Tourism Books Reviews: Responsible Travel, Ecotourism and other aspirational titles

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Editor's Note (Temporary message, 04.2015)

This is a brand new page and John and Ron will be figuring out how books - really, books! - are featured on Planeta.


Books in electronic or paper form are unrivalled sources of information when learning about a topic. This page has some reviews of books relating to Responsible Travel, the impacts of travel on communities, cultures, local finances and the environment.


Taking Responsibility for Tourism by Harold Goodwin, 2011 (Twitter: @goodwinhj)

ISBN: 978-1-906884-40-6 HBK; 978-1-906884-39-0 PBK available on Kindle

Written a resource for students and academics, Professor Goodwin's book covers all of the key issues and viewpoints relating to Responsible Travel. The author conveys his passion for the subject with stories of his travel and how he discovered that tourism was exacting a heavy price on people, cultures and the environment. Goodwin is one of the key figures in the Responsible Travel movement and was involved in the formulation of the 2002 Cape Town Declaration.
Taking Responsibility for Tourism is a good read for anyone with a keen interest in the subject and being an academic study it provides copious references for further research.

The Holiday Makers - Understanding the impact of leisure and travel by Jost Krippendorf, 1984

ISBN 0-434-91083-X Not available on Kindle
Jost Krippendorf was a Swiss academic specialising in the theory and politics of tourism. The Holiday Makers examines the psychological motivation behind tourism from both the tourist's and host's viewpoints. It was written in the 1980's before Brundtland defined sustainable development and more crucially before mainstream discussion of anthropogenic climate change started, As such it does not discuss the tourism industry's heavy reliance on fossil fuels or its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
It is clear from Krippendorf's writing that he didn't agree that "the further away and the more expensive, the better" is a responsible mantra, He documents the damage caused by mass tourism in graphic terms recognising that the locals bore the brunt of the onslaught by tourists and tourism developers. He recognises the positive potential for employment arising from tourism, but warns of the dangers of local economies based on a tourism monoculture.
He sees fundamental changes to industrial society as a whole as the solution. In a utopian prospectus, he envisages a society where cities and towns are regenerated and work is made more enriching, thus making a couple of weeks travel to escape drudgery and boredom at home less attractive. He even gives ideas for the concept that has now become known as 'staycations' by spending leisure time at home in inventive ways such as changing sleeping patterns and taking meals in the bath.
His ideas about changing society are certainly utopian, but it is also clear that in the thirty years following the publication of his book that society has moved even further away from the model Krippendorf proposes.
When it comes to tourism Krippendorf challenges himself as a scientist and asks should his role be to discourage tourism. In the end he proposes 'baby steps' to improve tourism to kick start a change.
His baton was taken up by the Responsible Tourism Movement with its emphasis on supporting ethical businesses at a local level. Some of his other calls for reducing the amount of tourism we all make appears to have fallen on deaf ears.