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TEXT B. From the History of Tourism


Task: read the text and focus on its main points.

People started travelling long ago. But tourism had to wait for the civilization of ancient Greece before it really got moving. The Olympic Games of 776 BC were the first international tourist event, with people travelling from many countries to watch and take part.

A tourist industry soon sprang up to cater for the Romans’ travel and accommodation needs, and for a while it thrived. But when the Roman Empire collapsed, Roman tourism ended.

During the medieval era, however, tourism appeared again thanks to a growing interest in pilgrimages. From records such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, it’s evident that many pilgrims were keen to relax and enjoy themselves as well as visit a holy shrine.

But it was two other factors hundreds of years later that encouraged the start of more widespread and regular tourism: health and culture. Those who could afford to do so began to visit the spa and seaside towns of eighteenth century Europe to benefit from the spring waters and fresh air. Others, most notably the British aristocracy, set out on their Grand Tours to countries such as Italy with the intention of studying paintings, sculptures and architecture, and visiting historical sites.

But it was developments in transport that really opened up the tourist industry. First there were stagecoaches and coaching inns. Then came steam, and suddenly the world was a smaller place. No sooner had the first railways been built in the 1830s than enterprising men like Thomas Cook in England began to exploit their potential by selling organized tours.

With excursions across continental Europe, the building of hotels and resorts to cater for the tastes of the pleasure seekers, and the introduction of hotel vouchers and traveller's cheques, the tourist industry in its modern form was born. By the end of the 19th century the middle classes had joined the tourist classes, and mass tourism was a reality.

Soon after the end of the Second World War, paid holidays became normal in Britain and many other countries. People now had more disposable income to spend on leisure time, and travel and tourism were available to the many rather than the elite few.

In recent decades things have only got better for the tourist: faster and cheaper travel options, a wider range of suitable accommodation, more time and money to spend on their holidays. Tourism has come a long way from its distant, humble beginnings. So when you're next wandering along a sun-kissed foreign beach, sipping your cocktail, gazing at the sunset, and trying to forget your worldly cares, remember – you may be treading in the footprints of a 19th-century adventurer, a gentleman on his Grand Tour, a pilgrim or a crusader, or even a Roman soldier or an ancient Greek!


When did tourism begin?

Who were the first tourists?

What were the main periods in the development of tourism?

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