Portrait of a Couple at Niagara Falls in Waterproof Clothing (1860s) Ambrotype by Henry Hollister, image via The Getty Museum

Tourism in the United States began some time after the European settlers arrived. They were too busy to take time to vacation.

However, in the early 1660s, Americans started traveling to spas and mineral springs for relaxation, with the goal of maintaining or improving their health.

Encouraging Acts

In the mid-1800s, the Bahamas and its government passed multiple acts that encouraged the promotion and infrastructure for tourist to come to the islands. Along with the Bahamas becoming a popular tourist destination, Niagara Falls became a notable hot spot for tourist.

The popularity of tourist spiked after the Civil War due to improved infrastructure such as railroads where it made people more mobile. Due to the time commitment and slow transportation time, it was still an activity for the elite, those that could afford to take time off of work, because a vacation meant an extended stay.


As one could guess, the basic form of tourism was practiced after World War II when more people, such as the middle-class, had access to automobiles and the luxury of paid time off benefits.

Today, only a third of American families will take a vacation, yet tourism revenues in the United States reached an all time high of $21,547,000 USD in May of 2018.

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