EXERCISE 4 Read the text and understand its contents
Major tourist attractions include large cities like London, Moscow, Paris, New York; seashore areas in warm climates like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean; and ski resorts like those in Switzerland.
Actually, any place can become a tourist destination as long as it is different from the place where the traveller usually lives. Paris may not be a tourist attraction to a Parisian, but for a New Yorker it may have many charms. People travel for various reasons, and there are numerous attractions that appeal to a wide variety of tastes.
In addition to being major business centers, the large cities offer attractions and entertainment for all kinds of people.
Cultural events occur frequently, including theatrical and opera performances, concerts, ballet, art exhibitions, to name a few.
There is also a wide selection of restaurants and a great variety of night life in urban centers. Shopping is an attraction for many visitors, whether in the great department stores of New York and Tokyo or in the boutiques of Paris and London.
The big cities also offer a unique atmosphere and history. One of the advantages of the big cities is their ability to absorb large numbers of tourists. These cities have an existing infrastructure that is capable of caring for the needs of millions of people; and many of the attractions that tourists visit have been developed primarily for the benefit of the inhabitants. Therefore, tourism is an economic plus for many big cities because it increases income from existing facilities, both public and private.
The large cities of course do not have a monopoly on architectural or historical monuments. Smaller towns and rural areas throughout the world have attractions of this kind that tourists visit.
One excellent example is Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas in Peru, which is a remote and difficult to reach area.
The ruins of Machu Picchu, a tourist attraction that has become accessible because of modern means of transportation, are visited by more and more tourists every year.
Natural scenery is also an attraction for tourists. Millions of people have visited wild areas in Africa, Middle East, Nepal and other places where they can see the wonders of nature.
Holiday resorts usually attract tourists because of their sunny beaches, their snow-covered ski-slopes, or their golf courses. In addition, they frequently offer other kinds of entertainment to their guests. At the ski resorts, it is often an atmosphere of informality, at a cosmopolitan resort like Miami Beach; it may be night clubs and stage shows. In San Juan, in addition to legal gambling, there are historical sites in the old city or tropical rain forests only a few miles away. Many of the resorts give instruction in scuba diving combined with visits to coral reefs. And of course most of them have a variety of stores and souvenir shops.
Shopping has been made a tourist magnet by government policy in some countries. Handicrafts appeal to touring shoppers in many places, where the souvenir shop that sells this kind of merchandise is as much a feature of most tourist areas as the hotel. Most people who visit these countries take home at least one sample of the local handicraft.
A cruise ship is a floating hotel, one which the passengers cannot leave outside a port. Most cruises therefore try to keep up a party atmosphere throughout the voyage, with games, dancing, costume parties, gambling and whatever other activities can be devised within a rather limited space. Entertainers are often hired for the entire trip, and they are often hit-name performers.
Throughout history, markets have given performers a chance to entertain. Many people have gone to trade fairs as much for amusement as for buying and selling. Dating from the crystal Palace in London in 1812, many countries exhibit their products at big world's fairs in the midst of a sort of carnival atmosphere. Another modern development is the amusement park, a carnival with a variety of games, thrill rides, magic shows, and other kinds of entertainment.
A recent development is the theme park, an amusement park that is designed around a unifying concept. The two huge Disney enterprises, Disneyland in California and Disney world in Florida, are the most successful examples of this kind of created tourist attraction. From a commercial point of view, they have the enormous advantage as they are designed to appeal to entire family groups rather than to any particular age level.
Many tourists don't want to be identified as tourists. These independent travellers try to visit the attractions they want to see on their own rather than a member of a tour group.
The majority of tourists, however, travel in groups, with their entertainment and sightseeing included in the package. Many tour groups are formed around some kind of special purpose, such as eating a series of meals at the leading gourmet restaurants in France.
The tours that are put together for resort holidays rather than special groups often offer some entertainment or sightseeing in the package.
The sightseeing business is another part of the tourist industry that has grown rapidly in recent years. It includes selecting the sights that would appeal to tourists and then providing transportation, meals, and opportunities for shopping.
Some of the tours are part of the total travel service that is offered by such companies as Thomas Cook and American Express. A good deal of the excursion business, however, involves local enterprises whose services are sold through representatives in the tourist hotels or travel agents in the area. A large number of sightseeing trips are part-day or one-day excursions to local points of interest. A guide has a prepared talk during which' he gives information about the sights that will be visited, but he must also be able to answer questions and to deal with the human problems that may arise. If the tour occupies a full day, meals are prearranged at a hotel or restaurant.
A few tourists do not want to travel in groups. Instead, they prefer the comfort of a guide to show them around and make arrangements for them. For a price, these services are available in many tourist centers. This might be described as a personalized tour for those who can afford it. As with group excursions or tours, arrangements can ordinarily be made through the visitor's hotel or by a local travel agent.
Familiarity and boredom are the enemies of tourism. Surveys show that people who spend two weeks at a resort are generally more satisfied with their holiday than those who remain three weeks or more. This means that the entire range of amusement and entertainment available is an important factor in keeping the customers satisfied. The more variety is offered to tourists, the more pleased they are likely to be.
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