There’s a reason Hollywood loves to make hospitality movies.
I mean, the world of tourism is definitely not boring.
You see exciting places. You meet new (sometimes wild) people all the time. There’s a lot of drama and a lot of laughs at hotels and hostels.
And it all happens in more than one language!
No matter where in the world you’re traveling or working, chances are you have to speak English with many people you encounter. Speaking clear, confident English won’t just help you with day-to-day communication—it can also give you a better experience as a traveler, or help your career go further if you’re a hospitality professional.
I know, it’s hard finding time to learn a new language. But don’t worry, because today we’re going to look at six easy exercises to improve your English for tourism skills with just a little bit of work every day.
Hotel Hero: 6 English for Tourism Exercises to Keep Your Language Skills Sharp
1. Read the “English for International Tourism” Textbooks
No matter how you try to learn English, you’re going to have to put in serious time and work before you can master the language. But the good news about learning English for tourism is that you’re able to focus primarily on the parts of English that you need to know, not the irrelevant details like how to hold a conversation on international politics or nuclear energy!
For this reason, you’ll want to get a good English textbook specifically designed for the language of tourism. One of the more popular textbooks is “English for International Tourism.”
It comes available in low-intermediate, intermediate and high-intermediate levels. So you’ll need to have some basic knowledge of English before you can get the most out of this textbook. As long as you’ve got those foundations (pronunciation, reading and simple grammar), this series is perfect for learning how to communicate with coworkers and tourists who speak English as their first or second language.
Each chapter is filled with different tourism-related scenarios that you’re likely to encounter. The series is designed like a language course to steadily grow your skills. Try to find half an hour every day to read a chapter and complete the associated exercises.
2. Prepare for Real-life Conversations with FluentU
Like we said, textbooks are great—but they shouldn’t be your only study method. If you want to exercise real-world English that you’ll need while traveling or in hospitality, FluentU is a fun and effective tool.
FluentU provides authentic English videos, like movie clips, inspiring talks, news broadcasts and more, that have been transformed into language learning experiences. Each video comes with interactive captions—just click any unfamiliar word and you’ll instantly get a definition and native pronunciation. That means you’ll be learning to use new vocabulary just like a native speaker does.
You can get started with a FluentU free trial to find videos that are relevant to you. Once you’re logged in, just put “travel” or “tourism” in the search bar. There are lots of videos about hospitality careers, travel etiquette and even travel accessories.
Better yet, FluentU remembers what you’ve watched and suggests more videos based on that information, so you get a truly personalized learning experience.
3. Follow English Speakers on Twitter
More specifically, follow English speakers who work in the travel industry. This will help you naturally absorb English tourism vocabulary, plus today’s big topics in the world of travel. Here are a few Twitter accounts you may want to follow:
- @TravelEditor: Full of great travel advice and destination information. She also likes to tweet travel questions and talk with her followers.
- @Just1WayTicket: Want some ideas of where to go next? Check out beautiful pictures and helpful information posted on this account.
- @GettingStamped: Great profile for learning about popular tourist destinations, as well as what tourists like to do while traveling abroad.
And remember, if you really want to use Twitter to sharpen your English skills, you need to do more than just read tweets. Engage in discussions as well! Not only will that make using Twitter more fun, but it’ll also require you to learn and use new words during your chats back and forth with others.
4. Participate in Discussions on Travel Forums
Like Twitter, travel forums allow you to use your new tourism vocabulary with native speakers. Also, travelers often use forums to ask questions before or during a trip—so you can see and practice answering those same types of questions.
Need some help finding the right forum? Take a look at these:
- TripAdvisor: One of the biggest names in international tourism. Here, you can talk with first and second-language English speakers about traveling, hotels, restaurants, transportation and anything else related to tourism.
- Lonely Planet: The Lonely Planet forum is perfect for answering questions and asking a few of your own. You’ll probably get more conversation here than TripAdvisor, but the topics tend to be more focused on specific countries and cities. That’s not a bad thing, though—just find your desired location in the “Search Destination” menu and you’ll get highly relevant results.
Want more vocabulary and reading practice for your location? Check out Lonely Planet's travel guides. They’re created by experts so they’re both fun to read and full of reliable local tips.
- /r/Travel: Reddit has always been a great place for English language learners to practice their written English with people all over the world. The travel sub (Reddit slang for “forum”) is a great place to talk about everything related to tourism.
And unlike the previous two forums, the discussions are a bit more casual and nonspecific. Think of it as more like chatting about tourism rather than answering specific questions.
5. Give Yourself a Little Homework Every Day
Nobody liked the homework assignments we were given in school, but they were great at helping us remember the things we learned. While taking a hands-on approach to tourism English is more fun, make sure to spend a few minutes every day on classroom-style exercises as well.
A great place to start is the tourism section of ESL Conversation Questions. You’ll find a variety of different tourism-related topics that you can discuss with your friends and coworkers, either in person or through a messenger app like WhatsApp.
The good thing about WhatsApp is that you’re able to create groups and share voice clips with as many as 256 people—not that you’d need that many people in one group!
If you’re a hospitality professional, you’ll want to check out Oxford University Press’ free online workbook series, English for Careers. There, you’ll see English for Tourism exercises divided up into three different skill levels, along with various other careers.
You’ll be able to complete worksheet activities, learn vocabulary words and listen to dialogues for free, just by visiting the website!
6. Complete Tourism English Courses on Memrise
Memrise is a language-learning app for iOS and Android devices. What separates Memrise from other language apps is that you can choose between general English lessons or you can focus on specific courses.
In this case, that would be Memrise lessons that focus on English for international tourism, like “Hot English Magazine Travel” or this series on travel, hotels and transport. Both lessons feature a number of English vocabulary words and phrases that anyone in tourism would need to know for their day-to-day activities.
Try spending as little as 30 minutes a day using Memrise to brush up on your tourism vocabulary—you’ll notice a difference!
If you’re trying to make sure you don’t lose the travel English skills you have, or you want to boost your proficiency level to get that job in international tourism you’ve always wanted, this guide will help you along the way!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.