Over the Ages
All over history, the traveler (except for Bedouins and nomads) always was dependant on others to provide him food, water, & rest.
Referring back to our Arab, Islamic, and international history, we find that since the time man was forced to move from one place to another, he traveled great and far distances from the place of his residence making it difficult for him to return home the same day, so he was compelled to look for a place to provide him maximum safety and comfort to spend the night in.
It started with a permanent shelter for travelers to use it on their way back and forth. With the increase in population, the number of villages increased as well as the number of passengers, thus a shelter was established in every large village; then the number of cities increased, so each city then had a refuge on its entrance.
At first, the shelters were designed for sleeping only for passengers and their riding animals, and then they started providing additional services like food and drink paid or free of charge, sometimes by groups of charity and benevolence people especially for the service of pilgrims heading to or returning from Bait El Ruhman, they were called guests... That concept dominated the people of Mecca who were interested in the service of pilgrims from all Islamic countries for whom they set tents to stay in during their pilgrimage...
These shelters were called Khan in Farsi and Fondok in Arabic, a name which to this day means every place that welcomes people for sleep regardless of the types of additional services provided, and was commonly known as (Nazel)in the Arab Morocco.
Also, in the same period of European history, we find the same data, taking into account the difference in habits and ideologies..
The Mid Ages
The idea of hotels developed a little to include a spa, which had spread in North Africa like the countries of Tunisia, Andalusia, Iraq and Syria, one of which was Khan El Sultan established by Salah Eddine in that time.
Ibin Battuta recorded about hotels in his remarks during his visit of El Sindh and India and was mentioned in his book (a masterpiece in big cities oddity and travel wonders.)
This concept expanded into a larger and more comprehensive concept which is (tourism) for the multiplicity of purposes and reasons for travel and movement, and so we got to the new era of massive developments...
Development and its aftermath
After a boom in the world global economy which turned the traditional sources of wealth to be replaced by the services industry such as telecommunications, banking, information technology, as well as after the huge development in transportation (land, sea, and air) which facilitated the movement across the world, in addition to the development and adoption of the concept of the global village and what followed to facilitate travel and movement laws between the countries, all these data had the impact on travel services, where the hotel industry emerged and was transformed from simple rooms and tents to large buildings accommodating a huge number of travelers and spread widely all over the world and used modern technology in its construction and development in accordance with the increase in passengers in the world and the increase of their urgent requests for rest away from the psychological and social pressure, especially present in cities.
Special ministries were established for tourism in each country in the world, and many types of tourism existed.
So let us identify the types of tourism, particularly in Saudi Arabia and how it influenced the classification of hotels:
Tourism can be defined as: the activity of travel, and the provision of services relating to this activity. The tourist is a person who moves to the purpose of tourism for a distance of at least eighty miles from his home according to the definition of the World Tourism Organization (affiliated to the United Nations). It is noteworthy that in the twenty-seventh of September 1970, the establishment of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) was announced, where this day was chosen as the International Tourism Day after the General Authority of the International Air Transport Association, known as (IATA), agreed on the basic regulation of the organization.
Types of tourism
Is to travel from one state to another or to move within a particular state to visit the holy places of worship because it is a tourism related to the spiritual side of man and is a combination of religious and cultural meditation; this tourism is found in the both (Mekka and Madina).
Also called People's tourism or holiday tourism, and the reason behind the presence of this type, is that during the old days tourism was limited to the wealthy classes only. Following the international evolution which forced the change in everything around us, the change in tourism was a natural result to convoy the international developments and innovations taking place in the world, so as to include tourism or involve classes that represent the vast majority of communities with limited opportunities and prepare tours for these classes. This type of tourism is found in the (major cities of the Kingdom such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam as well as the cities that are characterized by mild climate in summer like Taif and Baha); it is active most often in furnished apartments which are considered fairly cheap compared to hotels.
Racings and festivals Tourism:
It applies to cars and motorcycles racings and folk-festivals.. Like camel racing which is considered a pure Bedouin sport and witnessed a massive number of participants and tourists, such as camel racings and Janadriyah Festival held in Riyadh, and motor racing on the sand in the region of Hail.
Is also a modern tourism for the purpose of shopping and the purchase of products of a country making sale to attract tourists such as the Tourism and Shopping Festival in Jeddah.
This tourism is found in the countries that have major environmental attraction sites like attractive coastal shores or desert or forests. The Kingdom is distinguished for its soft sand shores and clear water, especially to the Red Sea side, and the vast pure desert, such as Aldhina and the Empty Quarter deserts.
It can be defined as the "economic activity, which works on the movement of people from one place to another for a period of time not less than 24 hours, and doesn't reach permanent residence" and is based on the economic conferences and exhibitions. The focus area of this tourism is in Riyadh, Jeddah and less at Dammam.
We note that the concept of tourism and hotels will expand more and more to meet the lifestyle and aspirations of humanity which the future generations will ask for in work and rest..
All of this indicates optimism in the promised future of tourism in Saudi Arabia, which has a unique evolution atmospheres and the prosperous development leaning on a wonderful sea and vast desert, a green mountains and hospitable educated people and the huge economy...