IELTS essay, topic: Should governments impose extra taxes to restrict tourism in order to reduce pollution?

This is a model response to a Writing Task 2 topic from High Scorer’s Choice IELTS Practice Tests book series (reprinted with permission). This answer is close to IELTS Band 9.

Set 2 Academic book, Practice Test 10

Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Tourism today creates a variety of problems, such as pollution due to flights, transport and dirty water.

Do you think that governments should impose extra taxes on flights or accommodation to restrict today’s tourism industry?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Sample Band 9 Essay

Travelling today is simple to the extent that within twelve hours one can travel from Europe to Singapore, crossing nearly the whole globe. Based on this simplicity, tourism has changed significantly over the years. While in the past a family would be proud to drive two hours to a lake, many families now think nothing of travelling to the far side of the world. This also has a downside as increased pollution is a result. Extra taxes on flights or accommodation have therefore been offered as a solution so as to increase the cost of tourism and reduce its popularity.

No matter what major transportation is used, travelling creates pollution. To decrease the amount of pollution caused by tourism, the tourism industry itself would have to be weakened. If these increased taxes are based on travelling distance, people would be more willing to stay closer to their home country, as for many even a slight increase would mean that their planned holidays would be too expensive. Accommodation taxes would raise holiday costs no matter the distance travelled. Therefore, if increased taxes were levied on travel and accommodation, tourism and therefore pollution would decrease.

On the other hand, the main transport methods that would be impacted by imposing extra taxes would be communal ones, such as planes, trains and buses, and increasing the taxes would also impact non-tourists. Also, holidays are a vital part of ordinary people’s lives, as they escape from work and stress, and get to spend valuable time with their families. Stopping people travelling would greatly impact some simple pleasures of ordinary life.

In conclusion, while tourism impacts the environment significantly, simply introducing extra taxes on transport or accommodation is a drastic measure. It could be more valuable to change the methods of transportation to decrease pollution, instead making people stay close to home.

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