Did you go on holiday this summer? Were you flooded out in Britain, snowed upon in Switzerland, trapped by landfalls or cloudbursts in Austria, hit by gales in the French Alps or wind whipped brush fires in Italy, or burnt to a frazzle in Spain? Did you decide to stay at home this year, thus help to cause the flap in the holiday trade, then try to get a late booking because you just had to get away for some sunshine? So, if you were to join the travel business, where would you set yourself up, what sort of holidays/accommodation would you offer? Before you pack up your job, perhaps you ought to try this holiday simulation!
Tourism is a pair of programs, Holiday 1 & 2, linked with the book of the same name in Nelson's Geography & Change series, and intended to develop some of the key ideas and skills introduced in the book - this is referred to on a number of occasions in the teachers' notes for background information. The programs simulate the development of a tourist industry on an imaginary island and place the pupils in a decision-making role. They become actively involved in planning and running the tourist industry, while the computer is used to process data rapidly and accurately, and give pupils the results of their decisions.
The excellent teachers' notes are in two parts: the first gives background information and a concise, step-by-step guide through the programs, plus some helpful information on amending the programs if a hard copy is required from a printer; the second is made up of "exemplar pupil material", setting the scene, maps, climatic information tasks, worksheets, graphics indicating likely trends in the tourist market, etc.
The simulation begins with an assessment of the resources for the development of a tourist industry on Holiday Island. Careful study of the map and other background information is recommended. Decisions have to be made on the type of holiday - beach, scenery/wildlife, historical/cultural - and the type of accommodation - camping, self-catering, package tour hotels, luxury hotels. Having decided on the type of holiday, weightings (-5 to +5) are given to various physical and economic factors, e.g. type of land/coastline, rainfall, proximity to airport, road access. The computer is not required until the first worksheet is completed ("It is expected that most schools will only have access to one computer and the program has been designed and used in schools with this in mind" and "the class should not be encouraged to rush to the computer" - good to see the realistic approach!) and the group is ready for the consultant survey the island based on the information provided.
Once this has been fed into the computer, a screen map shows the survey taking place - each grid square is examined and given a score. The sites with the highest scores are the best according to the group's weightings. The very best and the good sites are then shown on the map and listed with a grid reference, a score and the cost of building on that site. If the group isn't happy with the outcome, a further report can be requested after the weightings have been reconsidered. Already, and the program's just started, the group are into deep discussions, report writing, map analysis, use of grid co-ordinates, interpreting results tables and using weightings to evaluate factors!
Holiday 2 can be started once the group is satisfied with the results of the survey, and a decision has to be made on the location of the tourist development, which will be run for several years. A competitive element can, if desired, be introduced at this stage, as the program allows a number of groups to work concurrently. Three decisions have to be made each year: the number of tourist places, amount spent on advertising and the number of people to employ. Groups have to contend with chance factors, take note of market predictions - using the consultant's graph, and manage accounts - beware bankruptcy!
Well, do you fancy your chances? I must admit, normally I don't like Kingdom type programs, but this presents geography with a purpose. The package is very well produced - even those who have never touched a micro should have no difficulty in using it - and is one I'd recommend to all geography departments. Patterns of Underdevelopment, Locate an Oilrig, Locate an Industry, Food, Farming and Famine and Developing Cities are other titles available, at the same price, in this series.