The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 332
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332 Southwestern Hzstoncal Quarterly January
and recreation converge in his story. Surrounding Bedichek's ordinary
experience on the beach is an extraordinary, complex history.
Because of economic significance, tourism--travel by people for the
purpose of pleasure-has become a current subject of interest to cities,
states, and nations. The tourist trade is the second largest private em-
ployer in the nation and is listed in the top three industries of thirty-sev-
en states.2 In Texas travelers spent $22.9 billion in 1993, and the
second-ranked tourist industry employed 422,000 people. Sixty-six per-
cent of all travel was for leisure purposes according to the Texas Depart-
ment of Commerce. When first noticed in 1950 nine million travelers
without much advertising encouragement spent an estimated $713 mil-
lion in Texas, and tourism surprisingly emerged as Texas's fifth largest
industry. The Texas Business Review recognized the phenomenon in 1952
as a "benign sort of revolution" wherein almost every American had be-
come a tourist. Although the state constitution prohibited the use of
public funds for "bringing immigrants to Texas" the Texas Highway De-
partment provided travel advice and in 1957 it operated seven informa-
tion offices.4 This marked the beginning of the state's recognition of the
economic importance of tourists.5
Historians in Texas and elsewhere, nonetheless, have generally ig-
nored the phenomenon of tourism and recreation history.6 "Travel, dis-
paraged as unauthentic, the tourist depreciated as superficial, and his
'Robert W. McIntosh and Charles R. Goeldner, Tourism: Principles, Practices, Philosophies (New
York: Wiley, 1990), 20. New York Tmes, Sept. 5, 1994. Because people often combine business
and pleasure travel it is difficult to determine the exact amount of money, time, or employment
involved in tourism. The economic impact of tourist visits, nationally, is currently calculated at
$125 per day with an average stay of 3.5 days.
3Texas Department of Commerce, "Texas Travel Facts" (brochure),Jan., 1995.
4Fletcher H. Etheridge, Texas Business Review, XXVI (Apr., 1952), 17; James H. Keahey,
"Tourism in Texas," Texas Business Review, XXXI (Mar., 1957), 3. See also Tommie Pinkard,
"Fun in the Friendship State," Texas Highways, XXV (Feb., 1978), 16, 17 (quotation), 18-25.
s The highway department established information booths at principal entry points to the
state for the 1936 Centennial at Dallas. The booths were continued as a service to travelers after
this time. See "Tourism" in Ron Tyler et al. (eds.), New Handbook of Texas (6 vols.; Austin: Texas
State Historical Association, 1996), VI, 535
"In this article I treat tourism as an aspect of recreation history, which is the study of how peo-
ple have used their leisure time. By and large recreation is an ignored part of social history, al-
though in 1987 the Journal of American History began to include a sports and recreation
subdivision in its bibliography section. Foster Rhea Dulles, History of Recreation: America Learns to
Play (1940; reprint, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1965) and Gary Cross, A Social History of
Leisure Since I6oo (State College, Pa.: Venture, 199o) are the best general sources for recreation
history at the moment. The major bibliographies of Texas, A Guide to the Hstory of Texas (New
York: Greenwood Press, 1988) by Light T. Cummins and Alvin R. Bailey Jr. and Basic Texas Books
(Austin: Jenkins Publishing Co., 1983) by John H. Jenkins, list nothing on the subject. Scattered
books, articles, and theses about music, theater, sports, parks, prostitution, and ethnic festivals in
Texas are available, however. In 1970, for example, John A. Edwards produced a master's thesis
at East Texas State University entitled "Leisure Activities of Texans During Reconstruction,
1865-1874." Thus, there exists an unorganized, incomplete, and unrecognized collection of
writings about recreation history in Texas.
. 1" . ' . 1
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/m1/398/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.