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The source areas of tourism are primarily the highly developed countries in Western, Northern and Central Europe, but increasingly also some dynamically developing countries in Eastern Europe. The target areas are primarily the coasts, especially those of the Mediterranean countries and islands, for example the Balearic Islands. Important factors there are the warm, sunny climate, the beaches, the varied coastal areas, the accessibility and the equipment of the facilities. Other focal points of tourism are the high mountains and some large cities, which attract visitors with their historical cityscape or cultural offerings, for example. Some of these areas are among the most visited tourist destinations on earth.

The development of places of bathing tourism occurred first on the French and Italian Riviera as well as in Istria from the middle of the 18th century. Until the First World War, the Gulf of Naples with Capri and Ischia also became a tourist region, especially for the upper class.

From the mid-1950s, the “urge to the sunny south” began on a broad basis. The main goals were the wide sandy beaches of the Mediterranean coast. Destination areas further away from the source areas, such as the Costa del Sol or Sicily, could only be reached cost-effectively with the expansion of air traffic. The contrast between coastal areas with their modern tourist infrastructure, but also the resulting impact on the environment and society, and the coastal hinterland, which is often little influenced, is considerable to this day.

After 1960 the southern French Mediterranean coast, the Balearic Islands, the Algarve, the Spanish and Tunisian Mediterranean coasts as well as the Romanian and Bulgarian Black Sea coasts were increasingly opened up for tourism. At the end of the 20th century, the Turkish Mediterranean coast followed, mainly around Antalya, and the Moroccan Atlantic coast, especially near Agadir. Today it can be observed in many regions how the tourist infrastructure of the first generation of tourism is being replaced or modernized on a large scale in order to meet changing needs. For more information about the continent of Europe, please check