CAE Reading and Use of English Part 6
You are going to read four writers’ contributions to a debate about hosting the Olympic Games. For questions 37-40, choose from the reviews A-D. The reviews may be chosen more than once.
Hosting the Olympics – is it a good idea?
Four writers give their views about what an Olympic Games can do for the host country.
The Olympics are undoubtedly expensive to stage and none of the Games in recent times have made an immediate profit, but they should be considered a long-term investment. The large infrastructure projects like new roads and transport systems, the new sports venues and cultural facilities, the regeneration of rundown urban areas and the increase in tourism all end up stimulating the economy eventually. The international media focus on the Games can also lift the host country’s profile to another level. This has a knock-on effect on attitudes within the host country. International attention and proof of a capacity to rise to the challenge can pull the country together, make it feel good about itself and put it in a position to compete in the modern world.
Weighing up the pros and cons of hosting an Olympics is a complex business. Research suggests that few former hosts have experienced long-term economic gains, indeed, certain cities like Montreal and Los Angeles have taken decades to pay off the debts incurred in preparing for and running the two-week-long event, and in cases like these, an unwelcome PR effect of international dimensions seems to come attached. The real benefits are less tangible in that they inspire a local feel-good factor, enhancing a sense of pride in belonging to a city and country that can pull off such a massive and awkward enterprise. There is also the chance for everyone, the younger generations in particular, to observe elite athletes, and therefore sporting excellence, exercise and fitness become cool things to aspire to.
For a host city, the Olympic Games are all about legacy. They present an opportunity to showcase, domestically and to the world at large, the notion that the city possesses the know-how and manpower to manage a hugely complex international event, plus an impressive new infrastructure of sports facilities, accommodation and public transport, a vibrant, competent, friendly local population, and historic sites and places of natural beauty for tourists to visit. There is the sporting legacy too, with the greatest athletes from around the world inspiring mass participation, a crucial development when modern lifestyles tend to have a significantly detrimental effect on fitness and health. Critics of the notion of hosting the Olympics often focus on the more easily measurable economic implications which suggest that the Games are not a viable proposition, but the Olympics are not just about money; they are about other aspects of legacy which are at least as significant.
Most positive developments that might be associated with hosting the Olympics would happen anyway. The infrastructural investments could be made, incentives for tourists to visit could be offered and trade delegations could be energised. Past experience suggests the financial costs tend to outweigh the benefits anyway, when variables like the absurd bidding process, security and mismanagement are factored in. What of the more intangible spinoffs? First, there is no hard evidence that hosting the Olympics leads to greater public involvement in sports. In fact, studies show sporting activity actually fell in certain Olympic cities once the ‘afterparty enthusiasm’ had worn off. Genuine long-term participation in sports comes from grassroots investment in schools and community facilities rather than glitzy shows. Most Olympic Games are concentrated in one city, usually the capital, and have little impact, economic or otherwise, on other parts of the country. In fact, in some cases, research reveals significant regional resentment about all the attention from government, the media and other organisations being directed at one city. So much for pride in one’s country.
Which writer …
37 has a different opinion to the others regarding the economic impact of hosting the Olympics?
38 shares writer B’s opinion about the implications for sport in the host country?
39 expresses a different view to the others about the effect that hosting the Olympics can have on a national sense of identity?
40 takes a similar view to writer A about the likely consequence for the host country’s international reputation?
CAE Reading and Use of English Part 7
You are going to read a magazine article about watching wildlife. Six paragraphs have been removed from the article. Choose from the paragraphs A – G the one which fits each gap (41-46). There is one extra paragraph which you do not need to use.
Close encounters of the wild kind
The rise of wildlife-watching experiences.
Wildlife observation has always proved inspirational for humans, it led Charles Darwin to provide us with a better understanding of how we evolved and it has inspired such everyday innovations as Velcro. US author Peter Matthiessen wrote: ‘The variety of life in nature can be compared to a vast library of unread books, and the plundering of nature is comparable to the random discarding of whole volumes without having opened them and learned from them’.
‘What is interesting is how much people are willing to pay to be in a wilderness environment’, says Julian Matthews, director of Discovery Initiatives, a company which takes people on small-group trips to more than 35 countries. It’s still a small part of the tourism industry but it’s undoubtedly expanding. There are definitely more and more people seeking wildlife experiences now’.
Matthews recognises the contribution that television has made to our knowledge of nature, but he says ‘there’s no way to compare seeing an animal in the wild with watching one on TV. While a filmmaker may spend six months shooting an animal and will get closer to it than you ever will, there’s no greater pleasure than seeing an animal in its own environment. On film, you’re only getting the visuals and the sound. As impressive as they may be, it’s not the real thing.’ And the good thing is that tourists can now watch wildlife ‘live’ while helping to protect it – a concept that comes under the broad label of ‘ecotourism’.
In practice, this means that many tour operators, guided by ethical policies, now use the services of local communities, train local guides and have close ties to conservation projects. Tour operator Rekero, for example, has established its own school – the Koyiaki Guide School and Wilderness Camp – for Maasai people in Kenya.
Conservation organisations have also realised that tourism can help educate people and provide a valuable source of revenue and even manpower. The World Wildlife Fund, for example, runs trips that give donors the chance to see for themselves how their financial aid is assisting conservation projects in the field, and some organisations even allow tourists to take part in research and conservation.
Similarly, Biosphere Expeditions takes about 200 people every year on what its field operations director, Dr Matthias Hammer, calls an ‘adventure with a conscience’. Volunteers can visit six destinations around the world and take part in various activities including snow leopard, wolf and bear surveys and whale and dolphin research.
Of course, going in search of wildlife doesn’t always mean you will find it. That sightings of animals in large wild areas don’t come automatically is a fact of life. Although potentially frustrating, it makes sightings all the more rewarding when they are made. And the opportunity to do something to help both the environment and local people can only add to the experience.
A He is confident that, if done properly, this combination of tourism and conservation can be ‘a win-win situation’, ‘People have a unique experience while contributing to conservation directly. Local people and habitats benefit through job creation, research and an alternative income. Local wildlife benefits from our work.’
B While there is indeed much to learn from many species not yet known to science, it’s the already opened texts that attract the majority of us, however. And we are attracted in ever increasing numbers.
C As people are able to travel to more extreme places in search of the ultimate wildlife experience, it’s worth remembering that you don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to catch rewarding glimpses of animals. Indeed, some of the best wildlife-watching opportunities are on our doorstep.
D This growth has been stimulated by the efforts of conservation groups and natural history documentaries. Greater awareness of the planet has led to an increased demand for wildlife tours or the addition of a wildlife-watching component to traditional holidays. People want to discover nature at first-hand for themselves – not just on a screen.
E Despite being an important part of the population there, they have largely been excluded from the benefits brought to the region by tourism. This initiative is a concerted effort to enable them to take up jobs and run programmes themselves.
F Earthwatch is a non-profit international environmental group that does just that. ‘Participation in an Earthwatch project is a positive alternative to wildlife-watching expeditions, as we offer members of the public the opportunity to be on the front line of conservation,’ says Claudia Eckardt, Earthwatch programme manager.
G It is a term which is overused, but the principle behind it undoubtedly offers hope for the future of many endangered species, as money from tourism directly funds conservation work. It also extends to the consideration of the interests of people living in the places that tourists visit.