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TEXT A. What Is Tourism?


Task: read the text and do the tasks that follow.

Wealthy people have always travelled to distant parts of the world to see great buildings or other works of art; to learn new languages; to experience new cultures or to taste different cuisines.

The terms “tourism” and “tourist” were first used as official terms in 1937 by the League of Nations. Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for personal or business/professional purposes, and the provision of services for this act. A tourist is someone who travels at least eighty kilometres (fifty miles) from home for leisure, business and other purposes, stays for more than one night and less than a year in a certain place, as defined by the World Tourism Organization (a United Nations body).

A more comprehensive definition would be that tourism is a service industry, comprising a number of tangible and intangible components. The tangible elements include transport systems – air, rail, road, water and now, space; hospitality services – accommodation, food and beverages, tours, souvenirs; and related services such as banking, insurance and safety & security. The intangible elements include: rest and relaxation, culture, escape, adventure, new and different experiences. As an industry, tourism specializes in attracting and transporting tourists, accommodating them, and catering for their needs and wants.

Sometimes “tourism” and “travel” are used interchangeably. In this context “travel” has a similar definition to “tourism”, but implies a more purposeful journey.

Tourism is something that most of us have been exposed to – either as tourists ourselves or as people impacted by tourist activity in our local areas. Depending on our personal experience, we may view tourism as a positive, or as a negative, force in our lives. But tourism is an important and growing industry worldwide. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) claims that tourism is currently the world’s largest industry with annual revenues of over $3 trillion dollars. It is a dynamic, evolving, consumer-driven force. Growing so rapidly, tourism presents both tremendous opportunities and challenges. Although a mature industry, tourism is a young profession. The good news is the variety of exciting career prospects for today’s hospitality and tourism graduates.

Tourism is a leading producer for tax revenues. Many sovereignties, along with their respective countries and states, depend heavily upon travel expenditures by foreigners as a source of taxation and income for the enterprises that sell (export) services to these travellers. Consequently the development of tourism is often a strategy employed either by a non-governmental organization (NGO) or a governmental agency to promote a particular region for the purpose of increasing commerce through exporting goods and services to non-locals.

Nowadays more and more people and governments are interested in developing tourism that is environmentally friendly, beneficial to local people and national governments, and culturally sensitive.

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