Decoding Travel Jargon: From Bleisure to Rubbish Tourism
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Sunday, 12th May 2024

Author and travel writer Paul Theroux had a very simple way of describing people who travel; He divided them into tourist and traveller, saying, 'Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going'.

Of course, he said this, way before social media turned travel into a mass team sport. But I do wonder what the scribe, who by the way has just published a new book “Burma Sahib”, would think of the many jargons we in the travel industry have come up with in recent years to describe all the different types of people who travel.

A recent article, titled “Travel Jargon Explained: A Guide to Common Travel Trends and Terms”, lists 33 industry jargons to describe the 1.3 billion of us who travelled in 2023 – the number is according to Statista.

One of the most common terms is “bleisure” which, if I am honest, I have been doing all my life. Imagine how dreadfully dull life would be if it was all business when one goes abroad. My best travel experiences have been around business and events – if I am honest (again), business and events are merely an excuse for me to go on holiday. I mean, why do you think Web in Travel launched in Africa?

And I’d bet that even the most conscientious, hardworking business executives must have lots of pleasurable moments on their trips – in which case, we could add a new term, “b-pleasure”.

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