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Recently I came across an essay question that reads:

More and more developing countries start to '''cultivate their tourist resources'''. Some think this will benefit the economy of these nations; others insist the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

I didn't know this collocation and thus can't think of any ideas to write and develop...

Later I did some search and research yet did not have the chance to figure this out. So far the most closest collocation I came up with was '''cultivate cultural tourists'''.

So, what do you think, is this a flawed essay question? If not, what does "cultivate the tourist resources" mean?

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    We cultivate crops -- corn, wheat and so on. To 'cultivate' tourism simply means to try to improve on it and make it a better economic resource. – WRX Feb 23 '17 at 15:49
  • Somehow I couldn't find the reply button on my mobile so I'll just post this as a comment. Thanks Willow, but What confused me was what did tourist resources mean? I wasn't sure if it refers to people or tourism. Well now it seems clear that it meams tourism in the sentence . – Evelyn1986 Feb 23 '17 at 15:57
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    cultivate...tourist resources is not the best writing, and you are correct to wonder about it. They are trying to turn their countries into destinations for tourists by making improvements to the infrastructure that supports tourism (hotels, transportation, restaurants, etc) and to the sites and other things that attract tourists (beaches, mountains, lakes, museums, ancient buildings, religious sites, pristine ecologies and wilderness, wild animals, etc). – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 23 '17 at 15:57
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It means to cultivate (make more plentiful and easier to access) tourist resources (services and attractions which will hopefully appeal to tourists and increase tourism).

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In your usage

to cultivate

means to develop, or possibly to nurture.

They are saying they want

to develop their tourist attractions (resources)

other things may also be cultivated

The US cultivated relations with China under Nixon.
Good schools care about cultivating the minds of their students.

both sentences speak to care and nurturing.

Your text is referring to the development of tourist attractions.

The disadvantages include higher foot traffic causing more water and tear and increased outside influences. Advantages include more jobs and higher incomes resulting in higher standards of living.

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