The term “visit” defines one aspect of the practice of tourism in a given place: a tourist might spend a moment or two, a few hours or a whole day somewhere, but then leaves to spend the night elsewhere i.e. they do not stay overnight in the place they visited.

Visits are a important way of enjoying tourist attractions. Time spent by tourists in all tourist areas can be divided into these two categories (visiting or staying) with the respective proportions depending on the type of place. Accordingly, tourist sites are by definition “visited” (rather than “stayed in”) because their reception capacity is very low compared to the volume of tourists they receive.

In resorts and cities alike, stays and visits add up. Tourists are qualified as “visiting” when on a particular stage of a tour, when in fact, they are staying in a tourist region, but this attendance is not considered globally. In comptoirs (enclosed tourist areas created by and for tourism, controlled by a single actor), stays are the dominant form of attendance: you can visit a marina or a theme park but stay in a holiday village or resort. However, it is also possible to visit a comptoir as long as accommodation is not located there, as is frequently the case in comptoirs established around tourist facilities, such as sites defined as natural areas, but whose selection and boundaries are in fact socially constructed.