BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 401

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 401


IELTS Academic Reading Test



Austria: The burgeoning budget holiday attraction

Trips to Austria are more commonly associated with commerce or winter skiing than they are with summertime fun and entertainment, but, in the last year or so, a surprising trend has begun to develop in the British foreign holiday market. Tour operators have identified a desire among holiday-goers – even budget travellers and package-holiday devotees – to broaden their horizons somewhat beyond the traditional haunts of Spain and the Canary Islands and look towards other new, less crowded and, perhaps, more exciting destinations.

Enter the Austrian package holiday – the answer to the tour operators’ prayers. You see, Austria, for all its natural beauty, has traditionally fared well in attracting tourists only during the winter ski season. During the summer, however, tourists – foreign tourists especially – neglect her lush mountain meadows, fresh air and wildlife in favour of cheap beach holidays, and drench themselves in equal measures of drink and suntan for a week or so before returning home strawberry-red and with about as much of a cultural experience to tell the neighbours about as could be had from scratching well, erm, your… how do I put this politely… posterior!

IELTS Academic Reading Test

The ‘cheap and cheerful’ package holiday has always had narrow horizons and members of the ordinary public, traumatised by years spent holidaying on a meaningless beach somewhere in Malaga, have sand coming out of their ears at this stage. Clearly a change was needed. But who would have thought of an expensive place like Austria as the perfect alternative? After all, isn’t it the domain of that rich and privileged ski crowd? Don’t you have to pay a small fortune on flights just to get there?

It’s true that, in winter, Austrian mountain resorts charge a pretty penny for accommodation, but what, in snowier times, costs an arm and several legs, costs nothing in comparison come spring and summer when the snow has melted and the ‘rich kids’ have returned home. But in some ways, the Austrian Alps are even more beautiful in summer than they are in the snowcovered winter, and it was this realisation that enabled the tour operators and package holiday companies to come up with something new.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Suddenly, the internet was awash with cheap summer holiday alternatives offering seven nights in the Austrian Alps in three- and four-star hotels, some with as much as full-board, and half-board typically being provided as standard. The Austrian hoteliers and restaurateurs, having geared up for seasonal winter trade, were only too happy to satisfy this new summertime demand at reduced prices – after all, anything is better than vacant rooms and they looked on any profit to be made from this opportunity as, well, a bonus.

There was no need to be too greedy or demanding with prices as that would put people off coming and, besides, their winter business was their bread and butter and it wasn’t going anywhere. A profusion of new budget flights were also appearing, with airline companies like Ryanair flying direct to Salzburg return for little more than £50, including taxes. Suddenly, vacationers had a choice; an alternative to the same old sandy monotony.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

What is perhaps more surprising given how budget travellers are depicted in the media – as ignorant, undiscerning folk – is how many wanted to embrace this new opportunity. Thousands of Britons discarded their sandals and lidos and donned their hiking boots instead. Yodel-ley-he-hoo.

Should the popularity of Austria as a summer holiday destination for budget travellers continue to grow over the coming years, health experts claim this could be a huge turning point in the health of our nation. There is really no comparison between a drink-fuelled static beach holiday and what the Alps has to offer’, claims Nora Korton of Medicare Analysis. The Austrian holiday phenomenon is just the tonic those of us who work every day in healthcare have been hoping for.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

When guests arrive at their hotels they are being given leaflets and brochures on all kinds of wonderful outdoor activities; hiking, hill walking, horse riding, mountain biking, fishing, boating, you name it… That people are being encouraged to try out such healthy activities is fantastic and hopefully the experience will give more people the desire to make more permanent lifestyle changes and continue to be active when they return home from their holidays.’

An East Ender, Ed Brown, a local musician and teacher, says of his holiday experience, ‘On my salary, I could never afford to go on anything but a package trip in the past. I never envisaged ever being able to go to the Alps and take my little daughter horse riding or anything like that. We didn’t even like the beach, but those package holidays were the only thing within budget, so we used to just go on them anyway. But now look at us this year; little Anna, the wife and I have been on such an adventure.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

We drove to the top of Austria’s highest mountain and then hiked on a glacier. We went hill walking and brought a picnic and I couldn’t get over the weather – 29 degrees yesterday. We hired a boat and went out on the lake. Anna had always wanted to go riding, so we hired a guide to take us on horseback through the hills. We… well, it was just amazing. What a good time!’

