Romance Tourism vs Sex Tourism

Romance Tourism vs Sex Tourism


You’ve definitely heard about romance tourism at least once in your life, but you’ve heard about sex tourism more often. If you type sex tourism in Google’s search field, you’ll get over seven million results, which will include sex tourism guide and the lists of best places for sex tourism. If you type romance tourism, you’ll get over forty million results. How come that you’ve heard about romance tourism less than about sex tourism, then? Funny, but about 95% of those forty million search results will be about sex tourism. And you know why? Because we live in men’s world! What’s the connection? To get the answer, we need to learn what is sex tourism and what is romance tourism, as well as how much they have in common.


What is Romance Tourism? (definitions from


The term romance tourism has first surfaced in 1995, in the book about tourism by Suzanne LaFont and Deborah J. Pruitt. The term describes a romantic relationship between female tourists from well-developed countries and developing countries’ local men. This kind of relationships, although involves sex, is based on emotions and romance. Neither tourists nor local men regard their relationship as prostitution. Some men consider romance tourism as a romantic entrepreneurship, as they regard female tourists as a way to make a living and secure their future. Thus it can be considered prostitution, albeit no one calls it like that.


What is Sex Tourism?


As we’ve said before, type sex tourism in the search field, and you will get the list of top sex tourism destinations. So, how much sex tourism differs from romance tourism? Sex tourism does involve prostitution! Basically, sex tourism is male tourists who travel to a foreign country to have sex with local prostitutes. The World Tourism defines sex tourism as “trips organized from within the tourism sector, or outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with the residents at the destination”. So, sex tourism not only can be considered prostitution but is considered as such.


How Much They Have in Common?


Sex tourism and romance tourism differ greatly in terms of their purposes, the former’s main purpose is having sex, while latter’s main purpose is having romantic relationships with local men. Sex tourism involves male tourists and local female prostitutes, while romance tourism involves female tourists and local men that are not regarded as prostitutes.


Is There Female Sex Tourism?


Of course, we can dwell on theories that women can’t have sex without emotional involvement. We can also say that men are more straight-forward in their sexual desire. But is there such a thing as female sex tourism, or it is an exclusively male sector? We’ve already mentioned that some local men date female tourists in order to get money out of it, but that cannot be considered prostitution per se. But do women travel exactly to have sex with the locals? It turns out that a lot of women travel for sex with local men, sometimes developing short-living romantic relationships with them. So, there are female sex tourists as well, most of them are just less straight-forward about it than their male counterparts.


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