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Session 3

How far would you travel for the ultimate holiday?

In this session you'll find out about one of the world's 'hottest' travel destinations, which is actually the coldest place on earth! And you'll hear reasons for and against making the trip.

Sessions in this unit

Session 3 score

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

The ends of the earth

The ultimate adventure holiday? 

People are always looking for somewhere new to explore, but what effect does that have on the environment? The article looks at the ‘hottest’ new destination, and asks if tourists should really visit.

The article uses the second conditional if + past simple, and would + infinitive. It is used to talk about unlikely situations - 'If you went to Antarctica, what would you see?' (most readers will not go to Antarctica).

To do

One paragraph looks at the advantages of tourism to the region. Can you find which paragraph it is?

Read the text and complete the activity

Would you go to Antarctica?

If you were looking for adventure and could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Would you run with the bulls in Pamplona, or go bungee jumping in New Zealand? Perhaps you would prefer to go diving in the Indian Ocean, or go hiking in the Himalayas.

But if you’d done all that, and you had the time and money, would you go to Antarctica? Considered the last great wilderness on Earth, it’s becoming the destination of choice for adventurous tourists. Just a few scientists in research stations share the icy landscape with penguins and other animals which can cope with the low temperatures.

Tourism began in Antarctica in the 1950s and it's still small scale. About 37,000 tourists are expected there this season, and many won't even leave the boat.

But when the BBC's Juliet Rix visited the frozen continent, she asked herself if she should be there at all. Tourists can cause problems to such a sensitive environment. Her tour guide admitted that all visitors leave a footprint and they all go to the same places, the accessible coastline, which is also where the penguins and seals go to breed.

However, some people believe that if carefully controlled, tourism could be good for Antarctica. It has no native population and it needs advocates. Visitors to the icy continent might be ready to support and even to fund its preservation. And they're likely to join the discussion about global warming, which has led to the melting of glaciers.

According to Rix, guidelines are followed when you're about to set foot in Antarctica and tourists have to disinfect their boots to make sure no alien species are introduced.

And once on land, there's no eating or smoking. Rocks, bones – nothing should be taken as a souvenir and nothing should be left behind.

So if you did go, you would be able to enjoy breathtaking views. You would also have to be very careful not to contaminate the environment, and keep your fingers crossed that you were not destroying it for future generations.


To do

Did you find the paragraph that looks at advantages? It was the fifth paragraph which starts 'However, some people...'

What else did you learn about Antarctic tourism from the article? Do the quiz to find out.

Antarctic tourism

8 Questions

What did you learn about Antarctic tourism? Complete the sentences with information from the article.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
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That's it for this session. We've looked at one exciting travel destination. In the next session, we'll hear some people talking about their dream holidays. We'd also like to hear from you - where would you go if you had the time and the money? 

Session Grammar

  • Second conditional is used to talk about unreal situations or things we don’t think will happen. We use it to talk about the possible results of these situations.

    If I won the lottery, I’d give up my job.

    If we lived by the sea, I’d go swimming every day.

    A conditional sentence has two parts. The if part tells us about the imaginary situation, and the would part tells us what might happen as a result. It’s made with if + past simple, and would + infinitive.

    If I won the race … (This is the imaginary situation.)

    … I would be so happy. (This is the result of the imaginary situation.)

Session Vocabulary

  • environment
    (here) the natural world

    (here) a place people travel to or holiday in

    bungee jumping
    a sport that involves falling from a high place attached to a strong rope that can stretch

    a large area of wild land, not used by humans

    of choice
    selected as the favourite

    willing to try new things and take risks

    research stations
    buildings where scientists can work

    all the features of the land you see when you look across it

    one of the world’s large areas of land e.g. Africa, Asia

    can be badly affected by very small changes

    tour guide
    someone who shows groups of tourists around

    leave a footprint
    (here) to affect a place after you have gone

    the land along the seashore

    produce young animals

    people who support something and speak in favour of it

    the act of keeping something in good condition

    large areas of ice slowly moving downhill

    rules or instructions that tell us how to do something

    to set foot in
    to enter; to walk upon

    to clean something and kill germs and bacteria

    alien species
    animals and/or plants that come from somewhere else

    something kept as a reminder of a place you visited

    very great or spectacular

    make something or somewhere dirty or diseased by bringing a harmful substance to it

    keep your fingers crossed
    (idiom) hope