Mark Jones, another holiday-goer wowed by Austria had this to say as he stepped off the plane: My children love this (pointing – towards Austria presumably). I didn’t use to mind the beach, to tell you the truth. After a long week at work, it’s nice to lounge around and relax. But I wanted to do this for the kids; to show them there was more to life than suntanning, if that’s even a word! We did so many amazing things and they loved every moment of it. But, stranger still, so did I; I have been running around all week and yet, strangely, I feel more refreshed than I ever got sitting on my sunbed. Brilliant!’

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 27-32

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

27. Which of the following statements is accurate?

A. Austria has always enjoyed a reputation as a place where the wealthy holiday in summer.

B. Austria is becoming more of a seasonal holiday destination than it used to be.

C. Austria has always been viewed as a good-value holiday destination.

D. Austria has traditionally attracted more foreign tourists in winter

28. What does the writer mean when he says the package holiday has always had ‘narrow horizons’?

A. Package holidays are only targeted at people who haven’t got much money.

B. Package holidays typically offer very few and very similar choices of destination.

C. Package holidays are rarely offered to far-off destinations.

D. Package holidays are not typically very well planned or organised.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

29. What does the typical summer holiday package to Austria now offer?

A. luxury accommodation

B. breakfast and dinner included in the price

C. all meals included in the price and seven nights’ accommodation

D. a standard half-board bed (and larger in some cases) for seven nights

IELTS Academic Reading Test

30. Why were hotel and restaurant owners in Austria willing to lower their prices in Summer?

A. Business was usually slow at that time of year so any extra custom was to be welcomed.

B. The loss they would make operating during the summer would be offset by profits in winter.

C. Winter trade was not at the levels it used to be and they needed a way to make more money.

D. They could make more profit by charging less throughout the year.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

31. What can we infer about the writer’s experience of traditional package holidays?

A. He regards the traditional package holiday as a pleasant experience, providing good value for money.

B. He is particularly fond of popular seaside holiday destinations.

C. He finds traditional package holidays very unimaginative and boring.

D. He dislikes the fact that traditional package holidays, like those to Austria, have only been enjoyed by the wealthy until now.

32. What does the writer suggest is surprising about the fact that budget travellers welcomed the opportunity to try out a new kind of vacation in Austria?

A. They were true to the stereotype of them portrayed by the media.

B. They were prepared to pay more money for a better-quality holiday.

C. They showed that they had good taste, which is something they are not often credited with having.

D. They showed that they are very health-conscious people as a rule.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 33-37

Look at the following statements, 33-37, and the list of people below. Match each statement to the correct person, A-C

A. Mark Jones

B. Ed Brown

C. Nora Korton

You may use any letter more than once.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

33. This person believes the experiences people have on holiday in Austria might encourage them to permanently alter the way in which they live.

34. The reason this person always used to go on another type of holiday was not because they liked it but because they couldn’t afford the alternatives.

35. This person enjoys relaxing by the sea but wanted to illustrate to their children that there are other types of holidays they can go on, too.

36. This person found it hard to explain how he did not feel drained despite how busy his week was.

37. This person found the weather conditions they experienced while on holiday more favourable than expected.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 38-40

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3? Write

YES – if the statement agrees with the views of the writer

NO – if the statement contradicts the views of the writer

NOT GIVEN – if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

IELTS Academic Reading Test

38. A reduction in the cost of flying to Austria played a role in making it a popular holiday destination with budget travellers.

39. Austrian package holidays have now overtaken traditional beach package holidays in terms of popularity, with thousands of Britons holidaying in Austria each year.

40. Beach package holidays tend to be less focused on drinking and other unhealthy activities and are known for providing a wider choice of holiday activities in general.

IELTS Academic Reading Test


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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 401

IELTS Academic Reading Test


27. D

28. B

29. B

30. A

31. C

32. C

33. C

34. B

35. A

36. A

37. B

38. YES


40. NO

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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