Sample Essay – Band 9 Program

Hi everyone.

Here is taste of the Band 9 program – what I call a guided sample essay, where I link the lessons from the Band 9 program with a discussion of my approach.

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Our Task 2 essay question on Travel last week caused people some problems.  I have therefore set out below a suggested approach.  Your feedback is welcomed.

Many people believe that international tourism is a bad thing for their countries. What are the reasons? What solutions can you suggest to change such negative attitudes?

OK, so this is a causes/solutions essay which means I will be using our Outline A strategy.

First I need to decide my position on the two questions.  Why do some people oppose international tourism in their countries?  Well, I think that perhaps tourism pushes up the cost of living in some locations.  If you live near the Taj Mahal, or the Pyramids, then I assume that the price of taxis, restaurants etc is higher than elsewhere.   I also think that large crowds are probably causing damage to some sites – the litter left on Mt Everest, the closure of Boracay resort in the Philippines due to environmental damage.

The second part of this question is the hard part. We need to come up with solutions to change attitudes.  It is very difficult to change people’s attitudes.  Stopping tourism is not really viable, so how do we make people feel better about it?  I think that local authorities need to ensure that the money earned from tourism finds its way into the local community.  Job creation for local people would, I believe, help to change people’s minds.  In addition, educating tourists on preserving important sites etc. would probably help.

So there is our response – all that remains is to write the essay.  We have our framework of Outline A, so all I need to do is fill in the four pieces; introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

We studied introductions in our Writing Workshop two weeks ago.  You will recall that there are four possible elements for an introduction – context, set-up, thesis and outline, and that we use a maximum of three.  I will use the context/set-up/outline approach:

Context – popularity of travel

Set-up – paraphrase the prompt

Outline – what I am going to write about

So, here we go:

Many of us dream of travelling to famous overseas tourist destinations.  However, some argue that receiving international travelers has a negative impact on their countries.  In this essay I will consider the reasons for holding such a view and suggest strategies to help develop a more positive perception.

Ok, so now we turn to BP1.  In accordance with Outline A this paragraph will discuss the reasons only.

In last week’s Writing Workshop we looked at body paragraphs.  I’m sure you all remember that we start the paragraph with a topic sentence that is relatively simple.  In this way we can expand the idea, moving from the general to the specific, and achieve good cohesion and coherence.

There is no doubt that international tourism has some negative impacts on the residents of the host country.

Notice that I have NOT attempted to specify what the impacts are, and there is no complex grammar or vocabulary.  A simply-worded topic sentence is the platform for a well-structured paragraph.

There is no doubt that international tourism has some negative impacts on the residents of the host country.  Local industries near famous tourist attractions tend to target the high spending power of visitors, inevitably driving up the prices that locals also have to pay for services such as restaurant meals or taxis.  In Singapore, for example, taxi drivers are permitted to charge a special levy when picking up passengers at certain popular attractions and this applies both to locals and visitors.  In addition, the wear and tear that large crowds can inflict on some tourist attractions is a cause for concern among locals, who often consider themselves the de facto custodians of such locations.  The complete closure of Boracay beach in the Philippines due to environmental degradation is an example of the potentially harmful impact of tourism.  It comes as no surprise that local residents of such places might find it difficult to view tourism in a favourable light.

So there is our first BP.  Notice how the discussion progresses from the general position to specific points. There are examples, but the paragraph does not conclude with an example.

So now to our BP2.  We adopt the same approach of a simple topic sentence.  I cannot rely on any of the previous discussion – I can’t say “to address this problem….” I need to specify the problem again, or I risk a coherence problem.

To change negative perceptions toward international travel requires a strategy combining engagement with reassurance.  Firstly, it is important that those impacted by tourists must be given the opportunity to share in the benefits it brings, such as by being offered employment opportunities in the tourism sector.  The Goodwill Ambassador program that Sydney implemented during the 2000 Olympic Games gave casual employment to thousands of unemployed people, and created a positive perception of the Olympics even as prices for many services jumped and the public transport system was overloaded.  In addition, governments need to ensure that visitors to their famous attractions are properly educated on appropriate behaviour for conserving the site for future generations.  When local people see their important tourist attractions protected and their own employment prospects improving their perception of international travel will inevitably shift.

So I have used a very simple firstly/in addition cohesion pattern here, but note that I have not overused cohesive devices – I have not said “Next” or “After that” or “then”.  A sparing use of such devices is usually sufficient, as we will see in Next week’s Writing Workshop on Cohesive Devices.

So now the conclusion.

The challenges faced by host countries in managing international tourism are not inconsiderable.  However, with the right management it is possible for negative perceptions of overseas visitors held by local residents to be altered.

Put all of that together and we have this:

Many of us dream of travelling to famous overseas tourist destinations.  However, some argue that receiving international travelers has a negative impact on their countries.  In this essay I will consider the reasons for holding such a view and suggest strategies to help develop a more positive perception.

There is no doubt that international tourism has some negative impacts on the residents of the host country.  Local industries near famous tourist attractions tend to target the high spending power of visitors, inevitably driving up the prices that locals also have to pay for services such as restaurant meals or taxis.  In Singapore, for example, taxi drivers are permitted to charge a special levy when picking up passengers at certain popular attractions and this applies both to locals and visitors.  In addition, the wear and tear that large crowds can inflict on some tourist attractions is a cause for concern among locals, who often consider themselves the de facto custodians of such locations.  The complete closure of Boracay beach in the Philippines due to environmental degradation is an example of the potentially harmful impact of tourism.  It comes as no surprise that local residents of such places might find it difficult to view tourism in a favourable light.

To change negative perceptions toward international travel requires a strategy combining engagement with reassurance.  Firstly, it is important that those impacted by tourists must be given the opportunity to share in the benefits it brings, such as by being offered employment opportunities in the tourism sector.  The Goodwill Ambassador program that Sydney implemented during the 2000 Olympic Games gave casual employment to thousands of unemployed people, and created a positive perception of the Olympics even as prices for many services jumped and the public transport system was overloaded.  In addition, governments need to ensure that visitors to their famous attractions are properly educated on appropriate behaviour for conserving the site for future generations.  When local people see their important tourist attractions protected and their own employment prospects improving their perception of international travel will inevitably shift.

The challenges faced by host countries in managing international tourism are not inconsiderable.  However, with the right management it is possible for negative perceptions of overseas visitors held by local residents to be altered.

377 words is long, of course, but it is amazing how much quicker you can write when you have a clear structure and approach.

Feel free to offer comments or ask questions.

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