History of the GITT Travels

History of the GITT Travels

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Human beings have been moving around the world practically since the beginning of their existence. The instinct of homo sapiens has always led us to explore and colonize different territories, thus giving rise to the cities, states and countries in which we now live.

Ancient Age: wars and emissaries.

But we cannot begin to use the term diplomacy, in the strict sense of the word, until the Greco-Persian Wars (492 B.C. - 478 B.C.) of Classical Greece. This conflict, which pitted the Greek polis against the Achaemenid Empire, forced the cities of Athens and Sparta to come to an understanding, forming the so-called Hellenic League, through a diplomatic framework unprecedented to date. In this context, the Hellenic League sent political emissaries to negotiate with Xerxes, king of the Achaemenid Empire, with the aim of avoiding or ending the conflict. Although the negotiations were unsuccessful, they were the germ of what would later become diplomatic missions. To be generous, we could mark the context of the Greco-Persian Wars as the beginning of governmental and institutional travel.

Expansion across territories and the establishment of Hellenic culture as a model, especially after the death of Alexander the Great, led to the emergence of multiple states that shared political and economic interests. Consequently, the Romans began to make use of ambassadors or representatives, to parley with tribes such as the Sabines and the Etruscans. Later, they would extend and professionalize this activity during the Gallic War and in the province of Judea.

However, during Antiquity, governmental travel, and diplomacy in general, was characterized by improvisation. There was no official figure of an ambassador and no concept of governmental travel as such. Roman emperors used to visit the different provinces of the Empire, as well as other territories, to reach agreements with local elites. This type of travel had no organization or rules to regulate its operation, however, we can detect in them the primitive origin of the Governmental and Institutional Travel.

The Medieval Period: consolidation of diplomacy.

 But it was in the Medieval Period when diplomacy began to take shape, with the Holy See being the pioneer in this respect, sending temporary diplomatic missions to kingdoms with the aim of resolving their spiritual and territorial differences. These trips began to happen frequently and brought together, in neutral territories, international leaders.

Later, important milestones, such as the discovery of new trade routes, led to the emergence of great figures such as Zheng He and Marco Polo. The first one, the Chinese admiral Zheng He, made a multitude of trips for diplomatic purposes. He was in the service of Emperor Yongle, whose interests were focused on regions such as Tibet, Nepal, Tamerlane, Japan and Siam. In this sense, the trips made by Zheng He, in addition to exploration, had a marked institutional character, as he traveled on behalf of the Empire.

The age of great discoveries.

The configuration of the Modern States gave rise to the figure of the ambassador to deal with the political-economic situation of the States. This period was characterized by new territorial discoveries, as well as by the appearance of new countries and the consequent decline of the traditional empires. But it was not until the 18th century that the number of governmental trips increased exponentially, due to the Industrial Revolution (1760-1820), as trade between the different States began to proliferate, thus intensifying relations between States.

However, it was not until Ulysses S. Grant's term as President of the United States that Governmental Travel was established as we conceive it today. It was Grant who took this denomination further, extending it also to the leisure trips he made as president, but outside the exercise of his functions, in which he met not only with the leaders of the countries he visited, but also with the local elites and businessmen.

The century of two world wars.

The twentieth century was decisive for GITT travels, due to the numerous historical and political events that took place during it, such as the world wars, the expansion of the means of communication and the important technological development. For these reasons, and especially after the Second World War, relations between the different countries began to be constant and specialized, and diplomacy extended to practically all the government bodies and institutions of the countries.

The numerous alliances and organizations that emerged created, indirectly, a modus operandi that marked the nature of the GITT trips. It was no longer just a matter of bilateral diplomatic trips; a series of objectives related to the environment, human rights or the economic growth of the least developed countries began to be proposed. The nerve center was decentralized, especially following the decolonization of Africa and Asia, which led to the emergence of a multitude of countries that had to organize their administrative structure to all intents and purposes.


The phenomenon of globalization is undoubtedly the real triumph of International Relations, of the precepts established by the United Nations Organization (UNO) and, therefore, of governmental and institutional travel. In this sense, the governments of the different countries of the world have been "forced" to understand each other through the various forums in which their leaders and international representatives participate.

This precept has led to the need for constant governmental and institutional travel, which, at first, has not been treated as it should be. This is due, in part, to the novelty, in historical terms, of the concept of governmental travel. It is true that this type of travel has always existed, however, we would have to wait until the second half of the twentieth century to observe the evolution of what we know today as GITT Travel.

In this sense, the need to standardize this type of trips has been fundamental to understand how they work and why they are made. Segregating them from ordinary tourist trips has meant a great advance in their management, since in a globalized world, this type of trips are carried out with assiduity, being one of the cornerstones of international relations.






1HERÓDOTO. Historia, VII. p. 205.

2CARTLEDGE, P. Termópilas: La batalla que cambió el mundo. Ariel, Barcelona, 2010. p. 174.

3MORA IGLESIAS, E. La diplomacia romana durante el patriciado (509-367 a.C.), Káñina 37. UCR, San José, 2013. pp. 289-291.

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