Travel the World without Leaving Home

June 28, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. immerse (v.) 
[ih-murs] – to become entirely involved in an activity or interest
Example: She immersed herself in learning Japanese by talking to native Japanese speakers every day.

2. historic (adj.) [hi-stawr-ik, -stor-] – having great and lasting importance
ExampleHistoric places like the old temples in Greece must be protected.

3. collaboration (n.) [kuh-lab-uh-rey-shuhn] – something achieved or created by two or more persons or groups of people working together
Example: Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is collaboration among people who contribute or edit encyclopedia articles and entries.

4. prompt (v.) [prompt] –  to cause someone to do something
Example: The tourist guide prompted us to see the inside of the ancient castle.

5. virtual (n.) [vur-choo-uhl] –  existing or occurring in the computer or Internet
Example: You can play a virtual tennis game using Nintendo Wii.

Read the text below.

People can now immerse themselves in 132 historic destinations worldwide without leaving their homes.

Google’s World Wonders Project was launched last May 31 to make historic sites accessible to more people while keeping useful information online. With Google Street View technology, users can “walk” through historic destinations by just clicking their computer mouse.

The project is funded by the Google Cultural Institute and is a collaboration of Google, UNESCO, World Monuments Fund and other organizations.

A similar immersive travel experience is being offered by the granola bar company, Nature Valley. In March, the company launched Trail View, which also uses Google Street View to take users “hiking” in American national parks, namely the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone.

Promoting historic destinations online, through World Wonders Project and Trail View, may prompt more people to visit these places. This raises concerns that it will cause more stress on already popular sites.

But Bonnie Burnham, the president of World Monuments Fund, assures it will not bring too many people to the same place at the same time. The aim of virtual trips is to share information about a place without people needing to experience it physically.

She also hopes the people who decide to go to the actual historic destinations will benefit from the information online. As a result, travelers will become more observant, sensitive, and will have a better travel experience.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Would you like to use either World Wonders or Trail View? Why or why not?
·         Do you think World Wonders and Trail View are good substitutes for actual travel? Please explain further.

Discussion B

·         Do you think the Internet has made it easier or more difficult to travel? Please explain further.
What are the disadvantages of promoting popular tourist destinations online? 


June 28, 2012