Considering that tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world, questions about tourism are common on the IELTS examination. You may be asked about trips you have taken or the wider impact of different types of tourism. Therefore, it is essential that you know and understands a range of words and phrases used to discuss tourism and related issues. This page contains commonly used vocabulary that will help make your answers more advanced and natural sounding. There are some exercises for you to practice using the words with some real IELTS questions.

1. General Tourism Vocabulary

  • Accommodation – The places where tourists/visitors stay. For example, hotels, hostels etc…
  • Acculturation – The process of incorporating the values of other cultures. For example, a destination may adapt to the culture of visitors.
  • Backpacking – To travel, often to more than one destination, with your belongings in a backpack
  • Camping – A holiday spent in a tent or camper van
  • Cruise – A sea-based trip taking a pre-planned route that involves visiting several ports
  • Ecotourism – Tourism that does not cause damage to the natural environment
  • Excursion – A short trip usually taken whilst on holiday
  • Footfall – The number of people who enter an area/shop
  • Heritage – Objects and characteristics that are valued because of their cultural or historical significance
  • Homeland – The country you were born/brought up in
  • Infrastructure – The basic organisational structures in a place such as roads, transport systems, power supply, water etc…
  • Itinerary – A detailed plan of a route or journey. It usually includes times, dates, prices etc…
  • Luggage – The collective name for the suitcases/bags that you take on a trip
  • Luxurious – Of high quality
  • Mass tourism – Tourism on a large scale, often with standardised packages
  • Overseas – In a different country
  • Picturesque – Something that has an attractive or pretty appearance
  • Resorts – Places or destinations that are popular with tourists
  • Safari – A type of holiday/trip to observe or hunt animals. Most common in Africa.
  • Seasonal – Only occurring at certain times of the year
  • Sightseeing – The act of visiting different attractions or sights
  • Skiing holiday – A holiday where the primary purpose is to ski or engage in winter sports
  • Souvenir – Something you keep as a reminder of a place
  • To book – To reserve a flight or accommodation
  • To stroll – To walk, often slowly, with no particular destination in mind
  • Touristy – Places that are adapted or designed specifically for tourists, or places that have lots of tourists
  • Traditional/Quaint – Old-fashioned and attractive

IELTS writing correction

IELTS Vocabulary – Tourism-1

Activity 1
Choose the correct word to complete the questions
What do you like to do when you visit new places?

Whenever I visit a new place I like to stay in the most hotel possible because there is always a lot to keep me occupied. I never know when my vacations will be so I always them last minute, which leaves little time for preparation. The hotels usually offer to nearby sites and villages so I often go on those. I am not keen on places that are too though, I prefer to see a unspoilt places that have not been affected by tourism. I always like to buy a too, as a little reminder of the places I have been.

What are some of the dangers of tourism?

I think that on a large scale can be quite detrimental to some destinations. First, many destinations in developing countries do not have the to cope with huge amounts of visitors, so the natural environment often suffers. Another negative impact is that many destinations are which means that for 6 months of the year there is little economic activity or employment. Finally, I think that for some destinations, too many tourists can be a bad thing because of and the loss of that comes with it. I think that is more sustainable and a better option for looking to develop and attract tourists.

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What do you like to do when you visit new places?

Whenever I visit a new place I like to stay in the most luxurious hotel possible because there is always a lot to keep me occupied. I never know when my vacations will be so I always book them last minute, which leaves little time for preparation. The hotels usually offer excursions to nearby sites and villages so I often go on those. I am not keen on places that are too touristy though, I prefer to see a unspoilt picturesque places that have not been affected by tourism. I always like to buy a souvenir too, as a little reminder of the places I have been.

What are some of the dangers of tourism?

I think that mass tourism on a large scale can be quite detrimental to some destinations. First, many destinations in developing countries do not have the infrastructure to cope with huge amounts of visitors, so the natural environment often suffers. Another negative impact is that many destinations are seasonal, which means that for 6 months of the year there is little economic activity or employment. Finally, I think that for some destinations, too many tourists can be a bad thing because of acculturation and the loss of heritage that comes with it. I think that ecotourism is more sustainable and a better option for resorts looking to develop and attract tourists.

Possessing the ability to use idioms, phrasal verbs and collocations correctly when discussing tourism will enable you to gain a higher score when you come to take the IELTS exam. Here are some useful words and phrases that you can use to make your answers sound more natural and advanced.

    • A sense of adventure – A desire to explore and engage in adventurous activities
    • A thirst for adventure – A desire to do something adventurous
    • All-inclusive – A trip where all food, drink, and accommodation are provided
    • Around the world – A large proportion of the world. Many destinations/continents.
    • Booked-up – Fully sold out or full
    • Bucket list – The places you want to visit and things you want to do in your lifetime
    • Check-in – Arrive and register at an airport or hotel
    • City break – A short 2- or 3-day trip to a city destination
    • Day trip – A trip that only lasts for one day
    • Get around – To move from place to place
    • Get away – To go on holiday/vacation/ (n) The holiday/vacation itself
    • Guided tour – Part of a trip where tourists are taken from place to place and given information by a guide
    • Head for/towards – To go in a certain direction or the direction of a specific place
    • Itchy feet – The desire to travel
    • Long haul/Short-haul destination – A destination far away from your home/ close to your home
    • Long haul/Short-haul flight- A flight that takes 6 + hours / A flight that takes -3 hours
    • Low-cost-airline – An airline that offers cheap with a minimal level of on-board service
    • On a shoestring – With a low amount of money
    • Out of season – The part of the year when it is not very busy
    • Package holiday – A holiday where the flight and accommodation, and often food, are included
    • Peak season – The busiest time of the year. For example, school holidays and Christmas
    • The road less travelled – The places where not many people have been
    • Travelling light – To go on a trip with little bags or luggage

IELTS Vocabulary – Tourism-2

Activity 2
Choose the correct word to complete the IELTS questions
Do you think the best way to travel is with a tour guide or by yourself?

I personally prefer to travel independently because I find  too restrictive. I have a real so when I go to a place I much prefer to the nearest footpath or mountain and go walking with my wife. We travelled together when we were younger on a budget and we didn’t need the help of a tour guide. Now, wherever we go, we always just take a cheap 1- or 2-hour flight on a to a that we have not been to before.

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Do you think the best way to travel is with a tour guide or by yourself?

I personally prefer to travel independently because I find guided tours too restrictive. I have a real sense of adventure, so when I go to a place I much prefer to head for the nearest footpath or mountain and go walking with my wife. We travelled around the world together when we were younger on a shoestring budget and we didn’t need the help of a tour guide. Now, wherever we go, we always just take a cheap 1- or 2-hour flight on a low-cost-airline to a short-haul that we have not been to before.

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