasing the number of individuals who could travel affordably. Thomas Cook is renowned as a tourism pioneer today, and his influence on travel is still felt today.


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