Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27: World Tourism Day

As today is World Tourism Day, we felt it only apt to recognise one of the greatest benefits of learning languages, travelling the world.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation has celebrated this day since 1980 despite the day being decided ten years earlier in 1970. World Tourism Day is all about raising awareness of global tourism and promoting the ways in which tourism improves the world. The benefits of global tourism can be seen in many elements of life, be they social, cultural, political, or economical.

Algorrobo, Chile. Sun, sea, sand, and,
most importantly, Spanish.
Over the years, World Tourism Day has had various themes, including world peace, development, education, job creation, ecological sustainability, tourism for sport, heritage preservation, and the tourism industry itself.

Aside from the aforementioned benefits, we can't ignore the huge benefits world tourism lends to learning languages. If, like us, you speak English as your mother tongue, then you will be more than familiar with being spoken to in English whilst on holiday. If you're in a particularly touristy area, then it's very likely that the reason the locals speak to you in English is because of the high level of tourism in the area, combined with the fact that many others in the world speak English as a lingua franca and that many native English speakers, particularly those from the US and the UK, are embarrassingly monolingual.

On one hand, you find that many of those who grow up in tourist areas have improved linguistic abilities compared to those who have not. On the other hand, many of those who have spent long periods of time abroad tend to have better linguistic abilities than those who have never left home.

So celebrate world tourism! Everybody deserves a good holiday, especially if you can learn languages doing it!