Tourism and Trade

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Trade is one way to generate income for your empire. Trade occurs by creating trade routes between two planets.

Creating a trade route

To create a trade route, you must have a cargo ship and an available trade license. The cargo ship must travel to a planet controlled by another major or minor race. Once the trade route is established between the two planets, both planets are granted trade income each turn.

Cargo modules can be built once Xeno Commerce has been researched. This allows you to build trade ships. You can also obtain a free trade ship (and one free trade license) from the Pragmatic Ideology tree.

Trade income

The trade income from each individual trade route can be viewed by going to the Govern Civilization screen and viewing the Trade tab. Trade routes that you have established will be listed on the top half of this screen, and trade routes initially created by another race will be listed on the bottom half of this screen.

Calculating the value of a trade route

The amount of income generated by a trade route varies based on multiple factors.

First the base value of the trade route is determined utilizing:

  • The value of the planets which have the trade route (including luxury trade routes from pragmatic ideology), which is calculated as the sum of the population of the 2 planets that are trading.
  • The distance between the two trading planets.
  • The age of the trade route. Age increases with time.

After that, several multipliers are applied:

  • The overall trade bonus of your empire (race traits, technology, ideology - pragmatic 3rd row, trade resources).
  • The buildings on your trade planet like Trade Capital (100% boost) or Trade Outpost.
  • The boosts from starbases, which affects planets that are in the zone of control with trade routes.


Tourism is a feature of Galactic Civilizations III's economic model, which passively provides wealth to an empire every turn based on their cultural accomplishments.

Basic Features

Tourism is a method of earning wealth; it is an important source of income to keep your economy afloat. The idea is that factions earn tourism money by being attractive places for visitors who spend their credits locally.

Unlocking Tourism

Tourism becomes available when you unlock the Tourism technology (through research or trade). Once you have the technology, you immediately begin earning credits; you do not have construct any special buildings. The Tourism technology Interstellar Tourism, is found in the technology tree in the communications->commerce branch and can be reached during the Age of Expansion. Since income is at a premium early in the game, researching tourism should be a priority.

Tourism Amount

The amount a faction receives depends on what fraction of the galaxy that faction controls. Thus, in a large galaxy with many opponents the initial return will be smaller than in a small galaxy with few opponents. As you expand to control more of the galaxy, your capacity for tourism income will increase.

The contribution tourism makes to your income depends on the number of tiles (also called hexes or parsecs) within your zone of influence (ZOI). If you can follow a path from any given tile to your capital planet where all tiles in that path are within your ZOI, then that tile is considered "connected" to your capital. A planet's contribution to your tourism income is then a percentage (determined by improvements such as the Port of Call) multiplied by the sum of the number of tiles connected to your capital plus the total number of tiles in your ZOI. Each connected tile thus counts twice, making it important to expand your capital's influence through improvements such as the Consulate. Once a planet starts generating tourism, if you mouse over the Tourism Income line in the planet window you'll see a tooltip that shows the number of parsecs controlled and connected, and the income calculation.

Increasing Tourism

Tourism can be increased by constructing certain buildings. For example, once Tourism is researched, the Port of Call building is unlocked. Like all colony improvements, this building can be placed on planetary bonus tiles that increase tourism to achieve larger benefits, and can also benefit from adjacency bonuses. As you move deeper into the research tree, more buildings that give additional tourism bonuses become available.

Advantages of Tourism

Tourism has some different advantages for earning credits compared to trade. It doesn’t require the building of freighters and the necessity of sailing long distances and it is not subject to diplomatic issues. For example, if you don’t have an open borders arrangement, sailing a freighter through another faction's territory -- which is necessary to connect a trade route -- will involve a diplomatic problem with that faction. Also, unescorted and defenseless freighters are subject to pirate attacks. However, remember that you earn a diplomacy bonus for connected trade routes, which you cannot get through tourism. This should all factor into your strategy. Tourism is an important source of income and should not be neglected. Gaining the tourism technology can often be a significant turning point at which your empire can more easily balance its budget, especially after a prolonged period of running "in the red" early in the game.