EXERCISE 2 Read the text, understand its contents and give a short review of this text
A wide variety of accommodations is available to the modern tourist. They vary from the guest house or tourist home with one or two rooms to grand luxury hotels with hundreds of rooms.
Before the age of railroads, travellers stayed at inns in the country or in small hotels — most of them family-owned — in the towns and cities. The first big hotels with hundreds of rooms were built in the vicinity of railroad terminals to serve the flood of new passengers. These new hotels were more impersonal than the old-fashioned family-style inn or hotel.
A feature of Europe is the pension, a small establishment with perhaps ten to twenty guest rooms. Originally, pensions offered not only lodging but also full board, all of the day's meals for the guest. Nowadays, however, most of them offer only a bed, usually at an inexpensive rate, and a "continental breakfast" of coffee and rolls.
Many people travel to Europe because of its rich historical and cultural heritage. As a result, many old homes and castles have been converted into small hotels. Many old inns have also been restored to serve people with similar romantic tastes. The major trend in the hotel industry today, however, is toward the large corporate-operated hotel. Many of these hotels might be described as "packaged."
Some of the hotel corporations operate on a franchise basis; that is, the hotel and its operation are designed by the corporation, but the right to run it is sold or leased. The operator then pays a percentage to the parent corporation. His franchise can be withdrawn, however, if he does not maintain the standards that have been established. Large, modern hotels contain not only guest rooms, but many other facilities as well. They usually contain restaurants and cocktail lounges, shops and recreational facilities .such as swimming pools or health clubs. Many hotels also have facilities for social functions, conventions and conferences — bathrooms, auditoriums, meeting rooms of different sizes, exhibit areas and the like.
Nowadays, convention facilities are very often included in resort hotels so that people who attend conventions there can combine business with pleasure.
Another development in the hotel business is the motel, a word made up from "motor" and "hotel." The motel might be described as a place that has accommodations both for automobiles and people. The typical motel is a low structure around which is built a parking lot to enable the guests to park their cars as close as possible to their rooms.
Another trend in resort accommodations is condominium constructions. The condominium is a building or group of buildings in which individuals purchase separate units. At the same time they become joint owners of the public facilities of the structure and its grounds and recreational areas. The condominium has become popular because of the desire of many people to own a second home for holidays.
Caravanning and camping reflect another trend in modern tourism, thanks to the automobile. Cars variously called caravans, vans or campers come equipped with sleeping quarters and even stores and refrigerators. They are in effect small mobile homes, or at least hotel rooms. Many people also carry tents and other equipment with which they can set up a temporary home. Facilities are now offered in many resort areas for camping. The operator may rent only space, but he may also provide electricity and telephone service.
A similar kind of arrangement exists for boat owners who wish to use their boats for accommodation while they are travelling in them. This involves the marina, a common feature of resort areas on waterways.
The hotel business has its own load factor in the form of the occupancy rate. This is the percentage of rooms or beds that are occupied at a certain point in time or over a period of time. One of the main problems of the hotel business is a high occupancy rate during one season and a very low one during another.
Catering, providing food and drink for guests, has always gone together with accommodations. Food services are a feature of hotels. The typical modern "packaged hotel" includes a restaurant, a cafe shop for quicker and less expensive meals, and a bar or cocktail lounge. Many larger hotels have several restaurants, often featuring different kinds of foods, as well as different prices. Hotels also normally provide room service — food and drink that are brought to the guest's room. In addition, catering service is usually provided in the hotel's recreational areas. The poolside bar and snack bar for quick food are normal part of the service at a resort hotel.
Restaurants, bars and nightclubs outside the hotels are a standard feature of the resort scene. Indeed, many resorts could not really operate without them. They provide not only catering, but also some kind of entertainment for the tourist who is bored with the limits of hotel life.
Food, in fact, may be one of the reasons why people travel. Many people go out of their way to visit France, for example, because of the gourmet meals that are served there. Similarly, the excellent restaurants of Hong Kong constitute one of its principal tourist attractions. It should also be pointed out that many grocery stores, delicatessens, and liquor stores make money from tourism.
The accommodations and catering service industries employ large numbers of people. At a luxury hotel, there may be as many as two or three employees for every guest room. At a large commercial hotel, there are usually about eight employees for every ten guest rooms. This intensive use of labour is one of the reasons why tourism is so attractive to developing countries. Furthermore, many of the hotel and restaurant jobs are semiskilled work, so only a small amount of training is necessary to fill them.
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