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Ten Days in Manchester
An interactive intermediate business English course featuring Tony Marshall and May Hunter
Day 5
 Meet the People: Mark Leach

An Information Officer

Every year millions of people travel from where they live to another country for a holiday. Sometimes they already know the countries that they are visiting, but often it's a country that they know little about.

So where can they get information to help them? From tourist information offices! Find out how by listening to Mark Leach. a tourist information officer.

(none) Quiz
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Test how much you understand about Day 5 >>

An information office

Interviewing Mark

How do information offices work? Find out from Mark and, as you do, listen out for these three words and phrases: over the counter, itineraries and daytrip.

Why do you think they mean?

Audio The company

My name's Mark Leach. I'm senior information officer at the Britain Business Centre, which is a tourist office for the British Tourist Authority, in London. Here we offer a tourist information service to mainly visitors from overseas and each year we have about 500,000 to the office.

Audio The Job

I am a supervisor of the information team, one of two, and the information team has about ten officers who give tourist information directly over the counter to visitors. We speak a total of 13 languages altogether. We are helping people plan itineraries; where to go in Britain, where can they stay, advice on what to do when you are there, give train information etc.

Audio The Visitor

We act as a one stop shop for anyone who wants to come in, needing help on any matter whatsoever to do with tourism. So it could be that they want a daytrip from London, that's a very popular request, and we can offer suggestions of where to go and how to get there. People want a two week tour of Britain, we can plan out exactly where to visit, what roads to take. So it can be very detailed or it can just be very simple.


Did you work what those words meant? Well, test yourself with this quick quiz. Click on the answers that you think are right and then press 'Check Answers'.

over the counter When you have to pay for information
When you get information straight away
itineraries A list of things that you want to do
A list of things that you have to pay for
daytrip A journey to a tourist site that takes a whole day to get there
A journey to a tourist site and home again in one day


Mark's four top tips on visiting the United Kingdom

Tip 1: Audio

A good suggestion is to see, obviously, as much as you can but try and come back again and again to see different parts of the country, because you really experience it if you visit one place and explore that area in depth. So you'll spend one time in Scotland, Wales or England.

Tip 2: Audio

Take full use of information that we can provide you. We have got lots of years of knowledge so we can tell you exactly what's worth doing and what's the best way of doing it. For lots of people, Britain can be expensive so we try and tell different ways of getting places, bed and breakfast is a very good option, for example, instead of five star hotels. So we can offer a wide range of information.

Tip 3: Audio

A lot of people from overseas can get lots of useful tickets, which gets them reductions in Britain, for example, the rail system, and they're only available to overseas visitors.

Tip 4: Audio

Speak to the Tourist Office in your own country, the British Tourist Authority, and they can tell you what visas you might need, what passports you might need, also what money you should bring over and how much things are going to cost.

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