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GETTING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK



Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Africans first realised that tourism might be a way out of poverty, they built big concrete hotels on the beaches of Kenya, South Africa and other countries. For some time numerous charter flights came from Germany and Italy. Tourists hoping to see lions in nature reserves - but also expecting to enjoy the comforts of home - packed into overcrowded resorts that were trying to look like the Mediterranean.

That was then. Fortunately, a new kind of travel is in fashion now. Today's tourists are leaving the European-style hotels for more authentic experiences, like horseback-riding through the bush. Sitting by the fire at night after a typical dinner of meat stew, pumpkin leaves and wild spinach, they listen to the local Xhosa people telling folk stories. This experience is not offered by a multinational tour operator but by the Xhosa themselves, through a small, locally run firm called Amadiba Adventures. The money they earn will provide the Xhosa tour guides with an income two and a half times the average local wage.

In many ways, this off-the-beaten-track holiday represents the future of global tourism. Despite difficulties, international and domestic tourism is expected to grow fast over the next two decades. While a global recession and the terrorist attacks of 9/ 11 pushed down tourist numbers in 2001 for the first time since 1982, the impact was less than many had expected. Longerterm trends, including a rise in global wealth, improving transport technology, cheaper flights and the use of the Internet as a travel tool, will make it possible for more people around the world to travel than ever before. Last year there were 693 million international tourist arrivals. The World Tourism Organisation expects that number to increase to more than 1billion by 2010. Tomorrow's tourists will come from new places; the number of Asian, and particularly Chinese, tourists is predicted to explode as that region becomes more integrated into the global economy.

Future tourists will also want to do different things. While sun-and-sea tourism still dominates, overcrowding and time pressures mean that the standard two-week beach holiday is becoming less popular. Rather than spending two weeks on a beach, Americans and Europeans are now taking shorter but more varied trips, causing the rapid development of adventure travel, ecotourism, cultural tours, spa holidays, cruises and sports vacations in ever more distant places: China, the Maldives, Botswana. Western travellers who have 'been there and done that' choose more exotic, individualised experiences. Local governments and firms are trying hard to satisfy this new demand, which offers them the opportunity to make huge profits from tourism.

 

1. Hotels built in Africa in the 1980s and early 1990s were totally different from European hotels. T/F

2. Twenty years ago, tourists from Europe, while on holiday in Africa, expected the same conditions they were used to in their own countries. T/ F

3. There are no African agencies providing services to European tourists. T/F

4. African tour guides earn less than people doing other jobs. T/ F

5. According to expectations, the tourist industry is facing a serious crisis in the near future. T/F

6. The number of tourists from China is expected to grow fast. T/ F

7. Sunbathing at the seaside is still the most popular form of holiday. T/ F

8. There is little chance that new types of holidays, like adventure travel or cultural tours, will be offered in African countries. T/F

 

Oxford Exam Excellence стр. 108-109

 





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