10 English for Tourism Books

English has become an international language, so it’s an important skill for people who work in tourism.

If you have or are looking for a job in the tourism industry, knowing some English for tourism will make it easier for you to communicate clearly.  

In this post, you’ll get 10 textbooks and travel guides that can help you learn the language you’ll use while at work.

Plus, you’ll get some helpful tips for using these resources to improve your English and succeed in your career in tourism. 


Choosing the Right Book for You

There are two kinds of books that you can use to learn tourism English: Textbooks and travel guides.

  • Textbooks are usually meant to be used in a classroom, with a teacher to guide you through the information. Some textbooks come with workbooks too, which have summaries of the textbook material and exercises where you can practice what you learned.
  • Travel guides are written for tourists. They describe the best places to visit, the best hotels to stay in and other useful information for someone traveling in a new place. Many travel guides also include historical information and give tips on the best times to visit popular places. 

Which type of book you choose depends on your study style. If you like things to be explained clearly and in an organized way, you’ll probably like textbook learning.

If you prefer to learn by seeing the language being used in a natural context, and if you don’t mind learning without any guidance, then you might prefer using a travel guide.

English for Tourism Textbooks and Workbooks

Oxford-English-Tourism-book 1. “Oxford English for Careers: Tourism 1 Student’s Book”

This student’s book comes from the high-quality publisher Oxford Press as part of their Oxford English for Careers series. It’s great for any English learner who’s interested in a tourism job. 

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The first book teaches you how to talk about and sell tourism products like airplane tickets and holiday trips. It includes practical exercises, industry-specific scenarios and dialogues to help you gain confidence in using English in real-world situations.

There are other great books in the series, so you can choose the one that fits what you’re looking to learn.

Going-International-English-for-Tourism-book 2. “Going International: English for Tourism Student’s Book”

This is another Oxford Press book, which focuses on learning tourism vocabulary. It covers a wide range of topics related to travel, customer service, hotel management and cultural awareness.

Every section has a summary with all the vocabulary, and ideas for how to use what you learned in the real world. That makes this a great book to use if you’re already working in the tourism industry because you can apply your new knowledge right away.

The book also provides practical language exercises, scenarios and dialogues that simulate real-life situations in the tourism sector. 

English-for-Tourism-book 3. “English for International Tourism”

This textbook is from another well-known publisher, Pearson. It uses many photos and has some audio sections so you can hear the material spoken out loud.

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The book is organized well, but it’s very dense (has a lot of information in one place). It’s better to read this one with a teacher or at least another student so you can practice with the group activities.

If you can, get the workbook to go with it. This book is for the intermediate-level learner. They also have an upper intermediate version and workbook

Flash-on-English-for-Tourism 4. “Flash on English for Tourism”

The “Flash on” series is broken up into units that are short and easy to understand.  “Flash on English for Tourism” is a workbook, so it’s much more interactive than a textbook, with many ways to test your knowledge of vocabulary and skills.

It offers a focused approach to learning key vocabulary, phrases and communication strategies that are essential for interactions with tourists and travelers.

The book includes practical exercises and real-life scenarios, making it a valuable tool for anyone looking to enhance their English language abilities in the context of tourism and hospitality

Travel Guides in English

Rick-Steves-Europe 5. “Rick Steve’s Europe” Guidebooks

Rick Steve’s guidebooks are written in a friendly and easy-to-understand way. There are guides for many European countries, but you can learn a lot from Steve’s books even if you don’t work in Europe.

The guidebooks use many tourism vocabulary words (like sights and accommodations) and some interesting historical facts about popular sights. They also offer practical advice and cultural context to help travelers make the most of their European adventures.

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With a focus on independent and budget-friendly travel, these guidebooks could be a great resource if you work with clients who are hoping to travel affordably. 

lets-go-travel-logo 6. “Let’s Go” Travel Guides

Created by Harvard students, the “Let’s Go” series of travel guides is designed for budget-conscious and adventurous travelers. The guides cover a wide range of destinations worldwide, catering to backpackers and student travelers.

If you’ll be working in a place where you expect to see a lot of younger clients, these guidebooks are a great way to learn some college-age tourism vocabulary.

You’ll learn language related to budget accommodations, dining options, transportation tips and off-the-beaten-path experiences (different from the normal tourist experiences). The guides are known for their detailed research and honest reviews. 

lonely-planet-logo 7. Lonely Planet Guidebooks

The Lonely Planet guidebooks are known for their comprehensive coverage of destinations across the globe and cater to everyone from solo travelers and backpackers to families.

