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    Tourism has been one of the fastest growing industries in recent years. The growth rate of tourism has generally exceeded the growth rate for the worldwide economy.

    In spite of its rapid growth, it is not easy to define tourism.

    Tourism necessarily involves travel; a tourist is usually defined as a person who is visiting some place other than his usual residence for more than 24 hours.

    A tourist is distinguished by the length of his trip from an excursionist, who is away from his usual residence for less than 24 hours, or a weekend. The purpose of travel must also enter into the definition of tourism. Many people travel entirely for the purpose of recreation or pleasure; they are people on holiday. Other people travel for reasons of health. Other people travel to visit friends or relatives, a reason that has become more important because of increased mobility throughout the world. Still others travel in order to educate themselves because travel is broadening. All of these people are generally considered tourists since the primary reason for their trips is recreation. People who are travelling on business are also included in most tourist statistics. Among them are businessmen and government officials on specific missions, as well as people attending meetings or conventions.

    Many people among those travelling on business often combine pleasure with their work. They also use the same transportation, accommodation, and catering facilities as the holiday tourists.

    Accommodation refers to hotels or other places where a traveller can find rest and shelter; catering facilities refers to places where a traveller or another member of the public can find food and drink. Tourism is a relatively new phenomenon in the world. Since being away from home is a necessary component of tourism, its development as a mass industry depended on modem means of rapid and inexpensive transportation.

    Tourism as we know it today began with the building of the railroads in the XIXth century. In fact, the words tourism and tourist themselves were not used for the first time until about 1800. The first tour in the modem sense was put together by Thomas Cook in England, in 1841, and the firm of Thomas Cook and Sons has remained one of the prominent names in the tourist industry.

    Task 1. Find in the text answers to these questions:

    Why is tourism the fastest growing industry?

    What is the difference between a ‘tourist’ and an ‘excursionist’?

    What are the most common reasons for travelling?

    Why do tourist statistics include those people who are travelling on business?

    What is the difference between the terms ‘accommodations’ and 'catering facilities’?

    What has the development of tourism as a mass industry depended on? Why?

    When did the words ‘tourism’ and ‘tourists’ appear?

    What is the name of the best known company in the tourist industry?

    Task 2. Say what you've learned from the text about

    A.tourism and its importance to people;

    B.the reasons why people travel so widely;

    C.accommodations and catering facilities;

    D.the way tourism started.