ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 109 | Reading Examination | Tourism: A Double-Edged Sword

Welcome to another reading; but not just an ordinary reading, this is an exam! That’s right. I’m going to write the article (on the blog for you reading this elsewhere) and you’re going to have to answer the questions that are available on THE BLOG. Here we go! We’re diving into Tourism being a Double-Edged Sword!

Wildlife tourism has become popular over the last 30 years and is widely regarded as crucial for conservation. Can it remain a force for good or does it threaten the very species it sets out to protect.

They say that tourism is a doubled-edged sword. While it provides income and employment for local communities, it can also be a source of problems, especially if not managed correctly. A constant flow of visitors can undermine the beauty and character of a tourist destination over time. Nowhere is that more clear than in the Galapagos Islands. For decades, tourism revenues have provided the incentive to protect this archipelago’s unique wildlife. The islands and the surrounding waters are home to giant tortoises, Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, and a distinctive species of finch, the songbird that inspired Charles Darwin to formulate the theory of evolution. The range of species earned the area World Heritage status in 1978, but tourism is growing — around 200,000 visitors are attracted to the islands each year. And with that growth come huge risks.

The most common form of tourism is sea-based. Visitors typically arrive by plane and then transfer to ships for tours. They then take short hikes on designated trails and may also choose to snorkel or dive. Admirable efforts have been made to limit disruption to the wildlife during these visits. Park authorities, scientists and tour operators have calculated the timing of excursions and number of tourists to reduce undue damage.

However, until recently, few of the benefits of tourism extended to residents on the islands. As visitors would land and immediately board ships, locals received little profit. This even led to a rebellion by fisherman who confronted employees at the national park office to protest against fishing restrictions in the 1990s. So over the last few years, a different style of tourism has emerged. Nowadays, some 45% of tourists choose land-based options. They stay in hotels or other types of accommodation on the main islands, and take short-distance day tours from there. Visits to the islands have become more affordable, attracting more tourists, above all from the home country of Ecuador, as well as younger international travelers.

But this too has its downside. A glance at the harbour of Puerto Ayora, the main town on the island of Santa Cruz, shows that it is no longer pristine. Hotels and tour businesses have popped up, and there is a Disney-style train running through the main business district. While ships are hardly carbon-neutral themselves, laundry is done less frequently, food is measured and rarely wasted, and ships leave little or no litter. In comparison, even the most responsible tourists on land inevitably degrade the environment in some way.

Perhaps the most significant threat of all though comes from invasive species. The arrival of rats, as well as rats, as well as ants and other insects, has endangered the delicate ecosystems. Possibly the worst culprit is causing a rise in mortality rates go up to 95%. Every new planeload of tourists increases the risk of these destructive species entering the islands. Since its establishment in 1959, the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation have worked hard to control and eradicate invasive species.

So what is the solution? It seems clear that businesses, ecologists, the government, travelers and the people of the Galapagos Islands all need to collaborate to ensure that the wildlife is protected. the livelihoods of the residents cannot be ignored, but tourism needs to develop responsibly. And for anyone planning a trip, there are also measures that you can take. Try to buy locally-produced souvenirs, eat in local establishments, stay in eco-friendly hotels and use resources sparingly. And, of course, if at all possible, leave a donation for the conversationists and scientists who need your support.

Gateway C1+

Which TWO of the following statements are made about tourism on the islands? 1_____ 2______

A. The majority of residents now earn a living in the tourism industry.

B. The intake of tourists has made it possible for conservation efforts to continue.

C. Local people have objected to the way tourism has been managed.

D. Visitors to the island are predominantly from the home country of Ecuador.

E. There is evidence of the detrimental effect of tourism on the environment.

Which TWO of the following opinions are expressed by the writer of the article. 3______ 4______

A. Land-based tourism is preferable to sea-based tourism.

B. Efforts so far to preserve the wildlife are worthy of praise.

C. Unless action is taken, a number of unique species will become extinct.

D. It’s inevitable that tourists will harm the environment.

E. Local authorities need to do more to combat invasive species on the islands.

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