They also include maps, itineraries and practical travel tips that can help you provide great service and useful information to your tourism clients.

These guidebooks are not easy to read even for a native speaker, so don’t try to understand everything. Instead, use them to look for vocabulary and phrases, like world-famous (known all around the world) and overnight stay (when you only stay at a hotel for a night).

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bradt-travel-guides-logo 8. “Bradt’s Eccentric” Travel Guides

For travel guides that are educational and interesting to read, try the “Brandt’s Eccentric” series.

These guides talk about things to see that are eccentric—unusual and a little weird. They’re more interesting than normal travel guides, but still use all the vocabulary and phrases you would need for a job in the industry.

With a focus on unusual destinations, events and attractions that differ from the norm, these guides introduce travelers to places they might never have considered. They might be especially usually for you if you’ll be working in a place with unique attractions.

DK-Eyewitness-logo 9. DK Eyewitness Travel Guides 

The travel guides from DK Eyewitness are comprehensive resources that help tourists explore destinations worldwide. They provide valuable information about local culture, history attractions and practical travel tips.

The guides combine beautiful photography, detailed illustrations and informative content to help travelers have an immersive and insightful experience.

For English learners, these guides serve as engaging educational tools. By reading them, you can improve your language skills and learn how to describe a wide variety of tourist destinations in English. You can also get their travel guides on Kindle for easy learning on the go. 

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rough-guides-logo 10. “Rough Guides” Guidebooks

The “Rough Guides” series offers travelers a wealth of information and insights into various destinations across the globe. These guides provide travelers with a well-rounded understanding of each location.

By using these guides to learn English for tourism, you can build your vocabulary and communication skills while learning about how to provide enriching travel experiences.

What sets “Rough Guides” apart is their dedication to uncovering hidden gems and providing travelers with a deeper understanding of the places they visit. This, in turn, can help you become a source of detailed information about many destinations and tourism experiences. 

How to Learn English for Tourism from Textbooks

You can learn a lot from both textbooks and travel guides, but you need to study them differently. Here are some tips for learning as much as you can from textbooks:

  • Skim before you read. Every time you start a new chapter, skim the chapter’s pages first by looking over the text without reading every word. Look at the titles and any words in bold or italics. Read the introduction and summary if there is one. This will help you prepare for the new information and will give you a good idea of what the chapter will teach you.
  • Do a little bit at a time. The writing in textbooks can sometimes be difficult to understand, or there can be a lot of information on every page. Don’t try to hurry through the entire book. Instead, learn one thing at a time. Only continue to the next chapter of a textbook when you completely understand the material in the previous chapter. 
  • Schedule study time… and break time. Make sure you have time to study in a quiet, comfortable area without any distractions. Don’t forget to take breaks. Refresh your mind by relaxing for ten minutes once in a while, and refresh your body by using these breaks to get up and move around.
  • Read each chapter twice. The first time you read a chapter, don’t take any notes. Just read it and try to understand. You can make a mark with a pen wherever you don’t entirely understand something. On the second reading, read more carefully, take notes and spend some time understanding the confusing parts.

Learning English for Tourism from Travel Guides

  • Do not read tourism guides like a book. Even tourists don’t read the entire guide from the beginning until the end! There is too much information about too many things in these books. Instead, read a few sections from each part of the book.
  • Focus on vocabulary and phrases. Some words are used over and over in travel guides. If you see a word or phrase repeated more than once in the book, write it down and look it up.
  • Use a travel guide for the place where you’d like to work. By doing this, you can learn about the different historical facts of the area, places to visit and tips for where to eat and what to do. Knowing about an area will help you in a tourism job!
  • Take notes in sections. Tour guides are usually organized by location, with information on places to stay, eat, explore and more. When you’re taking notes, organize them by topic instead of location. For example, put all transportation-related notes together, historical terms and facts in another section, and restaurant vocabulary in a different section.


Thanks to these tourism textbooks and guides, your English will be ready for a job in tourism.

Just don’t be surprised when reading them makes you want to travel too!

Hi, I'm Alan! I became obsessed with learning Chinese, Japanese, and Korean in 2001, and managed to get good enough to work professionally in those languages as a management consultant.

I started FluentU to build a new kind of language app.
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