Le tourisme, identités et échanges – Bac d’anglais

Voici une fiche qui récapitule tout ce qu’il faut savoir sur le tourisme – tourism. Cette notion peut faire l’objet d’un sujet dans la séquence Identités et échanges – Identity and exchanges, au programme d’anglais en première et terminale. Le tourisme implique des échanges et des interactions sociales et culturelles. Il faudra aussi se concentrer sur les conséquences que peut avoir le tourisme sur notre mode de vie, nos habitudes, et surtout notre planète. Aujourd’hui, à l’ère de la mondialisation et du “village global”, le tourisme est plus que jamais devenu un élément clé de notre monde. Il s’agit d’un incroyable lien entre, non seulement les hommes, mais aussi les territoires et les différentes aires géographiques. 

La définition du tourisme – Definition of tourism

Tourism consists in the movement of people from one place to another (it can be international or local) for leisure, but also for health (health tourism) or even for work. Thus, tourism covers a wide range of activities, but is mostly part of the service sector. It shapes the relationship between people, but also shapes our territories, cities, villages, so that they can suit the needs of visitors. Therefore, it is an important sector for the economy of many countries. 

Number of annual tourists (2018) *1 79.6 million 36.3 million
Share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (2020) *2 2.9% 3.2%

Interesting figures to remember : (sources : *1 United Nations World Tourism Organization  *2 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Relevant examples to use to talk about tourism

Times Square, New York : the most visited destination in the USA and in the world

Times Square is a famous neighborhood in Manhattan, which is a tourist praised destination and a business district. It hosts loads of shops and restaurants, but over and above all the Broadway theatre. Times Square is definitely the place to visit if you go to New York, a place where the American culture and the American dream are advertised at their best. It is also a hub of interactions between people and cultures, famous for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. 


Yellowstone National Park : an environmental touristic site 

Located in Wyoming, Yellowstone is the first national parc in the USA, opened in 1872. The parc hosts thousands of protected fauna and flora species. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This parc is part of the eco-friendly american policy. You can use this example to talk about the environmental aspect of tourism.

Route 66 : historic site and symbol of the American way of life

Even though the idea of building an official highway only emerged in the 1920s, the path followed by the route dates back to 1857. The so called “Mother Road” was known as the gateway to the west, as it ran from Chicago to California. This path was the scene of a massive migration during the 1930s Great Depression. It meant a new life to many American people, who suffered from the terrible weather conditions in the south central region of the USA.  For instance, John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath exposed the situation of the farmers who abandoned their lands in Oklahoma, and went west in search of better living conditions. This way, route 66 had become the path of a people in flight, refugees in escape. In 1937, Dorothea Lange immortalized these journeys on photographs, one of them starring two men on their way to Los Angeles, walking straight forward, determined to reach their new destination. These various exchanges have given way to cultural ones. In fact, Route 66 is nowadays a route that spreads the American culture internationally. 

Different references about Route 66

  • The song “Get your kicks on route 66” has become a global hit, evoking the road trips that went across the highway. 
  • The American Cinema has gained a lot from this path, with TV series “Route 66” produced by CBS or Peter Fonda’s movie “Easy Rider”. The latter stars bikers on a road trip across America. They seem to be misfits, wearing leather jackets and living a bohemian lifestyle. They are aiming to attend Mardi Gras Carnival, and planned to ride their motorcycles all the way to New Orleans. This movie shows the variety of personalities that meet in Route 66, from hippies, to racists, and even conservatives. The American people at its best and worst gather along the road, and exchange their values and principles. Thus, the movie plunges its spectators into a very contrasted country, allowing us to understand the changes American society underwent at that time, dealing with topical and controversial subjects, such as politics, drugs and sexuality. 

This way, Route 66 has given birth to many cultural exchanges, and the movie is a mean of sharing the American culture at an international scale. Nowadays, the road has become a touristic destination that sparks excitement and freedom to many people. Tourists can explore a wide range of attractions, with mom-and-pop diners, kitschy roadside museums and shops. Trips are even planned with accommodation and transportation on travel agencies and websites, such as usatoday.com.

Tourism : Useful vocabulary

  • Agence de voyage : travel agency
  • Un séjour : a journey 
  • Un monument : a monument
  • Un site historique : a historical site 
  • Centre-ville : downtown/city-centre 
  • Voyager en avion : to travel by plane 
  • Hébergement : accommodation
  • Auberge de jeunesse : youth hostel 
  • Visiter : to visit 
  • Lieu de culte : place of worship 
  • Commander un plat au restaurant : to order a dish in a restaurant 
  • Carte d’embarquement : boarding pass 
  • Une croisière : a cruise 
  • Un hôtel : a hotel 
  • Le tourisme écologique : eco-tourism 
  • Les échanges culturels : cultural exchanges 
  • Le “melting-pot” : the melting-pot (vision of a culturally rich American people, in which every individual contributes to the national culture by being culturally assimilated in the American culture)
  • Le “salad-bowl” : the salad-bowl (vision of an American people in which every individual conserves his original culture)


This notion was never chosen in a bac exam, but this doesn’t mean it is useless or secondary. It is an important topic as its examples can be used to speak about many other notions : the environment, cultural exchanges, globalisation Be sure to know some examples about tourism, it is even more interesting if those examples are inspired by your own trips and visits as many exams ask candidates to speak about their own experience!