English for tourism: a proposal to improve communication skills in university students

Páginas: 12 (2839 palabras) Publicado: 2 de septiembre de 2010

This study is focus on the importance of English for professional uses and particularly in the field of tourism. English proficiency is required for most professional areas but becomes essential in the tourist industry because of its specific characteristics. Therefore, students should be prepared with specific language skills in their university stage. This study presents somemethodological lines for teaching in the field of tourism.


The need to have a good command in English is an indisputable fact. English is considered the lingua franca of the twenty-first century.
Everybody is aware of the enormous importance of English in their education stage for their future career. Tourism degree students are even more aware, because they know this is a sectorwhere it acquires a maximum importance. English for tourism is an essential tool in any field where they develop their career: tourist information, management, promotion of tourist destinations, tourist activities, intermediary companies, hospitality and transportation.

”There can be little doubt that English is the most commonly used language of hospitality and the lingua franca oftourists and travelers worldwide”.
Blue, G.M. and Harun, M. (2003) 77

Students of tourism have a high motivation to learn English and the practical application of this. In the Tourism degree, the English subject is based on the specific needs of the professional profile of the student. They will probably use more often orally English than in written form, but they must be able to elaboratewritten documents such as letters or budgets. They should keep telephone conversations, making presentations to audiences, attending fairs and congresses and understand all types of written information on tourist destinations.


Nowadays, English is the international language per excellence. Therefore, professionals in any discipline need to learn English to functionin their jobs and to communicate with people from other places. This need explains that Languages for Specific Purposes o LSP have increased in the last years. Among the languages for specific purposes, English has traditionally been studied for business. Currently, however, English for Tourism is becoming a boom in our country, due to the economic and social importance that this sectorrepresents.

Language is an essential tool in working life and it requires the command of certain communication skills mainly in English as international language. English for specific purposes is a response to this need to learn this language as a working tool. The workforce demands qualified professionals to communicate with people around the world in their work. This has motivated that specificEnglish is almost essential in any university curriculum.

There are many sub-specializations within the English for Specific Purposes, instead of general English (English for General Purposes, or EGP). The main difference is that students learn the general English language to communicate in everyday life, while students interested in English for Specific Purposes want to achieve another goal. We cansay that the more specific areas studied are business English and English for science and technology. However, there are some specialities which have not been developed much, as the English for Tourism. This lack of research on English for Tourism contrasts with the socio-economic importance of this industry.

“Due to the rapid growth of tourism and the hotel industry, it is important toconsider offering relevant courses to students at the tertiary level.”
Blue, G.M. and Harun, M. (2003) 86


The need to increase competitiveness in the Spanish tourism industry has been highlighted by the government, universities and touristic companies in general. This claim is receiving a good academic response with the increasing of tourism studies in many...
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