As the middle classes emerged in western industrialised societies, so too did the tourist industry, driven by classes of people who could afford a little leisure time to travel, to briefly escape their everyday habits, and to indulge their curiosity for sensations, sights and spectacles. The circus and the zoo are examples of such attractions. Historically, they share many similarities and have tended to reinforce the rhetoric of colonialsim. Popular entertainments such as performing animal shows have persisted well into the 21st century and looking at animals has remained a central pastime within contemporary leisure and tourism activities. Such popularity began to decline during the 20th century however, partly as a result of ethical concerns. Yet while the the circus has changed, performing animals have retained a high profile in different contexts.
A World of Popular Entertainments: An Edited Volume of Critical Essays p. 103-117