The hotel industry, an exciting story (Part 2)

Hospitality and Tourism

Author: Jorge Alberto Escobar de la Cuesta


Hello! Continuing with our journey, in the last article we saw the difference between “traveler” and “tourist” and we began to study the evolution of travel through time. In this installment we are going to travel back in time to the 400th century BC to focus on what the history of mankind knows as:


This long period of history has a rather speculative beginning, therefore, we are going to establish a date in which there is already evidence that confirms the existence of advanced civilizations that knew writing, which we can assume as 4000 BC. and lasted until the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century AD.

It is already then when we can talk about trips as defined experiences of displacements with a defined objective. What were basically those goals? We will explain them according to their relevance:


The commercial exchange was perhaps the first reason for displacement of the ancients. We know for sure that the Egyptians moved across the entire African continent and both the Phoenicians and the Greeks had trade networks throughout the Mediterranean Sea.


These were times of conquest. The world already knew different civilizations and also the concept of “the strongest dominates”. This brought the emergence of two types of powerful forces, the first of which was the establishment of the first forms of what we could call “government”, which basically tried to establish a social organization with norms and rules dictated by an authoritarian figure and the other, the domination of other civilizations by the stronger ones.

Both forces required, in order to achieve their objectives, to mobilize important human groups, which gave rise to great civilizations and later, to powerful empires such as the Egyptian, Chinese, Persian and Roman empires.

These empires were characterized by establishing road networks throughout their territory to facilitate the movement of troops, as well as the guarantee of peace and security in their conquered territories through policies of coexistence and iron surveillance. This is how during the Persian Empire, the inhabitants of that vast eastern kingdom enjoyed long periods of relative tranquility and the Roman Empire led to what is known as the “pax romana”: a period of stability that lasted a little over two centuries. This became a great incentive for other types of travelers, who dedicated themselves, for various interests, to broaden their travel horizons.


Although there is knowledge that, since the beginning of humanity, there was a conception of superior forces, which, for the first humans were the same forces of nature that little understood, as civilizations emerged, this concept became more sophisticated until it reached the concept of Gods. This in turn, led to the existence of what we could call “religious bureaucracy” where myths, rites and places of worship were created.

These places became a reason for worship that attracted the faithful. Let us briefly recall the oracles of the Greeks, among which the one of the sacred city of Delphi stands out, consecrated to the god Apollo, attended by the humblest citizens to the great kings of that time, who did not move a finger without consult your fortune tellers


There are many stories about this type of travel. In 4000 B.C., people made pilgrimages to ancient Mesopotamia to receive a diagnosis of their ailments in their temples and also went to Sumer to treat their ailments in the hot springs.

And further back in time, the Greeks went to the sanctuary of Asclepius (the god of medicine) in the city of Epidaurus, where travelers received treatments based on hot baths, healthy food and wine (Bibliography:  Arias, Francisco y otros. El turismo de salud: Conceptualización, historia, desarrollo y estado actual del mercado global. Revista Clío América N.º 11, Universidad del Magdalena)


The ancient age saw the rise of travelers who moved solely for reasons of leisure or pleasure. These could be classified as the first tourists of humanity.

It is worth noting among these the Greek Herodotus, (495-425 BC), passionate about the stories of his time, so much that he set out to study them in depth and write his great work, which he called “Histories” (in Greek translates as “investigation”, “search”). To fulfill his purpose, he dedicated himself to traveling, collecting events that he witnessed and oral traditions. This is how he traveled the Aegean Sea: Athens, Thrace, Sparta, the provinces of what is now Turkey, Macedonia, Sicily, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, etc. That is why Herodotus is considered not only the first tourist in history, but also its father.

The Olympics also took place in Greece. These were the athletic games of the time, a mixture of athletics and religious ritual that were held every four years in the sanctuary of Zeus in the city of Olympia. In them, not only the athletes met, but a large wave of travelers who went to enjoy them and participate in religious celebrations.

The Romans, who absorbed all the cultures they dominated, borrowed from the Greeks a taste for health, religious and sports trips. The foregoing, with the fact that the empire was relatively easy and safe to navigate and, above all, powerful, in which a number of free citizens had significant wealth and free time, led to a new kind of travel: leisure travel. The coastal towns near Rome were filled with holiday villas, coliseums and theaters, and the city of Rome itself became a site of attraction for all the citizens of the empire, since, apart from power and possibilities, it offered entertainment of all kinds.

We have already covered 4,500 years of history. We went from archaic civilizations to developed and powerful empires. Our civilization seems to be making great strides, but history has some surprises in store for us. Empires that seem indestructible begin to collapse from within and the advances of peoples that until then were known as “Barbarians” would change the course of history. Rome: greatest empire that humanity has ever known is about to disappear; the world will be wrapped in the shadows of obscurantism

We will see this in the next article

Until next week!

Read part 3

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